California Community College Adjuncts Take Action: Send a Letter to Governor Newsom

In conjunction with the 2019 objectives of the CFT Legislative Committee, and in consultation with Bryan Ha, CFT’s lobbyist for California Community Colleges, I have composed the following letter (see below the sign out) to get our incoming governor to dedicate categorical funding to the tune of:

  1. 150 million dollars (ongoing) for more full-time positions
  2. 150 million dollars increase (ongoing) for paid part-time office hours

Signing and sending letters like these in physical form is important.  They have and do impact the budget process, and we have made small but steady gains for adjuncts over the past few years because of them.

Adjuncts don’t have to, and shouldn’t be the only ones signing and sending in these letters.  Get other faculty, students, staff, community and family members to sign and send in these letters.

And by the way, some of the more eager signers of these letters have been administrators and governing board members or trustees.

Some of you might want to say more than the letter, or think you can say it better in your own words.  Just use the letter as a draft which you can personalize as your own.

This letter is also available on the CFT website. (Go to this link and look at the item following the one calling for support of UTLA teachers).

This letter is just a part of a larger campaign this year to improve adjunct working conditions on a number of fronts. I will speak of these in future entries.

Sign and send these letters.  Be the change you want to see.

Geoff Johnson

A “Good” Adjunct

See the letter  below

 

Governor Gavin Newsom

State Capitol Building, 1st Floor

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom:

One of the critical factors to increasing student success in the California Community Colleges is ensuring faculty-student interaction.

However, nearly 70 percent of community college faculty are temporary, part-time instructors, who are largely paid only for their time in the classroom. Most part-time faculty are disproportionately paid significantly less than their full-time counterparts, meaning they often have to travel and teach in multiple districts to make ends meet. This leaves limited time to fully interact with students.

In her 2016 study about the effects of part-time instructors on student success, Cheryl Hyland, an expert in the field from Motlow State Community College in Tennessee, stated: “Part-time students taught by adjunct faculty are retained at a significantly lower rate than first-time, part-time students taught by full-time faculty.” Hyland concluded that the nature of “having to teach at several institutions simultaneously in order to garner a livable income, hindered their [part-time faculty’s] interaction with students outside the classroom” … and this, along with other factors, “result in delayed or reduced instructor responsiveness to student needs and inquiries regarding classroom progress and performance, ultimately impacting student intellectual development and success.”

Increasing student-teacher interaction can be done, in part, by hiring more full-time instructors to come closer to reaching the 75-25 ratio of full-time faculty to part-time faculty mandated in AB 1725 nearly three decades ago, or by paying part-time faculty more equitably in relation to their full-time counterparts.

Another way is to increase paid office hour funding for part-time faculty. There is little money in the state’s fund for paid office hours, and any district that applies for funds has to pay the majority of the costs, so many districts have no paid office hours program, When districts do choose to participate, they are reimbursed for only 28 percent of program cost, and as a result, may offer very limited paid office hours. For example, during an entire semester at Southwestern College, part-time faculty got only 2-3 paid office hours for a 3-unit course, and at Pasadena City College part-time faculty got a total of 8 hours for the entire semester regardless the number of courses taught. Though the Legislature dedicated an additional $50 million to this fund in 2018, it was only one-time money, and not enough to expand sustainable office hour programs.

I ask that you consider increasing the allocation of funding in your January budget proposal for these important programs:

1) $150 million in ongoing funding for more full-time faculty positions;

2) $150 million in ongoing funding for paid office hours for part-time faculty.

Faculty working conditions affect our students’ learning conditions. We can and must do better.

 

Sincerely,

NAME (Print)_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

ADDRESS _________________________________

CITY & ZIP_________________________________

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