Chancellor Leslie has declared that all college departments must shoot for a 50-50 full-time to adjunct instructor ratio with no regard for the needs of a particular department or college. The rationale for this ratio is to reduce costs in instruction. Full-time faculty members receive benefits as well as the opportunity for long-term employment through tenure, with the potential to move up the pay scale in rank from Instructor to Full Professor.
Over reliance on adjunct faculty reduces the availability of faculty to meet with students and successfully get the work of the college done. Adjunct faculty are poorly compensated and in most cases maintain adjunct positions at several different colleges in the San Antonio area. They simply cannot keep the number of office hours that our students need for individual assistance. Adjuncts cannot fully participate in the amount of committee work required in each department and throughout the college and district. With student advising duties being kicked back to each department, there are not enough full-time faculty employed to get the job done. As to the issue of “expensive” full-time faculty, Administration is currently looking at total salaries for a very senior faculty. As faculty retire and get replaced? Those salary costs go down.
We also support an academic environment where faculty have an incentive to take courses, participate in professional development, attend and present at conferences, provide service to their department, college, and district, and publish – activities which form the foundation of receiving tenure and an opportunity to move up in rank from Instructor to Full Professor. Tenured full-time faculty also serve a crucial role in maintaining shared governance. We can speak truth to power and still maintain employment, unlike adjunct faculty who can be replaced on a whim.
As to the transfer of faculty from one college to another in order to satisfy the 50-50 ratio? We adamantly oppose this procedure. Each college has unique programs and populations. Faculty were hired by departments and colleges in order to address the needs of these programs and populations. Arbitrarily moving faculty from one college department to another (especially when the departments, chairs, and college Administration oppose it) causes unnecessary disruption in the educational environment.