Temple University adjuncts, full-time faculty, librarians and academic professionals have enough in common that they can hold an election to form a joint union, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board said this week. No election date has been set, but the Temple Association of University Professionals said the decision was another step toward forming a bigger, more inclusive union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. If successful, the union drive would effectively merge 1,300 adjunct faculty into a union currently representing some 1,300 tenured and non-tenure-track full-time faculty. Current union members will not be able to vote.
“Adjuncts deserve a voice and a seat at the table,” Art Hochner, an associate professor of human resource management at Temple and union president, said in an announcement. “Not only do we have a legal community of interest, but we also have many common interests: our students’ education, the advancement of knowledge, Temple’s historic mission and our material well-being.”
Temple said in a statement that it is “unwise for [the union] to be in a position to favor the interests of one group over another. Adjunct and full-time faculty are similar in some ways, but there are also important differences in responsibility and priority over tenure, workload, pay and contracts. For these reasons, merging adjunct faculty into [the union] does not make sense for full-time or adjunct faculty.”
Nearly 150 adjuncts at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks were not paid on schedule Sept. 18, and some still have not been paid. Adjuncts contacted Inside Higher Ed about the problem anonymously, citing concerns about their lack of job security. They indicated that a missed paycheck can be more disruptive for an adjunct than someone on the tenure track, given the tight budgets on which many adjuncts live.
The university said paperwork problems were to blame and that 102 of the adjuncts have since received their Sept. 18 paychecks, and another 26 should be paid by the end of this week. Some checks may be delayed further because there are additional paperwork requirements to pay those adjuncts who work in multiple divisions of the university or who teach music (where some instruction is in the form of private lessons). The university said all adjuncts would be paid.
Calvin College, which has been fighting to stabilize its budget, is cutting a number of humanities programs, saying that they are not attracting enough students, MLive reported. Among the programs being ended: theater, art history and the languages of German, Greek and Latin.
Faculty members are among the fortunate winners of this year's “genius” fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The no-strings fellowships are awarded to “individuals who show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future.” The winners receive $625,000 over five years, and people cannot apply for the fellowship -- the foundation simply makes its selections.
This year's winners from academe are:
Patrick Awuah, founder and president of Ashesi University College, in Ghana.
Kartik Chandran, associate professor of earth and environmental engineering at Columbia University.
Matthew Desmond, associate professor of sociology and social studies at Harvard University.
Drury University, in Missouri, is eliminating the jobs of 12 faculty members, none of them with tenure but some on the tenure track, The Springfield News-Leader reported. The university cited an enrollment decline this year, and said that it was eliminating positions in departments with reduced student demand. The faculty members who lost jobs were in theater, philosophy, music, education and languages. The university said that it plans to grow in fields with more student demand, and as a result is adding programs in film and TV production, digital design, animation, and professional writing. The choices of topics for growth, and the fields of those having jobs eliminated, have prompted some on campus to create a Facebook page called "Save Drury as a Liberal Arts School."