Faculty Senate

Minutes

January 26, 2011, 3:30 p.m.             Magnolia Avenue Campus               MA 158

 

 

I.          Call to Order                                                

 

The meeting was called to order by Tom Gaddis.

 

Members in attendance: Mark Fuentes (President), Ron Bridges (President Elect), Dave Vinson (TBR Rep), Joe Zitka (BCT), Sami Ghezawi (EMT), Ken Swayne (EMT), Lawana Day (English), Trent Eades (English), Mike Rose (LA), Ann Preston (Math), Bob Stern (Math), Brad Rose (NBS), Darneta Brown (Nursing), Amy Tankersley (Transitional Studies), Tom Gaddis (Business Officer/Division Street), Jane Stribling (Magnolia Avenue), William Gwin (Adjunct Faculty).

 

Guests in attendance: Krissy DeAlejandro, Lara Kajs, Mary Monroe-Ellis, W. Leigh Moore, Brittany L. Mosby, John Smith

 

II.        Approval of Minutes: Tom Gaddis

            Minutes were approved as distributed.

 

III.       Officer Reports:

                  Secretary:   Jean Jackson – No report.

 

                  Communications:  Ken Swayne – No report.

 

                  TBR Representative: Dave Vinson

·         Subcouncil – Friday – 5 of 19 school representatives called in.

Approval for universal pathways agreements and rubrics.

·         On the agenda for the April subcouncil meeting:

--Standing in the union

--Confusion about salary studies at some institutions. There are inconsistencies in application of THEC rules, selection of peer institutions, etc.

·         The chancellor is calling for salary increases.

                 

                  President: Mark Fuentes

·         Mark met with Chancellor Morgan in December. It was a positive meeting.

·         The search process for a new president has begun. TBR is forming a committee now for the search. Faculty will be included. Mark Fuentes and Tom Gaddis will serve. TBR regent Bob Thomas will serve as chair. They plan to have a president hired in April.

·         Strawberry Plains Campus is the planned name for the new campus. TBR has approved their portion of the purchasing process. The College’s portion of the funding is in place. Only the first floor areas will be used for fall. Classes in Nursing, Transitional Studies, Math, and English are planned for fall. A site dean has not been named.

·         Parking: Mark is asking that the O7 lot be designated as faculty/staff parking.  New gravel parking lots should be available at Division Street Campus for fall.

·         Classrooms (especially at Pellissippi Campus and Division Street Campus) are being moved and equipment is not making the trip. These may be isolated incidents.

·         The Bagwell Gallery is featuring a new faculty art exhibit through January 31.

 

IV.       Committee Reports:

                  Adjunct Faculty: William Gwin

There was a follow-up question about library space closed in for adjunct faculty office space. It has been done and the room number is ER209.

 

                  Student Scholarships: Bob Stern

Books are being solicited for the book sale. It will be held March 16-17 at Pellissippi Campus and February 28-March 3 at Blount County Campus. Book buyers may attend. Additional information will follow via e-mail.

 

There was discussion about who will replace Jane Cameron in handling money from the sale. Mark will check.

 

                  Rules: Donn King – No report

 

                  Nominating Committee: Jean Jackson – No report

 

                  Promotion/Tenure: Jane Stribling

Notebooks will be available for review February 14-March 11 in GN203H. There was some discussion regarding arrangements for site campuses.

 

                  Faculty Development: Ron Bridges

·         The draft of the new faculty development policy was approved and became official policy with no revisions.

·         In-Service: There was no adjunct faculty in-service this semester. Possible sessions for fall in-service will include safety/security, QEP, and SACS.

 

                        Faculty Lecture Series: Trent Eades

The next lecture is scheduled for February 16 at 2:00 p.m. David Brown will present “Are You a Robot?”

 

V.        Discussion:

                  Student Perceptions

·         The process is flawed. There is no security, in some cases, (box in hallway, etc.). Some completed surveys are not making it to Sharon Yarbrough’s office. Mark is soliciting ideas to address the issues.

·         Students are left without oversight and thus get silly and collaborate, etc.

·         Some are done online – even for some non-online classes. There is collaboration there too.

·         Can we go back to having another instructor administer the survey, not a student? The instructor could also make sure the results are delivered to the right place.

