May 2014 Advocate – Skyline faculty gather to honor part-timers


Skyline faculty gather to honor part-timers and discuss how to improve their work lives

by Janice Sapigao, Skyline Part-Timer Representative

On Thursday, March 20th, 2014, the AFT 1493 Skyline College Chapter hosted “A Party to Celebrate Part-Time Faculty: Pizza, Prizes & Parity.” Over forty part-time and full-time faculty members gathered intermittently to honor adjunct instructors and take part in what were waves of conversation in a Socratic seminar style discussion. Skyline AFT Executive Committee members Katharine Harer, Nina Floro and Eric Brenner facilitated the discussion by asking attendees to introduce themselves. Part-timer representatives Janice Sapigao and Paul Rueckhaus and Executive Secretary Dan Kaplan were also in attendance to answer questions. The discussion began with the question, “What is one particular thing that you would like to change about teaching at Skyline?” 

SkyPTerEvent-2Though attendees represented a spectrum of disciplines, the causes for concern were the same. Part-time and full-time faculty came from a range of departments: English, Accounting, Early Childhood Education, ESOL, Dance, Kinesiology/Physical Education, History, Music, Mathematics and the Library, among others; most were interested in gaining healthcare benefits and matters of job security. Some members talked about the need to expand the stipend for medical reimbursement while others shared personal stories about their multiple stints, hustles and contracts at colleges including their classes at Skyline and the emotional drain of worrying about whether or not they’d be offered enough classes for the next semester. There was also conversation about the need for transparent hiring practices for full-time job openings. 

The event was punctuated with raffle items as the crowd came, built, left and built again.  Raffle prizes were gift certificates from the Skyline College Bookstore as tokens of appreciation for part-time and full-time faculty. 

Potential solutions were also a heavy discussion topic. Participants discussed desiring multi-semester contracts, encouraging classified staff to work with or become adjunct faculty, workshops specifically for adjunct faculty, research campus budgets and working interdepartmentally to build campus community and support. 

AFT 1493 Skyline College Chapter hopes to host more discussions and events like this one in the future.  Please feel free to contact your Executive Committee representatives should you have any more concerns or questions about the change you’d like to see at Skyline.