OAH Conference Panel on Adjunct Employment in History (2010)

At the April 2010 OAH annual meeting, members of the OAH Committee on Part-Time and Adjunct Employment gathered for a panel presentation on the growing role of part-time and contingent faculty in history. In a session entitled "'Come Together': Part-Time/Contingent Faculty in History," committee members analyzed the changing composition of the modern higher education faculty, the viability of the 2003 AHA-OAH Joint Standards on Part-Time and Adjunct Employment, the need to define contingent faculty more precisely, and the virtue of affording them greater respect and a larger role in faculty governance.

The committee is pleased to provide full access to the papers presented at its session:

Historians' Contingent Workforce: Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?
Donna Binkiewicz and Arlene Lazarowitz, California State University, Long Beach

Treating Chronic Illness. The OAH Standards: Are They Appropriate?
Howard Smead, University of Maryland

The Challenges of Part-Time Faculty Employment
Elizabeth Hohl, Fairfield University

The committee invites reactions to these papers and comments on the committee's mission at cpae@oah.org

Here are the 2003 AHA-OAH Joint Standards on Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty, that were published in the August 2003 issue of the OAH Newsletter:

Joint Committee Issues Standards for Part-time and Adjunct Faculty

At their respective semiannual meetings, the OAH Executive Board (3-6 April 2003) and the AHA Council (3-4 May 2003) endorsed the following five standards recommended by the Joint AHA-OAH Committee on Part-time and Adjunct Employment.

1. That part-time faculty be included in the collegial relations and communications of their departments and be provided with:

  • Clearly stated evaluation procedures that include a defined probationary period;
  • seniority for hiring and pay raises after the probationary period
  • office space, phones, access to computers and libraries, photocopying, and parking, clerical and technological support (when available to full-time faculty);
  • eligibility for grants to attend conferences and workshops (on the same basis as full-time faculty); and
  • access to basic benefits (such as health and life insurance, sick leave, and retirement plans). Health benefits particularly should be universally available proportional to employment, with an opportunity provided for co-payments to ensure full coverage.

2. That history departments provide an accurate statistical report to the AHA-OAH Joint Committee on Part-time and Adjunct Employment, to accrediting organizations, and to the public, showing the number of part-time/adjunct faculty. This includes providing:

  • the actual number of full-time and part-time/adjunct faculty;
  • the number and percentage of history courses taught by full-time and by part-time/adjunct faculty respectively; and
  • the length of employment of part-time/adjunct faculty.

(For the purpose of statistical reporting, graduate students teaching independent courses, where they are the instructors and are responsible for lectures and running the course, are to be counted as part-time/adjunct faculty.)

That history departments specify the criteria or priorities governing the hiring and retention of part-time/adjunct faculty.

3. That the following standards be recognized as the appropriate proportion for courses taught by part-time/adjunct faculty (including graduate students):

  • Community Colleges: 30 percent; 40 percent maximum
  • Four-Year Institutions: 10 percent; 20 percent maximum
  • Research Institutions: 20 percent; 30 percent maximum

These levels reflect existing variations among different types of institutions shown in a number of studies, and improve on existing use by moving to lower percentages.

4. That the pay scale for part-time faculty be set at a minimum of 80 percent of what a full-time faculty member of comparable training and experience would be paid for teaching a course at that particular institution. (Research institutions will have to modify these standards according to their actual practices, taking into account the large amount of time their faculty spend on research and writing.) This assumes that the part-time/adjunct faculty member does NOT have administrative duties, serve on institutional committees, do advising, or supervise independent research projects or internships. If those duties are included, pay should be 100 percent equivalent.

This would mean, for example, that if an assistant professor teaches six courses and is paid $40,000 a year, the per-course payment for a part-time faculty person should be (at the 80 percent rate) $5,300 per course; if the salary was the same and the course load was 8 courses a year, the pay should be $4,000 per course; if 10 courses a year, the pay should be $3,200 per course. The amount paid should be increased over time to recognize years in service.

5. History departments should undertake to meet these standards and will be commended for substantial progress and good practices in the AHA and OAH newsletters.

In addition to the above standards, the Joint Committee requested and the OAH Board and AHA Council agreed to contact all college accrediting organizations and all journals and media that list colleges and universities by various criteria and ask them to include the following information in their reports:

  • number and percentage of part-time/adjunct faculty; and
  • number and percentage of courses taught by part-time/adjunct faculty.

This is a matter of public information to which prospective students and their families are entitled as a matter of consumer protection.

The AHA and OAH executive offices are currently devising a brief survey that will be distributed in paper and electronic form to all history departments by September 2003. Future reports in 2004 and later will be completed electronically.

OAH Committee on Part-Time and Adjunct Employment (August 2010):
Donald W. Rogers, Central Connecticut State University and Housatonic Community College (Chair)
Stephanie Gilmore, Dickinson College
Donn Hall, Ivy Tech Community College
Elizabeth Hohl, Fairfield University
Arlene Lazarowitz, California State University, Long Beach
Howard Smead, University of Maryland

Posted: September 8, 2010
Tagged: News of the Organization