The poor treatment of part-time faculty at Rutgers is in direct contradiction with the practices at other Big Ten schools.
At Rutgers University, most of the students are taught by part-time faculty. Yet part-time faculty are poorly paid, have no job security and no access to health benefits. They do not have office space, classroom resources or administrative support. They have no sick days, are not entitled to maternity leave, are not excused for jury duty. They have no assurance, semester by semester, year after year, of their continued employment.
At other Big Ten schools, part-time faculty receive pro-rated salaries, long-term appointments and have access to health benefits.
Rutgers employs the highest number of part-time faculty in the Big Ten.
New Jerseyans should be aware of the pervasive and alarming low-budget approach Rutgers is taking to educate its students.
Most students are not aware of the employment status of the instructor in front of the classroom. But here are the facts.
Faculty contracts expired in June. Today, the union that represents part-time faculty is fighting for equal pay — $7,250 per course. We are fighting for job security, in the form of longer-term appointments. We are fighting for access to affordable and comprehensive health care.
Most part-time faculty members at Rutgers have advanced degrees; most, in fact have Ph.Ds. Many are well-regarded in their fields and have years of teaching experience. Indeed, most part-time faculty members are dedicated educators. Often our mentoring continues years after the class has ended. Part-time faculty are the face of the university. Many work at several different universities to cobble together a living wage.
Rutgers now has a ratio of 70 percent contingent faculty members.
Contingent faculty members are disproportionately female and people of color.
At any university, the ratio of part-time faculty to full-time faculty directly affects the quality of education. The higher the ratio of contingent faculty, the more the students lose.