Monthly Archives: November 2005

Article XXV: Ratio of Full-Time to Part-Time Faculty

A few points regarding the full-time/part-time faculty ratio:

1) The UFCT does not hire faculty, appoint faculty or determine a faculty ratio. We are not the employer.

2) The UFCT protects and defends the faculty (and its contract) and fights like hell to establish minimums and “floors” that are reasonable, realistic, attainable and sustainable — minimums that help thwart management’s bottom-line approach, which often has nothing to do with “academics,” equity and/or fairness to the faculty.

3) A minimum is just that. The UFCT encourages the Administration to exercise their managerial rights by: a.) compensating the faculty at rates higher than minimums; and b.) reaching for a full-time/part-time faculty ratio that is higher than the minimum.

4) The UFCT has not agreed to “reduce” the FT/PT minimum from 20FT/80PT to 15FT/85PT. This is a false assertion. The CBA’s article XXV: ‘FT: PT Faculty Ratio’ has existed since the Union’s inception in 1972. In today’s anti-collective bargaining climate, this is a rare article indeed.

5) Simply put, article XXV is anathema to the Pratt Administration. From their strict managerial perspective, faculty ratios are “academic” matters (code for “administrative”), have no place in a collective bargaining agreement and thus, neither a condition nor an issue of employment.

6) Pratt has not been a 20% full-time to 80% part-time ratio school since 1993! Pratt has not “ostensibly agree[d] to do away with 35 to 40 positions” (as if there was ever a predetermined/requisite number of or quota for full-time positions).

7) Institutionally and operationally, there is a direct cause and effect for Pratt when there is a shortage of full-time faculty positions. Why does Pratt not have a sufficient number of full-time positions?

8) In a survey conducted a few years back, chairpersons (as a whole) were rather tepid in responding to the need for additional full-time positions. Without departmental demand, the administration will see no institutional need nor have any incentive to create additional “tenure-track appointments.”

9) NASAD and Middle States do not impose a faculty ratio (ideal or otherwise) on schools being reviewed for reaccreditation. Ask yourself, why does Parsons School of Design pass reaccreditation with flying colors and in record time when its faculty is less than 10% full-time?

10) “Flexibility” (in deference to college administrations) is the gold standard (modus-operandi) in accreditation circles re: faculty ratios. In short, nobody but the faculty actually cares about this faculty issue.

11) For a peak period in the late seventies/early eighties, Pratt was a 32% FT/68% PT faculty school. As a private, professional, art & design school and because of who it is who teaches at Pratt (working professionals/practitioners) the Institute has always been a vast majority part-time school.

12) The exploitation of “adjunct” and other part-time faculty is the national norm, even within the public sector, where public colleges and universities are now majority part-time faculty institutions as well.

13) When I was first elected UFCT President in fall 2003, Pratt’s faculty ratio was: 12% full-time to 88% part-time. In fall 2003, I filed a grievance on the FT/PT Ratio. (The Administration had been in violation of article XXV for over five years!)

14) Today, Pratt’s faculty ratio is 15%FT/85%PT. Not good enough (in my opinion) but trending in the right direction.

15) I would imagine that in the near future, the Provost or President will gladly announce the promising prospects for many “new” full-time tenure-track positions (going through the budget process as we speak) — searches that are scheduled to commence this academic year.

16) During negotiations, the Administration was quite aggressive in insisting that article XXV be completely stricken from the CBA (no ifs, ands or buts!) I’m glad to say they were unsuccessful. What would the implications have been for the faculty had the Administration prevailed?

17) The so-called “new metric” or “credit count” for determining a faculty ratio is completely inapplicable to the operations of the CBA. Anyone still enamored of this “fourth way” can amuse themselves, but it is completely irrelevant to a full head count which is enumerated in the contract and the only legal means for establishing a FT/PT Ratio. (If the Administration is not in compliance with the head count in the contract, the UFCT will file a grievance forthright.)

18) Parenthetically, the faculty ratio not often discussed (but just as important as the aforementioned) is the faculty ratio between adjunct and visiting. At present, there are 250 adjuncts and roughly 510 visitors. This is roughly a 1:2 ratio: 33% adjunct to 66% visiting. (As more visitors are granted adjunct status change and fully loaded at 75% of the full-load, this fissure is becoming less problematic — a good thing for the faculty and the Institute as a whole.)

19) Moreover, the single biggest contributing factor to our lopsided faculty ratios is not just the overall number of visiting faculty (a management driven misuse of the faculty “majority”) but the subsequent “under loading” of this majority who can teach 50% of a full-load (roughly two three-contact hour courses per semester).

20) A staggering sixty percent (down from 70% last year) of current visitors (303) teach just three-contact hours (or less) per semester. Imagine if one half, or say, one-hundred and fifty of these underloaded visitors were loaded at 50% — what would happen? 303 would be reduced to 153, in turn reducing the total number of visitors to 360, which would bring the part-time total down to 610. With a current total of 137 full-timers, a 137/610 faculty split would translate to a ratio of about: 18% full-time to 82% part-time. And, that’s without creating any additional full-time positions! Parlay that with additional full-time positions and Pratt Institute can easily be a 20%FT/80%PT or 25%FT/75%PT faculty ratio school in less than a year!

If there is the will (which does start with department heads and chairpersons demanding additional full-time positions from the upper administration) there is always a way to attain and sustain an equitable and reasonable full-time/part-time faculty ratio.

This first requires dignity and respect for all faculty members irrespective of their status: visiting, adjunct, adjunct w/CCE, full-time (tenure-track), full-time tenured. Wherein, visitors who “pass the audition” are granted adjunct status change within a realistic time period, where adjuncts – who are deemed professionally competent and have satisfied the five-year probationary period are granted the CCE, wherein the tried and true (and sufficiently vetted) part-timer who applies for a full-time position is actually weighed within a truly “open search” process and where there is true support and respect for a full-time faculty tenure track.

Pratt’s faculty demonstrates its excellence every day. The difference between the average part-timer and average full-timer is not professional competence and/or teaching effectiveness (or contributions to the academic community for that matter) it is the number of courses each teaches.

Faculty ratios are most assuredly issues and conditions of employment.