The University of Akron has established Part-time Faculty Hiring Guidelines, but admits that it does not follow them. This is the case even though the university says this hiring procedure is “uniformly required” for low-paid adjuncts, who make up roughly 70 percent of UA’s faculty.
The guidelines require that, “Prior to the beginning of each semester, the hiring unit/department should establish a part time faculty hiring committee. The goal of the committee is to complete the hiring of new part time faculty in the month prior to the start of each semester. Expediting the hiring of part time faculty employees, will allow the faculty members the opportunity to familiarize themselves with campus, to obtain necessary access to university provided services (i.e. PeopleSoft access, University ID, etc) and to receive prompt pay.”
In a Sept. 26, 2013, public records request, we asked for “Documents listing the members of part time/adjunct/contingent faculty hiring committees formed by departments/units within the College of Arts and Sciences who hired part-time faculty for fall term 2013, as required by the institution’s ‘Part- time Faculty Hiring Guidelines.'”
UA responded with an admission that it does not have documents that indicate compliance with this hiring guideline.
According to an Oct. 9, 2013, response from Scott M. Campbell, UA’s associate counsel, “I have contacted the two departments within the College of Arts and Sciences that have the most part time faculty to gather any responsive records – Communications and English. There are no responsive documents to your request. While there is a committee and/or involvement from various staff members that will review the hiring of part time faculty, there are no responsive documents.”
We doubt that any such hiring committees exist when an institution as large as UA cannot provide paperwork to document them.
The guidelines also state that “A well-documented screening process will aid the institution in defending a decision that is scrutinized by regulatory agencies or individuals who challenge the legitimacy of the process. Your committee may want to develop a screening checklist or screening matrix to document each applicant’s qualifications.”
In our Sept. 26, 2013, request, we also asked for “screening checklists or screening matrix, prepared as part of the screening process used by the College of Arts and Sciences hiring committees for part time/adjunct/contingent faculty for fall term 2013, as required by the institution’s “Part-time Faculty Hiring Guidelines.”
Campbell responded that the university had no documents to show that the Department of English and the School of Communication, comply with that guideline. He wrote: “I have contacted the two departments within the College of Arts and Sciences that have the most part time faculty to gather any responsive records – Communications and English. There are no responsive documents to your request.”
The components of the hiring process for part-time faculty, include: