Minutes

     

ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
RIT AAUP - Non-Tenure Track Faculty Meeting
April 29, 2011 – SAU Campus Center 2740, 1 to 2PM

Present @ meeting: Jeremy Haefner, Provost; Alex Miokovic, CIAS; Jeffrey Baker, COLA
Scott Bellinger, NTID; Dawn Carter, COS; Elisabetta D’Amanda, COLA; Heidi Nickisher, CIAS; Linda Reinfeld, COLA; Elana Sommers, COLA; Tom Policano, AAUP President; Christine Monikowski, AAUP Secretary

Meeting began with everyone introducing him/herself, facilitated by Provost Jeremy Haefner and Alex Miokovic (AM)

Provost: Welcome – happy we could all find time to meet

AM – We want to begin by hearing the Provost’s thoughts on the talking points (sent earlier).

Provost: In the broader context, we do want our faculty to feel “part of community” and have a sense of engagement, belonging because they will then be more engaged with instruction. RIT is trying to move towards that and has been addressing promotion, policy changes, etc. (still a lot to do). All institutions of higher education (IHE) are trying to figure this out; there are different strategies – some will work, some will not. RIT keeps tabs on this.

Provost: RIT will look at how we hire NTT faculty judiciously and cautiously. NTT faculty enable RIT to address enrollment growth and this impacts long-term plans. As RIT grows, we continue to look at the balance between full-time NTT (Lecturer, etc.) and part-time (adjunct) and tenured/tenure-track (TT). Different IHEs report data differently:

  • Head count (although JH doesn’t think this “works” for RIT)
  • Percentage of sections taught gives an “appropriate balance” for all three categories of faculty…percentage of student credit hours

 

Provost: Often hears…”Provost wants 50% of RIT courses taught by TT, 25% by NTT, 25% by adjunct”. In reality, RIT is looking at data from other IHEs to see what “best practices” are. Some data say shows that huge research universities include grad/teaching assistants; there will also be differences in different disciplines. For example, here at RIT, English and modern languages are “heavy” with NTT, as is Saunders College of Business. Engineering is just the opposite.
Data for RIT undergraduate courses:

  • 54% taught by TT
  • 19% taught by full-time NTT
  • 27% taught by adjuncts

Data for RIT graduate courses:

  • 72% taught by TT
  • 11% taught by full-time NTT
  • 18% taught by adjuncts

The “Delaware Study” is a nation-wide study done annually for the past 20-30 years that pulls out instructional data at department levels and compares individual departments; it’s not appropriate/fair to compare English and Business, for example – much more appropriate to compare English to English. The study includes “comphrensive” and “doctoral” IHEs – RIT is neither but the data can help guide us. The question is how do we balance instruction among the three groups of faculty? Perhaps more policies to help us feel a better sense of community?

English department at RIT:
26% of courses taught by full time NTT
51% by adjuncts – that’s huge! 

English departments at doctoral IHEs:
41% by adjuncts
11% by full time NT

English departments at comprehensive IHEs:
19% by full-time NTT
28% by adjuncts

Provost: We could spend all day on some of the “talking points”, but some are not controversial at all! For example, promotion and rank – clarification of these and policies for these need to be our goal, for Lecturers. And we haven’t looked at the promotion and rank for adjuncts…the focus has been on full-time NTT so this needs to be addressed. Most IHEs do differentiate between two classes of faculty; we have more work to do. RIT is a merit-based institution so allocation depends on performance – it’s the driving force! What else should we discuss now?

AM: The issue of governance is important.

Provost: Supports culture of inclusion – I support representation at Academic Senate and other appropriate venues, but still trying to learn about “best practice” here at RIT with regard to voting. Representation is clear, but voting is not; it becomes tricky. Fundamental premise: curriculum has long-term permanence, and it is shaped and driven by TT faculty, therefore TT should have the final say. Previous experience with Math department (Colorado) was always collegial and input from all faculty was valued. There was a culture of inclusion and it was successful (although this doesn’t always happen). It will be interesting, if this issue of voting for NTT comes to Academic Senate. Academic Senate has been asked to see what other peer IHEs do (University of Rochester, Clarkson, RPI).

The Education Advisory Board is halfway through a six-week research project for RIT…preliminary data from IHEs in their membership: Virginia Tech, Illinois Institute of Technology, MIT, Cornell, Penn State, Northeastern University, Gallaudet University. Participation of NTT in respective Academic Senates varies: Penn State does but MIT does not.

So RIT is trying to gather info. The Academic Senate charter would have to change to include NTT; this year, the EDF representation is being eliminated. This issue of representation and voting for NTT may not get resolved this year. We need to have discussions, maybe focus groups – including NTT faculty because they will be impacted. Whatever the final outcomes, NTT deserve right to know rationale. There have been conversations at Provost’s Chairs and Directors meeting (AAUP chapter president Policano was there) and many Chairs were “engaged”.

