April 2015 Advocate – Disproportionate workload of one-person departments


Disproportionate workload of one-person departments gets limited support from Cañada’s Academic Senate

by Lezlee Ware, Cañada AFT Chapter Co-Chair, Political Science

Having attended the Academic Senate General Counsel (ASGC) meeting on March 19, 2015, and listened to and participated in the discussion and ranking of hiring justifications, a number of troubling questions came to mind. It seemed, from the method of prioritization utilized by ASGC representatives, that the only thing that matters in determining program need in terms of additional faculty, is FTEs. Which begs the question: Should we not, as members of one-full-time-faculty departments in the Social Sciences at Cañada, continue to:

1.     Coordinate the Honors Program
2.     Coordinate the Social Sciences Sub-Division
3.     Represent the division on the Curriculum Committee
4.     Be a union chair
5.     Coordinate the COLTS Academy
6.     Establish and coordinate Blacademia
7.     Advise PTK
8.     Establish and coordinate the Philosophy Club
9.     Be a union representative on PBC
10.   Be a division representative on IPC
11.    Work to establish GE Pathways
12.    Serve on the Honors Advisory committee
13.    Act as faculty lead for A2B
14.    Serve on screening committees?

Given all of the responsibilities that members of one-full-time-faculty departments have willingly taken up, it was very disappointing to see the voting results from our Academic Senate ranking the collaborative multiple one-person-department faculty’s request for a Social Sciences/CWA Coordinator last out of 5 total hiring requests. The data emphasized and presented (FTEs as opposed to load and ratio of full-timers to part-timers in one-full-time-faculty departments) favored the departments who already have more than one full-timer, as if the data doesn’t support the fact that, of course, if you have more than one full-timer, your department shows an increased demonstrated support of FTEs.

The Academic Senate’s failure to oppose one-person departments in principle is disappointing. While faculty continued to argue that there needs to be more full-time faculty hired, period, not one was willing to say, “Wow, let’s at least make sure all of our departments do not struggle with ONLY ONE full-timer.” No. Instead, people were happy to just continue to leave behind their colleagues in one-full-time-faculty departments. In order for a one-full-time-faculty department to mirror the FTEs of multiple-full-time-faculty department, we would have to hire, manage, and evaluate 10+ adjunct faculty. As it is, our loads are significantly above the college average (500 and greater). And this does not even take into account the additional work that we do.

Since the Academic Senate does not want to take a stance against one-full-time-faculty departments, they should act to limit the responsibilities of one-full-time-faculty departments outside of teaching. They should advocate that the union contract be amended so that one-full-time-faculty departments not be required to serve on committees, to complete program review, to update CORs, or to evaluate adjunct faculty. Multiple full-time faculty departments can shoulder the responsibility of managing and leading on those responsibilities. If they are not willing to do so, then all I can say is that it is unfortunate that our colleagues are comfortable with one-full-time-faculty departments doing a disproportionate amount of work to support the college.

Did they ever stop and think what their department would look like with only one full-time faculty member? Or what it would be like if THEY were the only full-time faculty member?

For example, what would you do if the five full-time-faculty in your department had to evaluate nineteen adjuncts in one semester, an average of four evaluations per faculty member per semester.

It would seem that the greater good has gone by the wayside.