·         There is often too little participation in the online survey. It was noted that elsewhere grades are held until they respond or opt out.

·         A few faculty have had comments deleted. Whatever is inappropriate, i.e. obscenities and things unrelated to the course. Several senators want to know more about the criteria for such deletions.

                  Mark will investigate further.

 

                  Student Printing/Page Counts

Ron Bridges indicated that counts have been made and it has been decided that some courses are requiring students to print too many things. Mark Fuentes has been told that no one is being told to limit printing; that Jerry Bryan says that data is still being collected. Trent Eades reported that someone in a position to know says that the office is also tracking every web site students access and print.

 

                  Bookstore and Financial Aid Issues

Bob Stern reported that on December 17, 2010, among the information for spring semester, a faculty member found a bookstore link in Banner with ads for supplements that indicated that some things were required that actually were not. That could make us liable for the erroneous information. It was done automatically without faculty input. There may be a need to investigate the process. Bob discussed this issue with Dr. Wise who indicated that he would speak to Ron Kesterson.

 

There was also discussion regarding a student who made some changes in his course schedule and as a result received notification that his schedule might be dropped because due to the changed schedule, he had lost his financial aid, though he had not actually received financial aid. Evidently his financial aid status was not checked before the notification was sent. He paid in full and was confirmed.

 

                  Departmental/Adjunct Representation

Trent Eades reported that he and Annie Gray produced a memo addressing how student retention and success might be improved by improving the situation of contingent faculty (see Attachment 1). It would involve changing the manner in which adjuncts are represented in both departmental and Faculty Senate meetings. This might require amendment of the Faculty Senate Constitution.

 

Trent Eades moved “that this matter be sent to the Rules Committee for review and then be brought back to Senate for discussion.” The motion was approved.

 

Trent will forward the memo electronically to Mark Fuentes and the Rules Committee.

 

VI.       Unfinished Business: None

 

VII.     New Business:

                  Election of Adjunct Representative

One adjunct faculty representative is in place to serve the rest of this academic year. One seat is vacant and four candidates were nominated to fill this seat for the remainder of the term. The candidates -  Krissy DeAlejandro, Lara Kajs, Leigh Moore, and Brittany Mosby - were present to answer questions before the Senate discussion and vote.

 

Leigh Moore won election by a majority vote of senators present.

 

 

VIII.    Announcements:

            An excellent exhibit of new faculty art is currently on view in the Bagwell Gallery.

 

The next meeting is scheduled for February 16, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. at the Pellissippi Campus in the Faculty/Staff Dining Room.

 

 

IX.       Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes as amended and approved February 16, 2011


Attachment 1

 

Memorandum on the Effect of Contingent Faculty on Student Performance

(Written by Trent Eades in consulation with Dr. Annie Gray.                                                                            Delivered to the QEP Committee and Dr. Anthony Wise.)

With the recent structural changes in how institutions of higher education are to be funded in Tennessee, it is incumbent that the faculty, staff, and administration of Pellissippi State Community College squarely address steps necessary to perform well under new funding guidelines. These steps, if they are to be successful, must secure wide support from across the institution. In addition, the Quality Enhancement Plan that Pellissippi State is developing as part of its SACS accreditation efforts will require wide-ranging buy-in to be truly effective. With these considerations in mind, it is clear that contingent faculty will be crucial to Pellissippi’s efforts to achieve its performance funding objectives and to make its QEP a success.

However, a growing body of research shows that student performance suffers when they attend classes taught by contingent faculty. Because contingent faculty teach a majority of classes at Pellissippi State, it is important that we be aware of the research linking decreased student performance to contingent faculty, consider the very real barriers that prevent contingent faculty from being as effective as tenured or tenure-track faculty, and engage in a conversation about possible solutions. This memorandum sketches out the issues and suggests some possible solutions.

 

The Link Between Decreased Student Performance and the Use of Contingent Faculty

A number of studies in the last two decades have pointed to the negative effect use of contingent faculty has on student performance. We shall summarize the results of three recent studies that confirm previous research and that pertain to 1) student likelihood to transfer, 2) graduation rates, and 3) associate degree completion, all topics highly relevant to Pellissippi State and community colleges in general.

