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Chaparral 2016-2017: 25.5 Adjunct Junction

Adjunct Junction (May 2017)

Adjunct Junction

by Ramon Herrera
Adjunct Faculty Representative


This article recognizes part-time instructors contributions to student success and the barriers that need to be overcome to ensure the potential of these contributions are taken full advantage of.


Numerous studies have shown how faculty-student interactions have a positive effect on academic success in higher education (Kezar & Maxey, 2014). Faculty increase higher quality education for students when they are engaged in out of classroom activities like office hours, clubs, and campus events. Moreover, in a multicultural environment, students of color attribute their achievements when they receive encouragement and support from faculty of color. Although, as this alumnus will witness, any faculty member that models the essence of the above like Dr. Jessica Gillooly (Psychology) and Dr. Margaret Renner (History) contribute to the success of the student body.

The difficulty in faculty-student interactions come from availability, appropriate resources and accommodations that act as a barrier for part-time faculty (Kezar & Maxey, 2014). As part-time faculty move from campus to campus to earn the equivalency of their full-time counterparts, it becomes difficulty to accomplish faculty-student interactions outside of the classroom hour. This is in part due to the rising cost of living and student loans that make it essential for part-time faculty to fill every day of the week with classroom hours that pay more than office hours or stipends for clubs. The cost of living in Glendale is 19% above the California average and 63% above the national average (Areavibes, 2017). The cost of housing is 181% above the national average. The average student debt for graduate entering the workforce is $30,000 (Kreighbaum, 2016). These costs make it imperative for adjunct faculty to earn their freeway flyer mileages leaving little availability for faculty-student interactions.  


 The great news is that our state legislature has passed new laws and increased the COLA and the base allocation so that your GCC Guild has the means to put pressure on the District to increase stipends for part-time faculty (summer and fall application due date is June 9, 2017), create a pathway for those with rehire rights to get to 60-67% load (Assembly Bill No. 1690), provide “50% pay for up to 12 workweeks to bond with their newborn, adopted or foster child” (Assembly Bill No. 2393).  Further, the Guild is working to insure a 1% differential in any future raises (their initial proposal of 5% for part-time and 4% for fulltime faculty is an example), include college level teaching experience outside the District to count for salary placement, and ensure adjunct faculty have lockers and (cross your fingers) one day have appropriate offices to conduct office hours outside the broiler room (adjunct annex), where sensitive student material like exams can be safely kept.


Of course, to safeguard that our District is viable into the future, we must have accountability (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2012). This means that there must be assurance that our funding in practices are shown to be effective. In other words, our outcomes are measured in student success, which can be operationalized using the CCC scorecard matrix, performance-based funding approach through student goal achievement and progress toward the goals, e.g. successful transfer and certificate completion rates (Murphy, Cook, Johnson & Weston, 2014), or our own accountability. Whatever the measurement, let’s do it and do it effectively, so we can ensure the future of not only our students, but our District where students can thrive!

It may not be a perfect world, but GCC has been a sanctuary for this alumnus and many current students have reported the same. The aesthetics of our campus only complements the commitment of our faculty and staff to student success. Together we can ensure student growth and successful outcomes. The more we work together in appropriations, accommodations, and parity for adjuncts (including purchasing power for all faculty), the more part-time faculty can be available for students.

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