Tag Archive for ACA

NFM President testifies before House committee on ACA effects on adjuncts

Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, testified at the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on “The Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Schools, Colleges, and Universities.”

Maisto was one of four witnesses invited to testify at the Nov. 14 hearing, and the only one whose statement focused on the efforts of colleges and universities to avoid providing health benefits under the Affordable Care Act by cutting the workloads of adjunct faculty.

“Since the ACA has become law, some college and university administrations have been in the news for reducing part-time faculty work assignments or by redefining their work in order to avoid providing insurance.  Some people would have us believe that the ACA is giving the managers of colleges and universities no choice but to enact these policies.  I am here to correct that misperception,” Maisto said.

“It is not the ACA but rather these colleges’ interpretation of and response to the law that is hurting adjuncts and their students. Colleges have lots of choices, and unfortunately for their students, too many have chosen not to support or invest in faculty. The faculty members who do not have access to healthcare — or to the other professional supports that all faculty need in order to do their jobs consistently well — are being set up for failure, as are their millions of students,” she said.

After Maisto’s testimony, committee members from both parties asked probing questions about adjunct faculty working conditions and agreed that adjuncts should have healthcare benefits.

George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democratic member on the committee, said the hearing was the first to cover adjunct issues in any substantial way. He and committee chair John Kline (R-Minn.) agreed a committee hearing should be scheduled to focus on the adjunct situation. Miller also proposed setting up a website to collect adjunct data.

Maisto was invited to testify before the committee after committee staff members read her op-ed, “There’s Something Sneaky Going On At Colleges Across America,” published April 23, 2013, on TakePart.com.

On Wednesday, Maisto also testified at the Department of Education’s open forum on the Obama administration’s plan to address college value and affordability at George Mason University. Deputy Under Secretary Jamienne Studley moderated the forum.

View the Archived Webcast. Read the testimony.

Read coverage in the Chronicle of Higher Education: Lawmakers Told of Health-Care Law’s Harmful Effect on Adjuncts and CollegesNov. 15, 2013

Adjunct faculty hit hard by healthcare mandate

Adjunct faculty are paying a heavy price because colleges and universities are cutting hours to avoid providing benefits under the Affordable Care Act, according to Investor’s Business Daily.Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 2.55.32 PM

A story posted today on the publication’s website says that “cuts in adjunct faculty hours now extend to nearly 200 college and university campuses attended by about 1.6 million students.”

The story also reports that “All over the country, adjunct teaching loads are being limited to nine credit hours — just below the 30-hour threshold at which Affordable Care Act employer penalties hit. That’s the equivalent of nine hours per week in the classroom and 18 hours of work preparing, grading, etc.”

Investors.com has compiled a list of 313 employers that have cut hours to avoid providing health benefits for employees. Among them are 54 colleges and universities.

Here is a list of those located in Ohio. It includes links to sources documenting the cuts, including documents and posts on the OPTFA website.

Ohio colleges and universities that have cut hours for part-time faculty and staff
  1. Sinclair Community College – Public – Reduced hours for part-timers to maximum of 28 per week and cut course loads for adjunct faculty
  2. Cuyahoga Community College – Public – Capped hours for 1,559 part-timers at 20 per week
  3. University of Akron – Public – Cut course loads for part-time faculty
  4. Columbus State Community College – Public – Reduced hours for adjunct faculty and hourly wage earners to fewer than 30 per week
  5. Lakeland Community College – Public – Limited course loads for adjunct faculty
  6. Baldwin-Wallace University – Private – Limited course load of adjunct faculty
  7. Kent State University – Public – Limited course load of adjunct faculty
  8. Lakeland Community College – Public – Limited course loads for adjunct faculty
  9. Bowling Green State University – Public – Capped part-time hours at 24 per week and student work hours at 28
  10. Shawnee State University – Public – Reduced maximum teaching load for adjunct faculty
  11. Stark State College – Public – Capped hours of adjunct faculty at 29 per week
  12. Youngstown State University – Public – Capped hours of part-time employees and adjunct faculty
Ohio colleges and universities that have cut hours for student workers
  1. Bowling Green State University – Public – Capped student work hours at 28


UA has no system in place for requirement that adjuncts track hours

While the University of Akron has put a new requirement into effect that limits the number of hours part-time faculty can work each week, UA has no system in place for monitoring or reporting those hours — and has not indicated when such a system will be implemented.

Neither does its new requirement take into account the extensive amount of time that part-time faculty spend before the term officially begins — preparing syllabi and other course materials; creating online content; answering queries from students; and attending orientation sessions, training, and departmental meetings.

The new requirement, distributed by email via an attached memo from Laura Moss, assistant director of human resources information services at UA, was sent to vice presidents, deans and department heads on Aug. 1.

It reads in part:

Part time faculty members are expected to work no more than twenty-nine hours per week in combination of all assignments at the University of Akron. Two (2) hours of preparation/grading time for each load hour assigned above can be credited toward the 29 hours per week limit.  Weekly hours in excess of 29 must be pre-approved by the department chair or immediate supervisor. Actual hours worked per week must be reported to the department chair or immediate supervisor on a regular basis. Part-time faculty load limits should not exceed eight (8).

This wording is also included on the Personnel Action Form for Part Time Teaching & Summer Session that part-time faculty are required to sign.

UA has limited part-time faculty to eight credit hours per semester in order to avoid providing them with health care, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

No details on how part-time faculty will report work hours

The memo from HR also states that part-time faculty will be required to “begin reporting actual hours worked to their supervisors on November 1, 2013. Additional information on this reporting will be communicated at a later date.”

The memo does not state how that reporting will take place. It does not explain whether part-time faculty will be required to report the “actual hours worked” prior to Nov. 1. And it does not explain what will happen if a part-time faculty member exceeds total allowable hours. For a three-credit course, that limit would be six hours outside the classroom.

Here is a screenshot of this portion of the memo:

hours text

Details on part-time faculty earnings

An attachment that accompanied the memo included a chart stipulating minimum pay per credit hour for part-time faculty teaching in three categories: Assistant Lecturer, Associate Lecturer and Senior Lecturer.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 11.03.07 PM

For more details about the compensation paid to part-time faculty, download the Excel spreadsheet listing all part-time faculty employed during 2012-2013 academic year, with title/status, department or program, number of credits taught and rate of pay. We received the document as the result of a public records request we submitted to UA.

UA “required” hiring guidelines not applied

UA has also established Part-time Faculty Hiring Guidelines that emphasize the “uniformly required, administrative aspects of the [hiring] procedure. Due to the decentralized nature of the process, hiring units have discretion over the size of search/review committees, advertising venues, and use of additional forms and letters to ensure the highest quality employee is hired.”

The components of the hiring process for part-time faculty, which are seldom applied despite their characterization as being “uniformly required,” include:

UA hiring process

UA, “reasonable assurance” and ODJFS

In addition, UA’s human resources department has provided its vice presidents, deans and chairs with a “Reasonable Assurance Memo,” warning them that “failure to give timely reasonable assurance of employment for the next semester can lead to the loss of valued faculty and increased unemployment charges to the department.”

UA’s human resources has also provided a sample memo that chairs and department heads can send to adjuncts in an effort to avoid paying unemployment compensation to part-time faculty who are without work between terms.

UA characterizes the offer of a class for the next term as “reasonable assurance,” despite the fact that the class could be cancelled or reassigned to a full-time faculty member due to lack of enrollment. UA’s characterization — and some Ohio Department of Job and Family Services rulings regarding part-time faculty’s eligibility for unemployment compensation — are contrary to information disseminated by ODJFS. One publication states, “Regardless of whether you are a professional or nonprofessional, if the offer of work is contingent upon sufficient funding or enrollment, you would not have reasonable assurance for the next school year or term.”

UA grad rate

Effects on student success

Meanwhile, adjuncts at UA are concerned about the effect these regulations will have on student learning and student success, particularly since UA has recently received extensive publicity regarding its low four-year graduation rate, which at 14 percent is one of the lowest in the state.

Turnout and media coverage make May Day rally at UA a success


Full-time faculty members at UA came out to support their part-time colleagues. Included among them were Patricia Millhoff at far right.

Today’s May Day Rally for Equity at the University of Akron was a huge success, with about 100 adjuncts, full-time faculty, staff, students and community members coming out to support a living wage & health care for the 70 percent of the faculty who teach 75 percent of general studies courses at UA.

Part-time faculty from UA attended the event, but they were also supported by adjuncts from area institutions such as Youngstown State University, Tri-C, John Carroll, and Lakeland Community College.

Students wonder what they can do

But that’s not all. The sunny skies and balmy temperatures brought hundreds of students outdoors. They milled about the Student Union plaza, stopping to watch, ask questions, collect information and share their thoughts about how their part-time faculty are treated at UA. Many had some familiarity with the inequitable treatment that adjuncts face. And some asked, “What can I do?”

The answer: Contact your university president and other administrators and tell them you want your faculty to be paid20130501_134335 a living wage and provided with health benefits. Contact UA President Dr. Luis Proenza, at proenza@uakron.edu or at 330-972-7074. Contact the UA Board of Trustees at 330-972-7873 or at BoardOffice@uakron.edu. You can also contact Bill Viau, Associate Vice President for Talent Development & Human Resources, at viau@uakron.edu

Media coverage

Today, the Buchtelite ran a story about UA’s $26 million deficit, the plight of part-time faculty and the May Day rally.

The Buchtelite storyCleveland Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal, The Repository / CantonRep.com, and 19 Action News were there to cover the event, so look for their news stories later today or tomorrow.

The Beacon’s story, “UA’s part-time faculty complain about cut in workload,” was already online this afternoon.

More photos

You can also find more photos of today’s rally on the OPTFA Facebook page.

May 2, 2013 Update: Get links to media coverage here.

May Day rallies & The Student Spring

May 1 will mark International Workers’ Day, or May Day, a day of labor action to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which involved the 1886 massacre of on-strike Chicago factory workers.

Since then, thanks to workers, May Day has become an official holiday all over the world. It has also become a movement in which student action has been instrumental.

