Bill Introduced to End Two-Tier Faculty System in Colorado’s Community Colleges
A bill to end the two-tier faculty system, aka “adjunctification,” in Colorado’s community colleges has been submitted for consideration by the 2015 Colorado State Legislature. Senator John Kefalas and Representative Joe Salazar are sponsoring SB15-094, “A Bill for an Act Concerning Community College Faculty.”
The bill requires Colorado’s community colleges “to classify as faculty all employees with teaching responsibilities, including part-time teaching responsibilities. Once classified as faculty, the employees will have the same responsibilities, benefits, and freedoms of regular faculty.” If passed, the bill would make Colorado the first state in the Union to make the two-tier system illegal.
Colorado Representative Joseph Salazar
The two-tier system allows colleges to maintain a core of full-time faculty who receive benefits and fair compensation while employing a large number of instructors who receive no benefits and are poorly compensated. Instructors in the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), commonly referred to as “adjuncts,” are not permitted to teach enough classes during any one semester at any one college to qualify for inclusion on the employer health, dental, or life insurance plans. Though they may teach as many classes over the course of an academic year as their full-time colleagues, they are regarded as part-time. They teach 72% of the classes in the CCCS, are as educated and experienced as their full-time colleagues, yet they receive roughly one-third of a full-time faculty member’s compensation per credit hour taught.
CCCS instructors have little to no representation in their faculty governments, few opportunities for professional development, and no access to due process or a grievance procedure if they have been unfairly dismissed, no matter how long they have served the college. Needless to say, these conditions cast a chill on the exercise of academic freedom at the community colleges. Nonetheless, instructors at four of the community colleges have formed AAUP chapters: Front Range Community College, Community College of Denver, Community College of Aurora, and Red Rocks Community College. Full-time faculty have joined their instructor colleagues in the AAUP chapter at the Community College of Denver.
Thanks to Senator Kefalas and Representative Salazar for recognizing that students are best served by a stable, fairly compensated, full-time faculty who are able to concentrate on teaching, mentoring, and advising students. Education is a public good, and when students are receiving the best possible education, all of the citizens of Colorado reap the benefits.
SB15-094 will be heard by the Senate Veterans, Military and State Affairs Committee on Monday, January 26, 2015. Committee members are Ray Scott (R), Jerry Sonnenberg (R), Owen Hill (R), Matt Jones (D), and Jessie Ulibarri(D).
Read more about the Colorado Conference of the AAUP’s efforts to end the two-tier faculty system here.
- Proposal for a United Faculty at Colorado’s Community Colleges
- Colorado Community College Faculty Bill of Rights
- Results of the 2014 Colorado AAUP Survey of Adjunct Faculty