Archive for Ohio colleges and universities

Higher ed analyst blasts UA for low grad rates, lack of leadership

A column in today’s Akron Beacon Journal written by higher ed analyst Joseph Yeado of the Education Trust blasts The University of Akron for its plummeting graduation ratesUA grad rate particularly the dismal six-year graduation rate of 9.8 percent for black students.

The piece criticizes UA for lack of leadership and “an extensive building spree.”

It also calls for campus-wide engagement in “establishing a culture of completion where everyone, from tenured professor to resident assistant, is responsible for ensuring student success.”

We would note that current policies and practices regarding part-time faculty at UA make that impossible.

Read the full article at this link: 
Everything at UA but enough grads and add your comments.

Highlights of OPTFA June meetings

Current Priorities for OPTFA, as discussed at our June meetings, include the following:
Unemployment + Adjunct Lecturer status: We’re focusing on information gathering in the coming ScarletAmonths regarding several appeals for unemployment compensation by part-timers. (See Paula’s recent post on our discussion list.) If you have filed, please be sure that Maria Maisto has your contact information. Also, there is growing concern that the trend of pushing out adjuncts who have achieved Senior Lecturers status is ramping up on campuses that have such a designation. If you have a story like Paula’s or Michelle’s, we want to know about it.
Campus Tours: OPTFA is planning to tour Ohio campuses in the Fall 2013. On the tour, the goal is to get the word out that OPTFA exists and showcase what adjuncts in the state have accomplished so far. We also hope the tour will serve as a local mobilizing force to bring together all stakeholders (like students, other part-time campus employees, parents, tenured fac) who are impacted by contingency.  We also want to help catalyze the organizing of adjuncts on local campuses so that people aren’t so isolated from the other adjuncts that walk the same halls they do.  We need people to serve as points of contact, so we can set up dates, so if you want to help arrange a visit to your campus, please email David Wilder at
Campus Equity Week 2013: This will take place the last week in October. Lots of folk on the Survey suggested some sort of conference–we would love for Campus Equity Week (and/or the Campus Tours) to be a place where we can hosts panels, teach-ins, events on different campuses across the state in the same week. We’re also looking into figuring out how to simulcast Ohio events so that we can be networked into the Campus Equity Week events going on around the nation that week. If you are looking for a committee to serve on for OPTFA: this is what’s hot.
Aaron Calafuto + “For-Profit”: This is super exciting. We’re looking for more ways to cross-for profitpollinate our organizing between fac + students and this is one sure way to do it. Aaron’s a founder of Student Debt Crisis–working with student organizations on campuses nationwide to organize around the issue of student debt.
He is also a playwright of a critically acclaimed play, For Profit, about the cycle of student debt and the corporatization of higher ed, which you can find out more about here.
The plan is to synch our Campus Tours with some showings of his play–to highlight the connections between contingent faculty members who are working for poverty wages with thousands of dollars in debt they can’t pay back at these rates, while the students themselves take on thousands of dollars in debt in the hope of making a living wage, but the only work available, if they can get that degree, may be a minimum wage job in the service sector–so they won’t be able to pay back that debt either. Average student loan debt in recent years is something like $27,000 per student.  Also remember that only 56 percent of our students in Ohio graduate in six years. Student load debt (in number of dollars) has quadrupled just in the past 10 years. Ohio is seventh in the nation for highest student loan debt load. Etcetera etcetera.


So these kinds of events and panels should surely increase solidarity on our campuses and gather crowds/community interest/publicity. If you’d like to have the play and panel discussion come to your campus–please talk to Maria Maisto. Some dates have been set already.
For more details on the other things the group worked on Wednesday–including that OPTFA Summer Survey (preliminary results are in!) please see the June 2013 Meeting Report.


WKYC takes on Tri-C administrative costs

WKYC-TV took up the topic of the growth in administrators — at the expense of academics — at Cuyahoga Community College inWKYC a two and a half minute report by Kim Wheeler that was broadcast on tonight’s evening news.

In it, April Freely, co-chair of the OPTFA organizing committee, helped answer the question, “Should tax dollars go to administration or the classroom?” She pointed out that the growth of administrators is outpacing tenured faculty hires.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 9.50.23 PM

Tri-C’s executive leadership structure

“I think that we owe it to our young people to put the money into things that are going to help them succeed,” Freely said.

