IUPUI adjunct instructors call for more pay

October 18, 2010

With full-time professors at Indiana University campuses due for a 3-percent raise next month, part-timers want in on the deal, too.

And now the full-time faculty are lending their support to the part-timers.

“Part-time faculty should receive an increase in pay to narrow the gap that has been created over the years by the pay increases granted full-time, tenure-track, and tenured faculty while part-time faculty did not receive pay increases,” read a statement released Friday by the Indiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors, which is filled mainly by full-time professors at universities around the state.

Also signing the statement was the AAUP chapter at IUPUI, where part-time, or adjunct, professors have organized a coalition to push for improvements in pay and working conditions.

The raises at IU were announced in September by President Michael McRobbie, and effectively lifted a salary freeze he instituted a year ago. The pay raises will average 3 percent, but will be determined based on merit for each professor. The pay hikes go into effect Nov. 1.

Neither order by McRobbie directly affected pay for adjuncts, however, because they are paid out of separate budgets from full-time faculty, said IU spokesman Larry MacIntyre. Those budgets were set by the IU trustees in May after the dean of each school at each IU campus made budget requests for part-time faculty.

“They’re paid out of a separate bucket of money,” MacIntyre said of adjuncts. “It’s up to the dean of each school to apportion that out.”

According to adjunct instructors at IUPUI, their pay is lower than it should be. An adjunct instructor in the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts receives $2,100 to $2,500 per course, according to the IUPUI Associate Faculty Coalition.

By contrast, the coalition claims adjuncts teaching in English in the College of Arts and Sciences in Bloomington are paid $4,600 per course. And the Modern Language Association recommends adjunct pay of at least $6,600 per course.

“We simply want all part-time faculty to be treated equitably and know from experience that that is unfortunately not always the case,” said Tracy Donhardt, president of the Associate Faculty Coalition at IUPUI. Donhardt is a former IBJ reporter who has taught journalism as an adjunct at IUPUI since leaving the newspaper more than two years ago.

Donhardt said she has received word from the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI that adjuncts teaching liberal arts will receive a pay raise in the spring. Bill Blomquist, IUPUI’s dean of liberal arts, could not be reached Monday morning to comment on that possibility.

In an interview in April, Blomquist said raising adjuncts’ pay was not feasible at that time because state budget cuts forced IU to trim $58 million from its spending this year.

There were 979 adjuncts at IUPUI as of 2009, representing roughly one in every four instructors on the Indianapolis campus. In a city full of professionals interested to teach on the side, Blomquist said he has rarely struggled to fill adjunct slots.

MacIntyre, the IU spokesman, said adjunct pay has not been an issue of discussion for McRobbie or other officers of IU’s central administration. However, he noted, the issue could come up as part of the deliberations of a new committee named last month by McRobbie.

The New Academic Directions Committee, which will be co-chaired by IU’s Bloomington Provost Karen Hanson and IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz, will review whether IU has needs to restructure its academic operations in any way to improve quality, effectiveness, efficiency or responsiveness to educational trends.


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