President Policano: Wants to address the 50/25/25 (TT/L/Adj) statistics; RIT’s numbers look good and we should all attempt to dispel the anxiety that some colleges have of being “overrun” by Lecturers. Asks Provost to consider adding one more set of numbers – the number of credit hours earned – because this will help all faculty know who is teaching our students. If NTT are teaching the lion’s share of a student’s first 2 years but these faculty are not feeling included, this could impact retention, quality of instruction, etc. and students don’t know who is/is not NTT. The “student experience” is what RIT is all about!

Provost: RIT has relatively small section sizes so the two (statistical) perspectives are comparable. For example, the University of Michigan has only 11% of their courses taught by adjuncts but there are 500 students per section. At RIT, average student credit hours indicate: TT teach 53% of all undergraduate student credit hours; fulltime NTT teach 22%; adjuncts teach 25%.

  • Some discussion about how lab hours don’t really fit into this calculation
  • Regardless of the data, we want NTT to be included because ultimately, students suffer and that’s not what anyone wants

Jeffrey Baker: Adjunct faculty were surveyed in 2008; three problems: 1) pay; 2) respect; 3) facilities/offices. There have been two general pay increases in 10 years – were these tied to merit? The message they heard was “no increase means there is no merit in your work”. COLA has a pay scale and their bottom end is over  $400 less than MCC. One adjunct left RIT then came back and was offered less than before he left. Some adjuncts have been working at RIT for 20 years and – hard to believe – they are still earning the same rate.

Provost: Adjunct compensation practice is different than salaries. HR does surveys with local IHEs on rates/ranges for adjuncts, looking to see if we’re competitive. This is different than a merit raise. If you’re telling me MCC is higher, that gives me pause and I want HR to survey that.

J. Baker: Former Provost McKenzie did survey and found that RIT is on the low end, comparable to Genesee Community College and they are the third from the bottom of 162 IHEs in NY. And, when RIT converts to semesters, adjuncts will be commuting more frequently; this will cost more. In addition, the market is no longer local, it’s global. Some adjuncts teach online and earn more, in addition to having smaller classes and no need to commute.

Provost: No question – moving to a different calendar means we need to review pay rates because more time will be involved in teaching courses. And, it is a competitive market. Also, when we do shift to semesters, all comparisons with other IHEs will be easier (rather than quarters to semesters).

T. Policano: You have acted on several issues but that info doesn’t seem to be available to NTT group; is there some way to communicate this? For example, the new ranks and the salary increase for Lecturers – this is important for people to know. You are an advocate; is there a better way to share that?

E. Sommers: Thank you for the promotion/ranks for L and pay raise. What are your views about “opening the door” for Lecturers to be promoted to TT positions? It may not be written but there is an “understanding” that Lecturers should not apply for TT positions.

Provost: This needs to be clear! Everyone who is qualified is eligible to participate in the TT position search and should be given every consideration like anyone else. Not a fan of “converting” Lecture positions to TT positions because this undercuts the best qualified individual. There are many instances of departments indicating that they want a certain Lecturer to become TT; a search process and you should have that person rise to the top.

E. D’Amanda: Personal experience – on a weekly basis hears, “where else are you looking” (because there isn’t any TT position here) or “why are you still here?” This hurts!!

Provost: Part of me wants to say someone is looking out for your career because a TT position is a career goal. However, from an RIT policy/administrative point of view, nothing should prevent you from applying. The administration cannot convert position NTT to TT but it should be very clear that Lecturers are eligible to apply. Having experience in research may be an issue because Lecturers focus on instruction.

D. Carter: This is a major problem in science; I was told not to do research – I should teach. There is no time, no money, no resources. In science, not many grants allow NTT.

Provost: RIT’s expectations for Lecturers is “instruction”!! That being said, if NTT has a research program they want to pursue, or if he/she can participate in a grant, there is no reason not to. We need to be careful to understand the expectations of these positions; scholarship is not part of the expectation. It would be worthwhile for RIT to develop some kind of working document that helps clarify NTT roles, expectations, what is/is not allowed, etc.

T. Policano:  Our adjunct orientation is very successful; maybe there needs to be a separate one – or part of one – for Lecturers, with a focus on resources. We can review that.

J. Baker: What about ranks for adjuncts?

Provost: I’d be happy to entertain any ideas. If does help to discuss this in the context of what other IHEs are doing. We are in transition and we have to protect interest of RIT but dialogue is important.

AM: Time is running out. Thank you. This has been a good beginning. Can we get a commitment to continue this kind of discussion on a regular basis?

Provost: Absolutely. We need to continue this dialogue to share info; this is very helpful. Contact Pam Spencer to set up quarterly meetings.

respectfully submitted C. Monilowski 4/30/11, revised ...

HOME | MINUTES |