Northern Essex president announces hiring plan

Shortly after the Legislature approved increased funding for community colleges and the MTA released “Reverse the Course,” the president of Northern Essex Community College told the staff at his college that he is planning to hire 12 new full-time faculty members.

Lane GlennLane Glenn, president of NECC, described his own experiences as an underpaid adjunct in an e-mail sent to staff on July 25. Glenn regularly sends e-mails to college employees with updates and his own reflections on campus policies and practices.

“Without a doubt, the life of an adjunct instructor in higher education can be challenging, frustrating and downright unfair,” he wrote. “And a new report, issued last week by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, suggests that by relying more and more on adjuncts, the state’s community colleges are not doing all they canto improve student graduation and success rates.”

Glenn (pictured) went on to write, “The MTA does not suggest that adjunct instructors lack credentials or skills. Anyone who is around a community college campus long enough quickly recognizes that part-time faculty regularly come with the same credentials as full-time faculty, often have significant work experience, and can be truly talented teachers in the classroom.

“Without a doubt, the life of an adjunct instructor in higher education can be challenging, frustrating and downright unfair.”

- NECC President Lane Glenn

“However, the report rightly notes what I experienced during my days as a ‘Road Scholar': There is only so much time in a day, and when you are not paid for what you do outside the classroom, or given the space and tools you need to advise students, develop new curriculum or participate in professional development activities, you are far more likely to spend the time you have doing other things — like earning a living (and not getting sick while waiting for health care benefits).”

With NECC’s share of new state funds, Glenn wrote, the college will be running national searches for 12 new full-time faculty members.

Joseph LeBlanc, a member of the NECC faculty and president of the MTA’s Massachusetts Community College Council, said he welcomed Glenn’s thoughtful reflections, his kind words about the MTA report and his pledge to hire more full-time faculty members. In a letter to Glenn, however, LeBlanc did make one request.

“[W]hile the college’s search may be national in scope, I would urge you to also cast your gaze close to home,” LeBlanc wrote on July 31. “As you and your administrators are no doubt aware, world-class faculty currently work as adjuncts here at Northern Essex. Many of those individuals have already made a positive contribution to our community and would love nothing more than the opportunity to do so on a full-time basis.”

Read more about Reverse the Curse in the Summer 2013 issue of MTA Today. Click here to download the report.