Where should I start?
The Adjunct Resources page, part of UC’s Bearcats Landing intranet site, was updated in August 2020 and includes links to the revised Adjunct Faculty Handbook, a New Adjunct Faculty Checklist (to review with your supervisor or department head), Health Benefits (for those who qualify), Promotion Guidelines, Tuition Remission and more.
The UCAAA also hosts The University of Cincinnati Adjunct Advocacy Association group on LinkedIn. As of January 2021, the group included 420 members. Adjuncts are encouraged to both join here on this site and also on the LinkedIn group page, where most news and announcements are posted. (You must have a LinkedIn profile to join.)
Are adjuncts eligible for health benefits?
Only "represented adjuncts," the very few represented by the AAUP, and "annual adjuncts," those with a Full-Time Equivalency or FTE of 50-64% teaching 16.67-21.67 credit hours total over the fall and spring semesters, are eligible to buy into a portion of the university's healthcare coverage. "Term adjuncts," those with an FTE of 0-49% and limited to 8.33 credit hours per semester -- and the vast majority of adjuncts -- are not eligible to buy in.
At present, the only opportunity for a raise in pay is to be promoted. What is involved in getting promoted?
According to the Adjunct Resources page, “Faculty with the title of Adjunct Instructor or Adjunct Assistant Professor are eligible to apply for promotion to the next rank after serving as an adjunct faculty member for a minimum of 10 semesters in the University (calculated cumulatively not consecutively), 8 of which must be in the academic unit in which the promotion is being sought. The faculty member must have an active appointment in that unit at the time of application for promotion.” Each college has somewhat different requirements, but the provision of teaching 10 semesters to qualify for the first and second levels of promotion is common. (There is a third and final level of promotion, to Adjunct Professor, that has different requirements.) Unit heads are supposed to notify adjunct faculty who have become eligible for promotion, but surveys have shown that many adjuncts report not being notified by their unit heads. Our advice is, once you are approaching 10 semesters taught, 8 in your unit, ask your unit head about the promotion procedure in writing in advance.
The criteria for promotion could include classroom observation and reporting by full-time faculty within your unit, student evaluations, a personal statement and more.
The raise in some colleges and units – we are not sure about all – is 10% of the starting pay, so an Adjunct Assistant Professor makes 10% more than an Adjunct Instructor, or the entry level position. Adjunct Associate Professors make 10% more than Adjunct Assistant Professors, and Adjunct Professors make 10% more than Adjunct Associate Professors. We say “some colleges ... not sure about all” because UC is so decentralized, that this policy and the rate of pay increase varies within some colleges and even some units.
How does the Tuition Remission benefit work for part-time faculty?
The Tuition Remission benefits have recently been expanded and made more easy to use. According to UC's website, "Term Adjuncts are not required to complete a tuition remission application. Four credit or audit hours are available each term the Term Adjunct teaches." (This benefit is stipulated expressly for term adjuncts, but we suspect it extends to represented and annual adjuncts, as well.) Only the adjuncts themselves may take or audit courses, not their spouses or dependents (as is the case with full-time faculty). Also, as far as we know, adjuncts may take or audit the course(s) in semesters in which they are not teaching, so, for example an adjunct who teaches in the fall may take or audit a course in the spring or summer -- provided the course is taken during the same academic year.
What are the avenues of recourse for adjuncts and part-time faculty? Who can help us?
Within the university system, the Faculty Senate is a body, primarily comprising full-time faculty -- though two part-time faculty senators are included -- that practices “shared governance” within the university. Actions, such as resolutions passed by the full Faculty Senate, are communicated directly to the university administration. While the administration is under no obligation to follow Faculty Senate resolutions, they are obliged to recognize and consider them. During the 2019-2020 academic year, the Faculty Senate was able to persuade the administration not to change the way the semesters are arranged, so it is fair to state that the Faculty Senate can and has exerted some influence over university policy decisions.
In September 2019, due to efforts by Part-Time Faculty Senators Debbie Puckett and Mark Kissling (who were resurrecting the efforts of previous Part-Time Senators Greg Griffith and Eva Kreig), the Faculty Senate unanimously passed a Resolution: "To Support Significant Improvements Being Made to Inclusion and Compensation of the University’s Part-time Faculty." (To read the resolution, see the Resources page.) A report and recommendations for President Pinto and the university administration, contributed to by 2019-2020 Part-Time Faculty Senators Michael Cook and Mark Kissling, was unanimously approved by the Faculty Senate and submitted to the Provost in January 2021. (To read the report, see the Resources page.)
What else, if anything, is UC doing for adjuncts and part-time faculty?
The good news is that the Faculty Enrichment Center, which opened in September, 2019, was created in part with adjuncts in mind and with the valuable contribution of one of our Association founders, Ralph Bruegemann. In addition to programs that may be of interest, the center itself, located on the fifth floor of Langsam Library, “offers a variety of technologically enhanced spaces to meet all of your needs,” according to the website. The Part-Time Faculty Meeting that kicked off "Adjunct Week" was held in the FEC. (For more, see the Adjunct Week 2019 page.)
This is a new facility, and adjuncts must use it to make it, in part, our own. The FEC is a tremendous resource especially for those adjuncts without office space. In this space, our understanding is that we are treated as equals.