Evolution of an adjunct – the lengthy process for adjuncts to achieve full-time status

Phoenix Webb

Note from the editor: This is the third in a series of three stories about the gap in wages and facilities access between adjunct and full-time instructors. For the previous stories in the series see the first and second installment.

During San Diego Campus Equity Week in October adjunct professors raised awareness about the issues facing adjuncts. This summer, three instructors at City College who sought to change their statuses from adjunct to full-time.

Arnie Schoenberg, an anthropology instructor; Lisa Chaddock, a geography instructor and Lacy Dorman, a political science instructor.

Each instructor had the opportunity to apply for full-time employment as City College staff and each completed the applications.

Dorman was hired for a full-time position – as a union organizer for the American Federation of Teachers Guild at University of California San Diego.

Schoenberg was not offered full-time employment at City College. He stated he believes it may have been due to an error he may have made in his application.

Chaddock was offered and accepted her current position as geography instructor in the Science department at City College. She began the fall semester with an office and a full schedule of classes.

“The school advertises, for a full-time position, anyone who wants that position applies, the application has a number of questions that have to be answered in a essay format, so my application was about 19 pages long,” Chaddock explained describing the full-time instructor application process.

Once the applications are received, school administration selects the applicants with the most desired qualifications and calls each applicant to offer an interview.

“So the second phase is that interview – you interview by a committee. They are not allowed to show any emotion at all. They just ask questions and write down your answers and they give you the questions and you’re allowed to write down notes, but they take that sheet as well. You don’t get to leave with the questions unless they’re in your head,” Chaddock said.

Part of the interview includes the applicant demonstrating their teaching skills for a strict 15 minutes. Chaddock explaind the method behind this is to show they can manage class time efficiently and that they are proficient in their academic subject.

She continued her explanation, “After that, that team that has interviewed you they meet and discuss who they want to put forward, the dean looks at everything he or she gets to put forward a candidate so that you get a pool of maybe three or four candidates that make it to the final interview with the president, vice president, the chair of the department and the dean and that’s a less formal interview.”

According to Chaddock, the purpose of this interview is, “They’re looking for a bigger holistic picture of what you would do, what you would contribute, not only as a teacher but part of what’s called shared governance because the full-time faculty especially are responsible for sharing the lead of running the school.”

Chaddock and Schoenberg both stated that full-time faculty members are required to be on at least one committee.

“I’m on the AFT board, I’m on the academic senate, I have a student club. They’re looking for someone to fill this other part, this other 10 hours a week that you’re doing,” Chaddock said.

“After the second interview you wait for them to call you and if they call you, it means you got the job. If they don’t call you and they send you an email, that means you didn’t get the job,” Chaddock explained about the end of the application journey.

Chaddock applied at City College once before during the spring semester. At that time the minimum qualifications called for a masters in geology and a masters in geography because “the last person eight years ago to hold this position held a consolidated position because he could do both.”

By the time she reapplied for full-time, San Diego Community College District realized people are not holding dual degrees in geology and geography, so the district separated the two fields and City College chose to hire for geography first due to the amount of classes that are offered in that subject.

With Equity Week already passed adjuncts like Chaddock, Schoenberg and Dorman still strive to pass along information about the problems adjuncts face such as not being paid equitably or not being guaranteed classes even with priority of assignment.