First we have news about May Day events this year. Following are links to stories about student protests, which we are dubbing The Student Spring in the hope that more will bloom.

May Day Protests: Before and After

May 1 Rally for Equity at University of Akron

In Akron, Ohio, the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association has scheduled a May 1 Rally for rally flyerEquity, 11 am – 2 pm on the plaza between the Student Union and Buchtel Hall on the University of Akron’s main campus. Map. All faculty, staff, students and the public are invited to attend to show solidarity with UA’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. To help us gauge participation, we ask that you complete a confidential participation form.

Read more, including the April 29 Page one story in the Akron Beacon Journal, “Part-time faculty at UA to rally over classroom cuts and its April 28 column by Michael Douglas, editorial page editor, “Failing marks in higher education.”

SUNY New Paltz UUP and Student-Labor Coalition rally together

SUNY New Paltz UUP and Student-Labor Coalition will be launching “May Day $5K” with May-Day-white-background2-231x300rallies at New Paltz and elsewhere as well as collecting signatures for a national campaign to raise the salary and improve the working conditions for the majority of teachers in higher education throughout the country. The campaign, initiated by NFM Board (and founding) Member Peter D.G. Brown, is aimed at the roughly one million part-time adjuncts and full-time lecturers, who comprise the so-called “contingent” academic labor force not on the tenure track. For more information, contact: Peter D.G. Brown, 845-257-2783, peterdg.brown@gmail.com.

Media coverage: Higher pay for adjuncts is goal of SUNY New Paltz protest

New York University May Day

A preview of New York University May Day activities

Cornell University May Day events on Facebook

May Day Events in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N. Mexico

May Day Events held by SEIU (Service Employees International Union)

Workshop on Fighting Austerity: What is Austerity and how do we fight back? A Solidarity Against Austerity May Day Mobilization Lead-Up Event


This event includes a march at 6 p.m. and a workshop from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, in Ottawa, Canada at the University of Ottawa and other locations. Speakers and panelists include: Geoff Bickerton, Yafa Jarrar, Jen Moore, Ben Powless, Donald Swartz. Read more.

Adjuncts File State Complaint Over Limits on Hours

On Monday, the adjunct union at Kalamazoo Valley Community College challenged a policy setting limits on adjunct hours due to the Affordable Care Act. The union filed a grievance with Michigan officials. Read more at Inside Higher Ed and at MLive. On Tuesday, adjuncts were expected to protest at the college.

Adjunct professors protest limit on work related to health care law

New Hampshire adjunct professors protested course load limits in response to the Affordable Care Act. Read more.

Capilano University instructors & students protest program cuts

Students and faculty at Capilano University’s studio art program used the April 27 graduation to protest the university’s decision to cut the program. Read more.

Anonymous Global Day of Resistance

Anonymous calls People in the World for Global Day Of Resistance 1st May 2013 and issued a Press Release.


Occupy Wall Street Mayday 2013

Groups from around New York City are coming together this May Day to stand up for worker rights and immigrant rights, and fight back against the 1 percent. Join labor unions, the May 1st Coalition, immigrant rights groups, Occupy Wall Street and student groups as they come together and say Another World Is Possible! Find out more.

Click below for more information on May Day events in the following cities, courtesy of MSN.com:

New York City
Los Angeles
San Francisco

The Student Spring: Protests Bloom

Peaceful protest decries closing of UA Office of Multicultural Development. April 23, 2013. University of Akron students protest UA’s decision to eliminate the Office of Multicultural Development next fall.

OU students disrupt Trustees meeting. April 19, 2013. Raw video of Ohio University students protesting a tuition hike.

NC Student Power Union plans May-Day march. April 25, 2013. The North Carolina Student Power Union, a group founded by college students across the state, will lead a protest on May 1st criticizing Pat McCrory’s proposed budget, which recommends over $140 million in cuts to the UNC System, among other measures.

Gruesome Demonstration Protests UC Regents’ “Silencing” of Students. April 25, 2013. Students occupied an area in the Arbor, protesting the University’s ongoing disconnect with UC students.

Students protest at Culinary Institute. April 23, 2013. About 90 students at the Culinary Institute of America walked out of classes Tuesday to protest what they called a weakening enforcement of educational standards.

Proposed U. parking garage spurring student protest. April 24, 2013. A proposed $6 million parking garage could mean major parking help at the University of Utah. But some students say the garage would ruin another multimillion dollar university facility that’s less than five years old.

Protesters push past staff, students into Dimensions show. April 22, 2013. Students at Dartmouth College protest recent incidents of homophobia, sexual assault and racism on campus.

CPS protests: Students reject tests, charter school backers want equal funding. April 24, 2013. Chicago Public School students protest standardized testing.

UA limits part-timers to 8-credit workload, BJ reports

UA limiting part-time hours to avoid health-care costs, may boost workload of others

By Carol Biliczky
Beacon Journal staff writer

Published: April 5, 2013 – 11:50 PM

A budget deficit and fear of rising costs under the Affordable Care Act are prompting the University of Akron to limit the number of hours that part-time faculty can teach. Read the full story.