Standards for Part-Time, Adjunct and Contingent Faculty (2011)

At its semi-annual meeting on June 4-5, 2011, in Washington, DC, the Council of the Association voted to endorse the following standards for part-time, adjunct and contingent faculty, which were prepared by the Organization of American Historians' Committee on Part-time, Adjunct and Contingent Employment (CPACE).

Approved by the OAH Executive Board for implementation by the Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct and Contingent Employment at its annual meeting of March 17-20, 2011, the OAH Executive Board endorsed the following five standards and "best practices" for how all colleges, universities and other institutions of higher education should employ and utilize non-tenured and non-tenure-track history faculty:

1. That non-tenure track (NTT) faculty includes professionals referred to as adjunct, contingent, part-time, contractual, affiliate, special, irregular, full-time untenured or non-tenure track and off-tenure track, and designated with titles such as Instructor, Visiting Professor, Professor and Lecturer.

That NTT faculty be included in the collegial relations and communications of their departments as well as in their places of employment and be provided with:

  1. clearly stated evaluation procedures;
  2. seniority for hiring and pay raises according to set policies;
  3. office space, phones, and access to computers, libraries, electronic library databases, photocopying, parking, clerical and technological support on a similar basis as tenured /tenure-track faculty (TTT faculty) are allocated;
  4. eligibility for grants to attend conferences on the same or on a similar basis as for TTT faculty;
  5. access to basic benefits such as health and life insurance, sick leave and retirement plans and unemployment compensation. Health benefits particularly should be universally available proportional to employment, with an opportunity provided for co-payments to ensure full coverage;
  6. support for professional development in regard to teaching, creative activities and scholarship;
  7. eligibility for promotion in job position and rank;
  8. opportunity for regularized employment in the form of year-long or multi-year contracts and/or reasonable timely written commitments for renewal.

2. That history departments, and other divisions, departments or programs that offer history curricula, maintain accurate statistical records showing the number and proportion of contingent full-time and part-time faculty, and share that information with the OAH and other professional associations, accrediting organizations and the public as appropriate. This includes recording every semester:

  1. The actual number of full-time and part-time contingent history faculty, along with the total number of full-time permanent history faculty;
  2. The number and percentage of history courses taught by full-time permanent, full-time temporary, and part-time history instructors respectively;
  3. The contractual length of employment for each full-time and part-time contingent history faculty member; and
  4. The total length of service of each full-time and part-time contingent history in the department, division or program.

(For the purposes of statistical reporting, graduate students teaching independent courses, where they are responsible for lecturers and running the course, are to be counted as contingent part-time history instructors.)

That history departments, and other divisions, departments and programs that offer history curricula, maintain a record of the criteria and priorities utilized each semester for the hiring and retention of contingent full-time and part-time history faculty.

3. That academic institutions incorporate NTT faculty into their governance systems to the fullest extent possible with appropriate compensation for non-teaching duties.  Participation may occur directly or through representatives. The following areas offer a spectrum of good practices that should be considered, depending upon governance structure and particular needs:

  1. extension of the right to attend, participate in and, when appropriate, vote at meetings of history departments, faculty senates, and other faculty governance bodies at the disciplinary, departmental, programmatic, divisional and institutional levels;
  2. invitation to participate on relevant faculty and institutional committees (such as curriculum, student assessment, budgetary and program planning panels), with appropriate compensation when NTT faculty agree to serve;
  3. provision for NTT faculty's participation in formulating procedures and instruments for the evaluation of teaching and work performance;
  4. recognition of NTT faculty in published or posted rosters of departmental, divisional or institutional members, and in programs rewarding excellence in teaching;
  5. creation of a written policy outlining NTT faculty members' rights and responsibilities in governance with periodic updates to reflect changes;
  6. support of NTT faculty's academic freedom and due process protections.

The integration of NTT faculty into governance systems either directly or through their representatives will foster a united faculty better prepared to make good academic decisions, improve the work of history programs and enhance the quality of students' education.

4. That the pay scale for NTT faculty reflects their status as professionals with:

  1. fair salaries, proportional to TTT faculty compensation for comparable teaching, advising, and service;
  2. salary increases over time that recognize years of experience and/or service;
  3. appropriate stipends or compensation for committee work, administrative assignments, assessment and any other duties beyond teaching required by the college/institution;
  4. administrative support and the institutional resources necessary to teach; such support should extend to professional development, new course creation, scholarship and other occupational activities;
  5. a policy or formula for seniority that may include ranks and certain levels of job security.

5. That history departments, and other divisions, departments or programs that offer history curricula should attempt to meet these standards, and report progress to the OAH Committee on Part-time, Adjunct and Contingent Employment. Commendation for substantial progress and good practices will be published in the OAH Newsletter.

In addition to the above standards, the OAH urges all college accrediting organizations and all journals and media that list colleges and university by various criteria to include the following information in their reports:

  1. The number and percentage of contingent, full-time temporary and part-time adjunct faculty members; and
  2. The number and percentage of courses taught by contingent, full-time temporary and part-time adjunct faculty members.

This is a matter of public information to which prospective students and their families are entitled as a matter of consumer protection.

Previous Statements

The above document indicates the AHA's current standing on this issue. Previous statements include: