Adjunct faculty address concerns

By on October 5, 2005

Adjunct professors encompass roughly 60 percent of the professors at Quinnipiac. An estimated 575 are adjunct versus 275 full-time professors. Even as the majority, adjuncts do not receive fair treatment.

“From the full-time faculties perspective, the biggest problem we have with the large number of adjuncts is that we wish they were full-time so that they had a larger stake in the future of the university and the education of our students and that they felt the University was making some commitment to them,” said Cornelius Nelan, associate professor of mathematics and former Faculty Senate chair.

Nelan was awarded the James Marshall Award for Service to the Quinnipiac Community in the spring of 2005.

“Our adjuncts express appreciation for the support that our department provides, but also express concerns that the university does not provide adequate “office” and meeting space,” said Mary Lesser, adjunct professor of sociology. “For a university so dependent upon adjunct faculty there is definitely a feeling that more space must be provided.”

Adjuncts are given a small, public office located upstairs in the library, while those that are employed full time have offices in their respective colleges. There is also a adjunct faculty room in the College of Liberal Arts. The glass room makes it difficult for professors to have conversations with faculty and meet privately with students.

“I wonder how students feel about having to meet in hallways with their faculty,” Lesser said.

The faculty dining lounge is often a place where adjuncts are forced to meet to do work and converse.

“The faculty dining room is our only place to relax in privacy and socialize with fellow faculty. But often the mood is ruined when the door that leads into the kitchen is left open. There is no spring to it and the banging and yelling in the kitchen is loudly heard in our dining area,” said Carolyn Nuzzi, adjunct assistant professor of the visual and performing arts department.

The small room of contrasting colors is home to dilapidated chairs, old carpeting, and a family of flies.

“Doesn’t the faculty rate, too? The student seating area of the cafeteria was renovated in the summer of 2004. We are still waiting to have the worn and dirty chairs and carpet replaced. There also is wallpaper pealing and an infestation of flies which have been around for almost three semesters,” Nuzzi said.

In Jan. 2004, an adjunct faculty survey was distributed to adjunct professors by the Faculty Senate. According to the Quinnipiac Web site, “Quinnipiac University is a community concerned with the creation, preservation, and transmission of knowledge. The Faculty Senate and its committees represent the faculty in the accomplishment of these objectives.” The number surveyed was 442, with a response of 296 professors. The questionnaire addressed the above gripes of adjuncts. The results, containing summaries and possible solutions, were recently distributed amongst the faculty.

Parking, a major adjunct grievance, was addressed in the results. “The parking situation is a university-wide issue that lacks a quick solution. In a recent presentation by the Director of Facilities to the Faculty Senate, he acknowledged that parking has not expanded in recent years,” the packet stated. “The university has undertaken several strategies to improve parking on campus such as banning freshman cars from campus, using satellite parking for resident students. The Director of Facilities said that his staff will continue to explore additional ways of managing parking [they are] in the process of looking at the cost and feasibility of adding additional spaces on the main campus.”

Contradictory to this statement, however, South Lot was renovated this summer complete with a brick path and the removal of 15 parking spaces. The faculty was allegedly given no warning of the renovations. This increases the difficulty of faculty parking, especially for adjuncts due to scheduling. Along with South Lot, the faculty parking area in North Lot is often full by the time adjuncts have class. This leaves faculty to park on the grass on New Road, which is considered a violation by the Hamden police.

“Most adjuncts show up for one or two classes and then have to leave to go to other jobs. We owe them parking which is reliable and convenient,” Nelan said.

The Faculty Senate will hold a meeting on Oct. 25 to address these concerns among others.


About Lisa Odierno