Working Groups Move Forward on Implementing Positive Change for Contingent Faculty and Staff

The University continues to improve the professional environment for contingent faculty and staff.

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 9, 2016) — Progress on improving the professional environment for contingent faculty and staff at the University, beginning with more money to the schools and colleges to boost pay, continues apace, says Senior Vice Provost William Hedberg.

“We’ll be combining existing resources with $400,000 in additional campus resources to raise the minimum course rate for part-time instructors next year,” said Hedberg. He added that the College of Arts and Sciences deserves commendation for already raising its minimum compensation per course for part-time lecturers from $2,800 to $3,000 through internal allocation.

Hedberg will chair an oversight group being constituted and charged with making progress on the recommendations of a blue-ribbon panel, consisting of full and part-time faculty, staff and students, which met during the Spring and Fall semesters of 2015. The implementation will also be supported by three working groups, each to include members who will be involved with implementing change in their college, school or office. Each group will focus on a major area of improvement:

  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Professional Environment
  • Pathways to Permanence

Addressing the subject of professional environment, Hedberg noted, “There are some other things we can and will do fairly quickly. For example, we are already exploiting opportunities to increase recognition of the contribution of part-time faculty, as demonstrated by the recent announcement that two part-time lecturers, Helen Stuetzel and Dennis McCarty, received this year’s SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. We will also utilize our campus’s awards program to highlight more of our outstanding contingent faculty and staff.”

In the area of benefits, he noted that it should be easy to bring all the various information and programs into one document by summer’s end. “In addition, I anticipate that benefits will once again be a major topic of negotiation in the new UUP Agreement.”

Initial response from departments, schools and colleges toward another panel recommendation — promulgating policies and practices that encourage increased integration of contingent faculty and staff into their programs and cultures — “has been positive and welcoming,” said Hedberg. “We will be encouraging their organizational teams to be active and intentional in changing the environment.”

He suggested that the recommendation that will be more challenging to resolve is the call for creating “pathways to permanence” — the method of establishing career ladders and pathways to tenure and permanent appointment. “That process for change may have SUNY system implications,” he said, “but there are models of successful implementation out there that are alluded to in the panel’s report.”

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