Students interviewed in the broadcast said funding should be used for academics, not administration, while Tri-C defended its administrative structure as well as its cost.

Tri-C has more than 52,000 students on multiple campuses. It has 15 vice presidents and 20 executive directors, among other administrators.


Plain Dealer readers call out higher ed on adjunct treatment

Cleveland area readers don’t like how universities and colleges are treating part-time faculty — or how that treatment affects students — and they have put their opinions in writing.

Plain Dealer readers responded to the newspaper’s May 26 story on the inequitable workingScreen Shot 2013-06-07 at 12.46.51 AM conditions of part-time faculty — and how adjuncts are fighting back — by writing letters to the editor.

The newspaper published the letters Sunday, June 2, under the headline, “While adjuncts do the work, administrators multiply.” The letters took up a full page of the opinion section — and all were sympathetic to the plight of adjuncts.

The May 26 Plain Dealer story, written by Harlan Spector, is one of many written or broadcast about the effects of the Affordable Care Act on the working conditions of adjunct faculty and the learning conditions of students.

Many colleges and universities are placing limits on the number of credit hours adjuncts can teach to avoid providing adjuncts with health care benefits. Others are underestimating the number of hours adjuncts put in outside of the classroom.

Both approaches, cutting adjunct hours and inventing a false ratio to institutionalize the status quo, are wrong and show that colleges do not consider students, faculty or the quality of education a priority.

Has our educational system become corporate? Has it forgotten its mission to educate and to set examples for fair and equal practice? – Gloria Lucshesi, Cleveland Heights


OPTFA Rally for Equity at the University of Akron on May 1

What: Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association Demonstration

When: Wednesday, May 1, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where: The plaza between the Student Union and Buchtel Hall on the University of Akron’s main campus. Get the map.

Where to Park: The Gated Visitor Parking Deck on East Buchtel Avenue. View the map.

Who: All faculty, staff, students and the public are invited to attend to show solidarity with 70UA’s part-time faculty whose lives are seriously impacted by a recent administrative decision that cuts their course loads to eight credit hours per semester. This decision was made so that UA could avoid providing health care benefits required under the Affordable Care Act.

Why: To educate the campus community and the public about the inadequate working conditions and the pay and benefit inequities faced by part-time faculty at UA. UA’s approximately 1,500 part-timers make up more than 70 percent of all faculty on campus, receive no benefits and earn about $2,400 per three-credit course. OPTFA wants to raise public awareness of the persistent and systematic mistreatment of part-time faculty by The University of Akron and other Ohio colleges and universities.

Sign up form: To help us gauge the participation we will have for the May 1 Rally for Equity at UA, we are asking that you complete a confidential participation form. Just include as much information as you are comfortable sharing. This information will not be distributed outside of the organizing committee of the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association.

Spread the word: Download the May 1 Rally for Equity at UA flyer to share with your colleagues.

More ways to support equity for adjuncts:
  • Wear red to campus in support of adjunct equity on May 1.
  • Wear a scarlet ‘A’ as well
  • Post the scarlet ‘A’ on your office door and/or car window.
  • Upload the scarlet ‘A’ as your Facebook profile photo.
  • Take a photo of yourself and your colleagues in your red and/or wearing your scarlet ‘A’ and post on Twitter using these hashtags: #adjunct #mayday #OPTFA and on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Share this news, links and messages of support on Facebook and Twitter, using these hashtags: #adjunct #mayday #OPTFA and on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Join our Ohio Adjunct Listserv to share news and stay informed on issues and events.
For more information: Email


Learn about other OPTFA events, including our April 24 and 28 meetings.

FYI: Facts about UA Part-time Faculty

  • Number of first and second year courses (000-200) taught by part- time faculty in the 2010-2011 academic year: 3,770
  • Number of first and second year courses (000-200) taught by full-time faculty in the 2010-2011 academic year: 2,324
  • Total number of part-time faculty in the 2010-2011 AY: 1,503
  • Total number of full-time faculty in the 2010-2011 AY: 806
  • Average annual pay rate for a part-time faculty member of the highest rank (senior lecturer) teaching a 4/3 load (21 credit hours): $20,038
  • Average annual pay rate for a full-time tenure-track faculty member of the lowest rank (assistant professor) teaching a 4/3 load or less: $62,745
  • Percentage of faculty salary budget devoted to part-time faculty, who make up more than 60% of all faculty: 15%
  • Most important issue for part-time faculty, according to a 2012 survey: better pay, securing full-time employment
  • Issues that cause the greatest dissatisfaction among part-time faculty, according to the same survey: low pay, lack of health insurance, the two-tiered faculty system

How higher education makes part-time faculty invisible

One way to cover up a problem is to make it invisible.

