Part-time Paper Adopted Amid Controversy

February
1999
Hoke Simpson,

One of two papers forwarded to the plenary session from the Educational Policies Committee, Participation of Part-time Faculty on the Executive Committee of The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, was ultimately adopted by the body, but not before it had generated a great deal of heat.

The paper was composed in response to a resolution, S96 1.5, which called for the Executive Committee to "assure participation of part-time faculty" on the Executive Committee. Many members understood this as a directive to create a special part-time slot on the Executive Committee; this, however, was not the conclusion of the Educational Policies paper. Instead, the paper urged changes in the policies of both local senates and the Academic Senate, which would encourage and facilitate part-time instructors' involvement in governance processes and ready them to run for election to the Executive Committee in conventional fashion.

Reflecting the sentiments of many members, Carol Stanley-Hall of Butte College offered a resolution instructing the Executive Committee, in effect, to "Just do it: Put a part-timer on the committee!" Hoke Simpson, member of the Educational Policies Committee, offered a compromise resolution, which would create a liaison position on the Executive Committee for a representative of a statewide part-time faculty association, and which called for a proactive program to involve parttime instructors in governance at the local and statewide levels.

By the time the resolutions came to the floor, most of the heat surrounding the issue had been dissipated. Earlier, feelings had run high in a breakout on the paper; however, as a result of the breakout and many discussions in the halls and over meals, most parties were convinced of the good will of Educational Policies in an effort to deal constructively with what everyone recognizes as serious inequities in the treatment of part-time faculty.

Statements on the floor in support of the Simpson compromise resolution echoed the arguments in the paper itself. The paper offered a brief history of the origins of the Academic Senate, and an overview of the responsibilities of Senate delegates and of Executive Committee members, who are elected from the ranks of those delegates. The point here was that Executive Committee members are expected to have considerable breadth of experience comprising a variety of aspects of college governance, and that this is reflected in their Executive Committee assignments. The current mode of election is designed to select for that sort of breadth and effectiveness.

While concluding that it would not be appropriate to create a special part-time slot on the Executive Committee, the paper offers a number of recommendations toward a solution to increased participation of part-timers in system governance. These include: Changing the Bylaws and policies of the Academic Senate to facilitate and encourage part-time faculty participation on standing, ad hoc, and advisory committees; the development of a proactive recruitment and mentoring process to encourage involvement and leadership at both the local and statewide levels; changing the forms used in declaring the intent to run to clearly identify the opportunity for part-time faculty to run; and providing for compensation in the form of either reassigned time or a stipend whenever a part-time faculty member is elected to serve on the Executive Committee.

At the end of the day, the compromise resolution passed and the paper was officially adopted. Since then, Chris Storer, Chair of the California Part-time Faculty Association (CPFA), has been serving as liaison to the Executive Committee, and the Relations with Local Senates Committee has been charged with developing a proactive program in the field.

Asked what she thought of this outcome, Educational Policies Chair, Janis Perry, said that she considered this "a very positive solution. With Chris as liaison, we now have a part-time faculty voice in our deliberations, something we all see as very valuable. At the same time, Chris is able to devote his energies to CPFA and to parttime issues with a single-mindedness that would not be possible for an Executive Committee member with multiple assignments."

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