We held our second negotiations on July 23rd with the Bentley administration’s negotiating committee. The administration responded to all of our previously submitted ‘boilerplate’ proposals. Although we didn’t reach an agreement on any of these proposals, their responses were thoughtful and offered opportunities to narrow our differences. We will offer modifications to our proposals, which will hopefully lead us closer to agreement on many of these items, at our next negotiation session on September 11th.
Next, we presented our proposals for ‘Creating One Faculty’:
- Departmental and University Support for Our Teaching — Bentley should offer similar institutional support to both part-time and full-time faculty. This includes adequate orientation, clerical and technical support, ongoing access to library and email services during terms when we are not teaching, office space and professional development grants.
- Faculty Inclusion — Adjunct faculty have something to offer the University in discussions regarding pedagogy, curriculum and related topics. We should continue to be represented in the Faculty Senate and Faculty Affairs Committee. We should also be allowed to participate in other committees in which our input could improve the educational experience of Bentley students. Many departments invite adjunct faculty to faculty meetings, but not all. We’d like the practice of notifying and inviting adjunct faculty to faculty meetings to be universal and occur across all departments.
- Participation in the Academic Lives of Students — Students are not allowed to access adjunct faculty as advisors in a variety of capacities because as part-time faculty, we are not considered ‘real faculty’ by the administration. Our proposal is to end this distinction which does not benefit students or overburdened full-time faculty and will allow adjuncts to serve as formal mentors and advisors of students, as we have in the past.
- Faculty Recognition and Professional Development — Our proposal is twofold. First, adjunct faculty should be eligible for the Adamian Award for Teaching Excellence and other similar University awards. Second, in addition to other grants, a professional development fund should be created for adjunct faculty’s scholarship, research, and artistic or professional practice. Currency in our respective fields and disciplines informs course content and enhances students’ educational experience. Tufts and Lesley already agreed to similar funds and Bentley should follow suit.
These proposals make sense for Bentley students and faculty, but clearly challenge the existing practices, which have marginalized adjunct faculty and places us in a lower caste. These current practices
evolved without challenge or interrogation. Shifting towards more inclusive treatment of adjunct faculty forces the administration to be open to change that benefits students and aligns Bentley’s practices with its stated mission of commitment to excellence in teaching and learning.
Our next negotiation session is scheduled for Friday, September 11th from 11am-5pm, and we invite all interested adjunct faculty to attend. All other negotiation sessions are tentatively scheduled for 11am-5pm as well.
The Bentley Adjunct Negotiating Committee