Part-time faculty, who generally make low wages and receive no benefits even though they comprise two-thirds of college and university faculty nationwide, are rendered invisible because so many different words are used to name them, according to Marisa Allison, acting director of research at the New Faculty Majority Foundation and a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at George Mason University.

Marissa Allison, acting research director of New Faculty Majority, presents her research on contigency and women at the AAUW Ohio Equity Day and Convention 2013.

Marisa Allison, acting research director of New Faculty Majority, presents her research on contigency and women at the AAUW Ohio Equity Day and Convention 2013.

Part-timers are called adjuncts, contingent employees, lecturers, non-tenure-track, term, part-time, post-doctoral, teaching assistants, and auxiliary employees. As a result, they exist generally unrecognized and unrepresented within the academy.

The low status of part-time faculty presents them with a number of challenges:

  • unequal compensation
  • lack of job security
  • no academic freedom
  • lack of professional development
  • lack of advancement opportunities
  • little to no benefits

Allison shared data on these issues at two breakout sessions she led on “Women as ‘Professor Staff‘: Gender Inequity in the Academy” at AAUW Ohio Equity Day and Convention, held April 6-7 in Newark, Ohio. She was joined by April Freely, co-chair of the Organizing Committee of the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association.

Inequitable compensation

Allison said that another way that part-time faculty are made invisible is by not addressing the inequitable way they are treated. While nationwide the median pay for tenure track faculty to teach a three-credit course is $6,000, part-time faculty make $2,700. Meanwhile, the median revenue that a three-credit course brings in is $84,000 nationwide, Allison said.

So it should come as no surprise that the number of individuals with advanced degrees who are receiving government aid such as food stamps has increased. Of the 22 million individuals with advanced degrees, 360,000 were receiving public assistance in 2010, she reported. That figure more than doubled between 2007 and 2010.

In addition, part-time faculty often lack access to support services and resources such as copying, office space, computers, telephones, and textbooks.

The demise of the tenure track

The problem will only get worse, Allison said, because the number of tenure track faculty is decreasing, while the number of part-time and non-tenure-track full-time faculty is on the upswing.

“The reliance of universities on contingent faculty is dramatic. They have become the majority of faculty across the United States,” she said.

This is particularly true because tenured faculty are staying on the job longer — 20-plus years — and there is a lack of tenure track jobs. According to Allison, universities are converting tenure track positions to non-tenure-track once a faculty member retires — if the position is filled at all.

The real numbers of contingency

Allison brought her tale close to home — and underlined the discrepancy between the figures universities and colleges publicize and those their institutional research departments compile — by sharing the latest figures from the University of Akron’s Office of Institutional Research.

While UA admits to having 58 percent contingent faculty, UA’s official employee count shows that in 2012, 78 percent of its faculty was actually contingent or non-tenure track, which is above the national average.

That means that just 22 percent of the university’s total faculty on all campuses was full-time tenure track or tenured, according to Allison’s calculations.

She pointed out that 42 administrators and 21 librarians, both groups with faculty rank, are included in the tenure track total. However, both groups may teach occasionally or not at all.

Gender, race and contingency

“While gender and race are generally left out of the conversation, these are important factors

because universities and colleges have more women students and faculty,” noted Allison, whose doctoral research addresses gender inequality in higher education. Her specific focus is the growth of women’s participation in the adjunct and contingent labor force.

She shared the percentages of female students in colleges and universities nationwide during the 2007-2008 academic year:

April Freely of OPTFA  and Marisa Allison of NFMF

April Freely of OPTFA and Marisa Allison of NFMF

  • 62% associate degree programs
  • 57% bachelor’s degree programs
  • 61% master’s degree programs
  • 50% professional degree programs
  • 51% doctoral degree programs

Women make up a large percentage of part-time faculty, so the lack of equity in the higher education workplace hits them hard, Allison said.

