Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost
August 25, 2015
As the new academic year approaches, I write to thank you, our part-time faculty, for being an important part of the LMU community. Your dedication to making the LMU educational experience rigorous and personal is essential for us to deliver on our promise of an excellent whole person education in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions. I also wanted to direct you to a variety of university resources designed to assist you in your work and to update you on the progress we have made together in addressing concerns raised by you and others over the last few years.
At the outset, I am pleased to tell you that, as has been the case for many years, the minimum payment for a course taught by a part-time faculty member is being increased by the same percentage as the full-time Faculty Merit pool adopted by our Board of Trustees. Thus, the minimum part-time faculty compensation per unit is being increased 2% for the coming year. Because LMU compensates part-time faculty by the unit-value of a course, those whose course is being increased from 3-units to 4-units will see an additional increase in the payment for that course.
In addition, I am also pleased to tell you that we have created a special website that contains information of interest to part-time faculty. On this site you will find such things as a resource guide for part-time faculty, information and a link to a number of programs for part-time faculty offered by the Center for Teaching Excellence, recent reports from a variety of working groups, and information about the steps being taken to act on the recommendations that have come from those working group reports.
As you may recall, last October I constituted four working groups to address different initiatives affecting our part-time faculty colleagues, which were identified in the Gerstmann Task Force Report in Spring 2014. The specific initiatives included:
- Determining consistent hiring processes for part-time faculty across the university.
- Presenting a plan on a more formal teaching evaluation process for part-time faculty which I reviewed this summer in order to implement in phases over the next several years.
- Establishing a process to provide full academic year contracts for those part-time faculty who customarily teach in both semesters of every academic year.
- Reviewing, revising, and enhancing the process for promoting longer-term (those who have taught here for multiple years) lecturers to Adjunct Professor status pursuant to the faculty handbook.
- Reviewing, in conjunction with the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Handbook in order to clarify what provisions apply and do not apply to part-time faculty.
Each of the groups worked independently on its assigned initiative(s), and the four groups collaborated collectively as the work of each group affected the work of the other groups. They began their work last Fall semester and submitted their work to me in April. The documents (listed below) generated by the working groups can be found at the bottom of this page, where you also will see the persons who contributed to this excellent work and join me in thanking them. These working groups were populated by generous part-time and full-time faculty as well as administrative staff.
- "Part-time Faculty Recruiting and Hiring".
- "Part-time Faculty Full Academic Year Contracts".
- "Part-time Faculty Teaching Evaluation" and "Phase In Timeline for P-T Teaching Evaluation".
The fourth working group was not able to complete its dual tasks of 1) reviewing the Faculty Handbook to clarify what provisions apply and do not apply to part-time faculty, and 2) reviewing, revising, and enhancing the process for promoting longer-term part-time faculty (lecturers) to Adjunct Professor status pursuant to the Faculty Handbook. This group will continue working on these initiatives this Fall.
Outlined below are the steps we are initiating this Fall 2015 semester to begin implementing the recommendations from these working groups. The working group documents on year-long contracts and teaching evaluations discuss "Lecture I" and "Lecturer II" faculty positions. Such faculty positions do not exist in the current Faculty Handbook. Therefore we currently are not in the position of implementing any working group recommendations involving these faculty positions. Before any such positions could be established they would need to be discussed and vetted with the Faculty Senate and voted upon by the entire faculty. This Fall I will initiate such discussions with the Faculty Senate.
Consistent hiring processes for part-time faculty across the university: Beginning in Fall 2015 all department Chairs and program Directors will follow the Working Group's directives by posting position announcements on the Human Resources (HR) website whenever they seek to hire a part-time faculty person to teach a course. These position announcements will be posted on the HR website for at least seven days and all applications will be reviewed before any hiring decisions are made. We want to be public and transparent to all current and potential part-time faculty members whenever we seek to have a course taught by a part-time faculty person.
Year-long contracts for part-time faculty: For the first time, this past academic year the university offered full academic year contracts to some part-time faculty who taught sections of Rhetorical Arts one semester and worked as writing instructors for sections of the First Year Seminars during the other semester. In November 2015 LMU departments/programs will begin submitting full year course schedules for the following academic year. Therefore in January 2016 we will begin offering full academic year contracts to those part-time faculty in each college/school who will be scheduled to teach courses in both fall and spring semesters of that year.
Evaluating the teaching of part-time faculty: Beginning in the Fall 2015 semester department Chairs and program Directors will provide each part-time faculty member currently teaching at LMU a "Level 1" review as presented in the "Part-time Teaching Evaluation Committee Recommendations" report. During the coming academic year Deans will work with their department Chairs and program Directors to establish guidelines for their college/school on what constitutes an appropriate teaching effectiveness evaluation ("Level 2" review) for each of their part-time faculty members, and clarify during which term(s) that evaluation should be conducted. The Deans will also develop a plan for implementing in their college/school in AY 2016-2017 a more thorough evaluation of the teaching effectiveness of their part-time faculty members. Both the specific college/school teaching effectiveness evaluations and the plans for implementing them will be guided by the recommendations in the report of the Part-time Teaching Evaluation working group, and will incorporate as many of those recommendations as deemed appropriate for that college's or school's disciplines and part-time faculty.
Following the collective working groups' recommendation, this fall I will appoint an additional working group to address part-time faculty concerns about the rehiring process, from one semester to another, and the assignment of additional course(s) to a part-time faculty member already contracted to teach one or more courses in a given semester.
Further, Vice Provost Michael O'Sullivan, who reports directly to me, continues as the University point person for all part-time faculty issues. In each of the colleges and schools, we also have contacts who report directly to their Deans. You are welcome to go directly to Dr. O'Sullivan or to any of the contacts at any time throughout the year as needs arise. These contact persons are:
- College of Business Administration: Renée Florsheim
- College of Fine Arts and Communications: Judy Scalin
- Seaver College of Science and Engineering: Herbert Medina
- Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts: Michael Horan
- School of Film and Television: Johana Hernandez
- School of Education: Mary McCullough
I ask you to join me in thanking these individuals and our many additional colleagues who have worked diligently and collaboratively on these various initiatives. As I think you can see, working together on these key issues has resulted in real progress that will make a positive difference in both your lives and in the lives of our students.
In closing, I also wanted to highlight and congratulate the recipients of our inaugural Part-Time Faculty Distinguished Teaching Awards: Nenad Pervan in Theatre Arts for the Fall 2014 semester and Matthew Gard in Chemistry and Biochemistry for the Spring 2015 semester. Like the rest of you, their professional expertise, energy for teaching, and going the extra mile for our students adds immense value to the education of our students. It is the hallmark of a student-centered Jesuit education.
Please accept my thanks for your role in making LMU a special place for our students and my very best wishes for the new academic year.
Joseph B. Hellige
Executive Vice President and Provost