·         In an article published in Research in Higher Education in 2009, Eagan and Jaeger report the results of a study that determined that the use of contingent faculty at community colleges significantly decreased the likelihood a student would transfer to a four-year university. Their study identified nearly 25, 000 students across 107 community colleges who were likely to intend to transfer and excluded students seeking terminal degrees, certificates, or employee training. According to their analysis, “for every 10% increase in students’ exposure to part-time faculty instructions, students tended to become almost 2% less likely to transfer” (180). Further, students who had only contingent faculty instruction were 20% less likely to transfer than students taught only by full-time faculty (180).

 

·         In an article published in the Journal of Higher Education in 2006,  Daniel Jacoby found a significant connection between the use of contingent faculty and graduation. According to his analysis of data gained from The National Center for Educational Statistics, community colleges with relatively low part-time faculty ratios graduate a higher percentages of students than those with high part-time faculty ratios. Graduation rates in the former range from 26-35 percent; rates in the latter range from 21-25 percent.

 

·         In an article published in Community College Review in 2009,  Jaeger and Eagan found that the use of contingent faculty had a negative effect on students’ likelihood to complete associate degrees. Their analysis of data from nearly 180,000 students in 107 community colleges shows that student likelihood to complete associate degrees decreases as the use of part-time faculty increases. A student who has been taught only by contingent faculty is 10 percent less likely to graduate than is one who has been taught only by full-time faculty.

These three studies are representative of the research that links decreased student performance to the use of contingent faculty.  Studies by Burgess and Samuels, Calcagno et. al, Jacoby, and Ehrenberg and Zhang have reached similar conclusions.

 

The Condition of Contingent Faculty

A number of studies have examined the role of contingent faculty on the campuses of community colleges and universities.  In general, researchers focus on how the working conditions of contingent faculty negatively affects attitude, morale, institutional engagement, and teaching effectiveness. These factors combined are generally given as reasons for the negative affect the use of contingent faculty has on student performance.

As Daniel Jacoby explains, “Part-time faculty are neither part-time nor temporary. … The part-time or permatemp system offers few incentives to foster rich interactions between faculty and students, and thus undermines the campus-learning climate.” At many institutions and at Pellissippi State, contingent faculty are paid by the course or by class-contact hour. They have no guarantee of continued employment and are paid a small fraction of what a full-time faculty members are paid per course or class-contact hour. Because of that, contingent faculty often work other jobs or are supported by spouses, partners, or parents. Either way, the low pay is a significant barrier to achieving greater contingent faculty involvement with students, staff, or other faculty.  Those contingent faculty who wish to make a career in academia often teach at more than one institution, and those contingent faculty who are financially supported by other jobs or by partners often view teaching as an interesting sideline. In either case, contingent faculty are less likely to be fully involved in the college community in ways that foster student success.

According to a recent survey of part-time faculty conducted by the American Federation of Teachers, a sizable percentage of contingent faculty are concerned about job security, living wages, and health insurance (4). About 57 percent have been on their campuses 10 or fewer years (8).

When contingent faculty were asked what improvements they desire in their working conditions, 41 percent cited increased salary, 33 percent cited improved access to full-time positions, 29 percent cited access to healthcare benefits, 22 percent cited improved job security, and 16 percent cited retirement benefits (12).

In addition, respondents report a lack of professional support and advancement opportunities.

In general, contingent faculty feel they are not important to their institutions because of the low pay, the lack of professional advancement, the lack of support, and their exclusion from department and college governance. In short, they are not treated as valuable members of the college community. As one study reports, part-time faculty are less accessible to students, bring less authority to their jobs, and are less integrated into the campus culture (Eagan and Yeager, “Closing the Gate,” 42).  According to a literature survey conducted by Jaeger and Egan, characteristics of the college experience that lead to increased student performance include access to their instructors outside of the classroom,  instructor involvement in campus organizations and activities, and instructor expertise in advising and career planning (171). Contingent faculty, for financial and other reasons related to how they are integrated into college life, are less involved with students in the meaningful ways that lead to increased student performance.

As the American Association of University Professors states, “Hiring faculty on the basis of the lowest labor cost and without professional working conditions represents a disinvestment in the nation’s intellectual capital precisely at the time when innovation and insight are most needed.”