At Ohio State University, for example, 35 percent of the faculty is tenured or tenure-track, while 65 percent is contingent. Of the total number of faculty, less than half, or 42 percent, are female. But when it comes to contingent faculty, it is clearly a woman’s world. Females comprise 72 percent of contingent faculty, according to the figures Allison provided.

Contingency and student outcomes

“Our working conditions are student learning conditions,” Allison noted, with pay inequities and poor working conditions affecting students as well as faculty.

Research shows that colleges and universities with a high percentage of contingent faculty have diminished graduation and retention rates, negative affects from early exposure to part-time faculty, and reduced student-faculty interaction. Those institutions also see a decline in graduation rates and lower GPAs, she said.

Allison cautioned that the negative affects on students are not because of the quality of part-time faculty, as “contingent faculty are some of the best and most-beloved faculty on campuses.” But the poor working conditions suffered by part-time faculty make it impossible for them to serve students well.

Adjunct faculty invited to April 13 AURCO Conference at OU Lancaster campus

AURCO 2013 POSTERAdjunct faculty are invited to attend the Association for the University Regional Campuses of Ohio (AURCO) Conference on Saturday, April 13, at Ohio University’s Lancaster campus.

The theme is “Investing in Our Future,” and the conference runs from 8 a.m.-3:45 p.m.

To encourage participation by adjunct faculty, their registration fee has been reduced to $25, from the standard registration of $99 charged to full-time faculty.

The Association for the University Regional Campuses of Ohio (AURCO) and the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association (OPTFA) are co-sponsoring a special track of presentations at this year’s conference to be devoted to the professional interests and concerns of adjunct faculty. To this end, adjunct faculty from Kent State University will be part of a panel discussion from 10 – 11:45 a.m.

Information on the conference registration and available lodging is provided on the AURCO website, along with a draft copy of the conference program.

For presenters staying overnight, there is a 6 – 7 p.m. wine and cheese reception and an arts program on Friday evening.
Overnight accommodations for conference participants are available at nearby hotels at reduced rates.

The Lancaster Campus is located at 1570 Granville Pike, Lancaster, OH 43130.

AURCO was founded in 1993, so this is the 20th anniversary of the organization. Its annual conferences are notable for their friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Kasich’s budget bill would add to faculty workload

If Governor John Kasich’s proposed 2013 budget (HB 59) passes, boards at public institutions of higher education would have the right to modify college faculty workload policy, requiring all full-time faculty to teach an additional course in one of the next two academic years.

The increased workload would then become the “new minimum for faculty members to maintain,” according to a March 4 Inside Higher Ed article, thus allowing boards to ignore workload provisions in faculty union contracts.

The bill, whch includes a number of other provisions related to higher education, still requires approval by both houses of the General Assembly. Republicans control both the Ohio House and Senate.

The Ohio Conference of AAUP has issued a statement against the provision and plans to partner with like-minded organizations to have the offending language removed from the buget.

Locate your state representative or senator to communicate about this issue or any other.

Kent State lecturer let go after creating successful program

Gene Sasso left a longtime career in public relations to take a non-tenure-track teaching position at Kent State University, where he helped create a hugely successful online PR master’s program. It enrolled more than 260 students and generated more than $6 million in revenue, according to a Feb. 26 story in Inside Higher Ed.

Sasso, whose name still appears in the faculty directory, says he was “flabbergasted” when he was told he would not be rehired for the 2013-2014 academic year. He was given no reason.

Faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, led by PR professor Bill Sledzik and backed by the university’s tenure-track unit of AAUP, protested Sasso’s dismissal — to no avail. The school’s director, Thor Wasbotten, ( refused to allow Sasso’s upcoming three-year review to proceed, a move that would have required the university to give a reason for not renewing his contract.

Deborah C. Smith, the grievance and arbitration chair for Kent’s AAUP, said the university erred by not consulting faculty before refusing to renew Sasso’s contract.
The story has attracted attention from The Adjunct Project, which reported that Seth Kahn, a tenured faculty member and adjunct advocate at West Chester University, wrote a letter to Kent State University President Lester Lefton. Kahn “called on KSU either to renew Professor Sasso for another year, or to issue a clear and public explanation for the university’s refusal to do so.”