parttime faculty and the AAA

Tim Wallace (twallace@NANDO.NET)
Fri, 15 Dec 1995 09:45:44 -0500

This message follows up on the theme about no panels at the last AAA

I know the AAA has had several resolutions about the plight of part time
faculty, but the AAA has no control over what happens in departments.
The AAA also should not be in the business of determining what panels get
proposed. The fact is that the people in control of part time faculty
situations generally are loathe to discuss the issues publicly, perhaps
for fear of letting the world know how badly they are often treated.

The issues are very complex. It is not possible to merely say parttime
faculty should get this or that item in a contract. There is also an
academic administration to contend with. Unionization is a good idea,
perhaps, but how many faculty are willing to join a union these days? The
University of Arkansas-Little Rock has one that emerged re-charged
because of a particularly difficult encounter with a new president.

Anthropologists are more lilely to do something when fulltime jobs are in
jeopardy, for example, when a state legislature or a governing body
decides to eliminate tenure.

Does the AAA have a committee that investigates the problems of parttime
faculty on a systematic basis?

The problems of parttime faculty are of course not limited to
anthropology departments. We need to begin to collect systematically
examples of the best and worst contracts for parttime faculty. We also
need to discuss among ourselves what are the minimum requirements of
"fair play" for our parttime colleagues.

One issue that has always been somewhat controversial for us has been
should parttime faculty be invited (not required) to attend faculty
meetings. It has always seemed to me correct that they should as this
makes them more fully a part of the department and the fulltime faculty
beenfit from their insights.

Finally, what rights do parttime faculty accrue through seniority? If
someone is teaching for ten years as a parttime faculty, should they be
hired? Or should the department shop around for the most PhD with the
most recent theoretical and methodological expertise from grad school?

Thisdoes not exhaust the many, many issues that most of us academics have
not wanted to examine fully, perhaps due to its thorniness. But we
should do it immediately.