Rutgers University Senate
Report of the Governance Committee
Consideration of Representation in the Senate for Part-time Lecturers

Unnumbered Charge: Representation of Part-Time Lecturers in the Senate.

The University Structure and Governance Committee has been charged with determining whether part-time lecturers (PTLs) should have representation on the University Senate, and if so, how their representation should be implemented. (This was introduced on the floor of the Senate at the April 23, 1999 meeting and referred back to committee for further consideration). Background: Part-time lecturers are individuals who are hired to teach on a per-course basis, and who do not hold annual appointments; their positions are not tenure-track. At Rutgers University for the period 1987-97, 31.6% of instructional units were taught by PTLs or other non-tenure-track faculty (mostly full- or part-time annuals), with the greatest percentage of instructional units (26.6%) being taught by PTLs. PTLs and annuals may be hired for a variety of reasons: they may staff courses that departments do not have enough faculty to cover; they may provide coverage for tenure track faculty on leave; or they may provide special expertise, for example, in special courses in journalism, business or clinical fields.

The range of individuals hired as PTLs is correspondingly diverse. Some are employed full-time outside of academics, and teach a course in their area of expertise because they are interested. Some are Rutgers graduate students who cannot obtain fellowship or teaching assistance support, and some are individuals from outside the university who may derive a significant part of their income from PTL assignments, often at more than one educational institution. Although this diversity of backgrounds and roles makes this a diverse population, together they constitute an important part of the instructional staff of this university, and they bring a variety of experiences and expertises to Rutgers. Despite their important role in undergraduate education, PTLs and annuals are often not well-integrated into the life and structure of the university. PTLs and annuals seldom attend regular faculty meetings, serve on university committees, or even have their own office or phone. All of these factors may make PTLs and annuals feel as though they are not a true part of the university community, despite their important role in undergraduate education. This disconnect was a major focus in our committee discussions.

A resolution to include PTLs on the Senate was introduced at the University Senate meeting on April 23, 1999, but was returned to the Governance Committee for reconsideration and clarification. Since then, the Committee discussed the issue at several of its meetings, including a meeting on January 19, 2001 at which several PTLs were present. The committee members felt that the educational mission of the university would be better served if PTLs and annuals were more integrated into the overall University structure.

We recognize that some PTLs and annuals may not wish to be involved in activities beyond their teaching; but several PTLs to whom we spoke, many of whom have taught at Rutgers for years, were interested and willing to become more involved in university activities. Many of these PTLs and annuals have a unique perspective to bring, and we felt that the University would be well served by increasing their role. It is for this reason that the committee agreed that PTLs and annuals should be represented on the University Senate.

The nature of the representation was in many ways a more difficult issue, given the diversity and fluid nature of the PTL and annuals population. We agreed that it was not desirable to have voting members of the Senate who might have severed their ties to the University, and therefore limited the term to one year, rather than three as for other faculty senators. We also felt that representatives should have had some longer-term experience with the University, and therefore restricted representation to those employed at least three semesters over a span of three years (some long-term PTLs teach one course a year, but return to teach it every year). Because PTLs and annuals are hired through many departments, the committee felt that a university-wide election process would have to be carried out through the Senate office, preferably via e-mail or on-line balloting. Based on the outcome of these discussions, the Committee developed the following resolution to be forwarded to the University Senate.

Resolution on Representation of Part-time lecturers in the University Senate

Whereas, part-time lecturers (PTLs) and annuals teach a significant percentage of undergraduate courses at Rutgers University, and

Whereas, PTLs and annuals have expertise and experience that adds a major dimension to the teaching programs of the University, and

Whereas, PTLs and annuals often have little formal interaction with their teaching colleagues at the University, and

Whereas, PTLs and annuals are not presently represented in the University Senate,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Senate asks the Board of Governors to amend the Senate's enabling regulations to entitle part-time lecturers and annuals to one Senator from each of our three campuses, to be elected annually, and

Be it further resolved that the initial elections be conducted by the University Senate by notifying all part-time lecturers and annuals that elections will be held, by indicating that PTLs and annuals who have taught at the University for at least three semesters during the last three years are eligible to serve, by asking whether they choose to be on the ballot, and by conducting the elections, and

Be it further resolved that the PTL and annual representatives on the University Senate will be responsible for communicating with their constituents to ensure that issues important to them are addressed.