Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Professional Employment Practices for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Members (from the Modern Library Association)

“Non-tenure-track faculty members now constitute a majority of the faculty in higher education in the United States and Canada. The premise of this document is that both students and institutions will be better served when policy and practice reflect the important role played by these professionals.
“Acknowledging the reality of a broad range of academic appointments with corresponding variations in responsibility, this document nonetheless presumes that establishing long-term, regularized positions for as many faculty members as possible is in the best interest of institutions and higher education generally. The term ‘non-tenure-track’ is used to designate those faculty members working on a continuing basis—full-time or part-time, in per-course or contractually limited appointments—without job security or the prospect of advancement to tenure lines or tenure equivalents.
“This document endorses and extends the work of the MLA’s Academic Workforce Advocacy Kit; the recommendations made in the MLA’s 2003 Statement on Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Members; and the 2008 report Education in the Balance, which argues that the profession ‘must ensure that those colleagues employed outside the tenure track have the appropriate salaries, working conditions, status, rights and responsibilities, and security of employment.’ We call particular attention to the following recommendations of the 2003 statement:
·         “Non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty members should be hired by means of long-term planning whenever possible, to provide for extended terms of appointment consistent with institutional needs, thereby also providing sufficient job security to encourage and support continuing involvement with students and colleagues. NTT faculty members should ideally be hired on three-year contracts with full benefits; after six years, they should be eligible for longer-term review; past six years, they should be given longer (five- or six-year) contracts and be allowed to participate in departmental governance regarding NTT lines.
·         “NTT faculty members should be incorporated into the life of the department to the fullest extent possible, short of participation on department committees pertaining to the evaluation of tenure-track faculty members. They should have regular offices, mailboxes, access to departmental communications, telephone and computer access, parking permits, library access, after-hours access to buildings, and access to departmental staff.
·         “NTT faculty members should be considered for tenure-track jobs alongside new PhDs whenever plausible and practicable. NTTs should additionally be given equal consideration for jobs at their home institution (presuming that their home institution is not their PhD-granting institution) whenever that institution converts NTT lines to the tenure track.
·         “NTT faculty members should be fully informed of their terms of employment and fully aware of the possibilities and consequences of departmental review. Each appointment should include a clear contractual statement of expectations and assignments, including in-class teaching and such other responsibilities as course preparation, student advisement, and service.  Each appointment should be made in a timely fashion that allows NTT faculty members adequate time for course preparation.
·            “NTT faculty members should be provided with orientation, mentoring, and professional support and development opportunities, including campus grant programs, access to sabbatical opportunities, support for travel for research, and support for participation in professional conferences.
·           “NTT faculty members should be reviewed annually with regard to salary levels and opportunities for professional advancement and promotion. Evaluations should be conducted in accordance with established, written criteria for departmental review, and departments should establish procedures for appeal or grievance in the event that an NTT faculty member alleges substantial violations of such criteria.
“Building on the 2003 statement, this document offers recommendations in five general areas for improving the professional standing of faculty members who hold non-tenure-track appointments. A series of questions under each recommendation aims to assist individuals and departments in evaluating policy and practice in their own institutions and programs. A high number of affirmative responses corresponds with a high level of professionalization for members of the non-tenure-track faculty. However, this document does not attempt to quantify thresholds of affirmative responses that could be taken to register institutional conditions as 'below standard,' 'standard,' or 'above standard.' Rather, the purpose is to help faculty members, departments, and institutions identify areas of policy and practice where progress has been made and areas where change can and should be sought…”

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