 

Recommendations

1.      Increase the percentage of full-time faculty and decrease the percentage of contingent faculty. Given the financial priorities of the state and some institutional administrators, and given budget concerns, it may appear to be an empty gesture to point out that the percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty needs to be increased. Yet the research is clear: over-reliance on contingent faculty has a negative effect on student performance. To the degree possible, Pellissippi staff, faculty, and administration must realize that financial priorities need to be adjusted. We suggest setting a goal of decreasing the ratio of part-time faculty to full-time faculty by 2 percent a year for at least the next 10 years. The American Association of University Professors recommends that no more than about a third of faculty should be contingent faculty.

 

2.      Treat contingent faculty as faculty. That means they need to be included in departmental and college governance. Contingent faculty should be allowed but not required to attend department meetings, vote on department issues, have a voice in textbook selection, etc. In addition, they should be included on college-wide committees. Contingent faculty should be allowed to represent their departments at Faculty Senate. Only by treating contingent faculty as the faculty they are can Pellissippi State hope to more fully integrate them into college life, an integration that will improve the quality of their contacts with students.

 

3.      Revise hiring practices so that getting hired as a tenure-track faculty member is less of a lottery. Currently, contingent faculty are hired largely based on a one-hour interview, a process that makes interviewing skills – skills not a part of a faculty members day-to-day practice – crucial to getting hired. Some contingent faculty have served Pellissippi State for many years; yet during the hiring process their student evaluations and faculty observations are usually not consulted. In addition, the interview process is often the last step before hiring committees make their selection. Moving the interview process to a point earlier in the deliberation process would tend to minimize the importance of the interview and allow greater consideration of candidate vitas and other data, including evaluations and observations.

 

4.      Hire more contingent faculty on a longer-term basis. Most contingent faculty are hired on a semester by semester basis, which provides no job security in future months. Pellissippi State should consider hiring more contingent faculty on year or multi-year contracts.

 

5.      Create a career path for contingent faculty. Allowing contingent faculty to be involved in department and college governance will give individuals the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, commitment, and communication skills, all of which will help improve hiring decisions. In addition, contingent faculty hired on a longer term basis than semester-to-semester will have greater opportunity to show they would be good tenure-track  faculty.

 

Works Cited

 

AFT Higher Education. “A National Survey of Part-Time/Adjunct Faculty.” American Academic

 2. American Federation of Teachers. March 2010. 30 Sept. 2010.

<https://www.aft.org/pdfs/highered/aa_partimefaculty0310.pdf>.

 

AAUP. “Tenure and Teaching-Intensive Appointments.”  American Association of University

Professors.  2010. 30 Sept. 2010. <http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/comm/rep/conversion.htm>.

 

Benjamin, Ernst. "How Over-reliance on Contingent Appointments Diminishes Faculty

            Involvement in Student Learning.” Peer Review 5.1 (2002): 4+. Academic OneFile. Web.

            30 Sept. 2010.

 

Burgess, L.A., and C. Samuels. “Impact of Full-Time Versus Part-Time Instructor Status on

            College Student Retention and Academic Performance in Sequential Courses.”

 Community College Journal of Research and Practice. 23 (1999): 487-498.

 

Calcagno, J.C., et. al. “Stepping Stones Toward a Degree: The Impact of Enrollment Pathways

            and Milestones on Community College Student Outcomes.” Research in Higher

            Education. 49 (2007): 775-802.

 

Eagan, M. Kevin, and Audrey J. Jaeger. “Effects of Exposure to Part-Time Faculty on

            Community College Transfer.” Research in Higher Education. 50 (2009): 168-188.

 

Ehrenberg, R.G., and L. Zhang. “Do Tenure and Tenure-Track Faculty Matter?” NBER Working

            Paper No. W10695 (2004) Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

 

Jacoby, Daniel. “Effects of Part-Time Faculty Employment on Community College Graduation

Rates.” Journal of Higher Education. 77.6 (2006): 1081+. Academic OneFile. Web. 25 Sept. 2010.

 

Jaeger, Audrey J., and M. Kevin Eagan Jr. “Unintended Consequences: Examining the Effect of

            Part-Time Faculty Members on Associate’s Degree Completion.” Community College

            Review 36.3 (2009): 167+ Academic OneFile. Web. 25 Sept. 2010.

 

---. “Closing the Gate: Part-Time Faculty Instruction in Gatekeeper Courses and First-Year

            Persistence.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 115 (2008): 39-53.