Hearing set for June 17 on adjunct faculty bill

MTA higher education members are encouraged to testify at a public hearing June 17 on a bill that seeks to improve working conditions for adjunct faculty while moving community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses toward greater reliance on full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty.

House Bill 1055, An Act to Invest in Higher Education Faculty, is priority legislation for the MTA. The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Higher Education will hold a hearing on the bill beginning at 11 a.m. in Room A-2 at the State House.

“Adjunct faculty members at our public colleges and universities deliver high-quality education under difficult and demanding conditions. Many are poorly paid and have no access to insurance and retirement benefits,” said MTA President Barbara Madeloni. “Schools that rely heavily on adjunct instructors have fewer full-time faculty members available for other campus responsibilities, such as student counseling and department meetings. This bill aims to improve conditions at public colleges and universities for full-time and part-time faculty alike.”

The bill would:

  • Require colleges and universities to pay part-time faculty carrying at least a 50 percent teaching load wages that equal, on pro-rata basis, those paid to full-time faculty.
  • Require pathways to health insurance and retirement benefits for part-time faculty carrying at least a 50 percent teaching load.
  • Take into account the cumulative workload for adjunct faculty members working at multiple public higher education campuses.
  • Require that full-time tenured and tenure-track instructors teach at least 75 percent of the courses at public high education colleges and universities by 2021.
  • Give priority consideration to current part-time faculty seeking full-time tenure-track positions.

Links to an MTA fact sheet on the bill and the bill itself can be found here.

The MTA invites adjunct and full-time faculty members to support the bill with their testimony, which can be given in person at the hearing or submitted in writing.

Testimony should be based on personal experiences. Adjuncts can tell their stories about working conditions, and full-time faculty can explain the problems created when institutions rely so heavily on part-time educators. Testimony should highlight the benefits of the bill to students as well as to faculty.

If you would like to testify in person — or if you have any questions about the hearing or the bill —e-mail MTA lobbyist Julie Johnson at jjohnson@massteacher.org or call her at 617.878.8315. Verbal testimony is limited to three minutes, but written testimony can be any length.

Written testimony can be e-mailed directly to staff contacts for the chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Higher Education Committee, Representative Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland) and Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury).

The contact for Representative Sannicandro is Rosalind.Jordan@mahouse.gov. The contact for Senator Moore is Julia.DelSobral@masenate.gov.