Magazine article Academe

Contingent Faculty Get More Job Security

Magazine article Academe

Contingent Faculty Get More Job Security

Article excerpt

The California Faculty Association (CFA) and the California State University system reached a contract agreement in March that incorporates groundbreaking protections for contingent faculty. The CFA, which is affiliated with the AAUP, represents tenure-track and contingent faculty as well as some academic professionals in the CSU system, which has twenty-two campuses across California and a twenty-third under construction.

The three-year contract, hammered out after prolonged negotiations between the union and CSU administrators, addresses pay raises, family leave, and other important issues. It also acknowledges that the ratio of students to tenure-track faculty in the CSU system has grown to levels that raise "serious concerns." That ratio is now almost 30 to 1, according to George Diehr, a professor of management science at CSU-San Marcos and a member of the CFA bargaining team. A decade ago, the ratio was in the vicinity of 25 to 1, he says.

To restore that ratio, CSU would need to create about 2,000 new tenure-track positions. While that number of positions will not be created, CSU has agreed to undertake at least 1,200 new tenure-track faculty searches during the 2002-03 academic year.

The contract also contains provisions designed to give greater job security to the contingent faculty, who, Diehr estimates, now teach about half the classes at CSU. Beginning in fall 2002, contingent faculty with six years of service will receive threeyear contracts, which will typically be renewed as long as work is available "except in instances of documented unsatisfactory performance or serious conduct problems. …

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