Adjunct Task Force – Update from the Dean

To the VCUarts Community,

Thank you to Sarah Cunningham, Executive Director for Research, for leading the adjunct faculty task force and for all of the faculty members who committed their time to this work.

The task force’s initial report is now with the Provost’s office for review and we expect it to be released before the end of this semester. There are several recommendations within the report that may be implemented at the school level and other recommendations that have implications for the wider-university. The Provost wants to take some time to consider the university-wide recommendations and to see which of them might be moved forward.

VCU knows that faculty compensation of all types—adjunct, Teaching and Research, etc.—is below the average of that of our peers and fellow state tier 3 institutions. The administration is working through the budget process to improve that. Right now, they are working on another increase to the adjunct minimum per credit hour rate—raising the minimum to $1,100 per credit hour. This will have to be included in the FY20 budget proposal and approved by the Board of Visitors. The university is also looking into providing rate increases to adjuncts when merit increases occur for full-time faculty.

Departments may, and do, pay adjuncts above this minimum rate, depending on what their budgets and the market will bear. In the School of the Arts, our adjuncts, on average, currently make $1,149 per credit hour.

In the school, we are making some changes to be more inclusive and supportive of our adjunct faculty:

  1. We have launched a web page with resources—this includes links on how to apply for research funds, how adjunct faculty may continue their education with a tuition waiver, and other benefits that VCU and the School of the Arts provide specifically for adjunct faculty. It can be accessed at https://arts.vcu.edu/adjunct-faculty-resources-and-support/
  2. We now have an Annual Distinguished Adjunct Award, which recognizes a stellar member of the adjunct faculty for their contribution to the mission of our school.
  3. We are committed to providing more communications through the adjunct faculty listserv, including monthly reminders about grant opportunities.
  4. We will provide two research development workshops each year through the Arts Research Institute.
  5. We will provide an annual juried exhibition of adjunct artwork at the Anderson.
  6. In the Fall of 2019, we begin paid adjunct faculty orientation. This will include relevant information about VCU Safety, Title IX, Students with Disabilities and University Counseling Services, and will provide a forum for adjunct faculty to network with one another.

These supports are in addition to the resources we already provide, which include grants for research, creative work, and professional development; individual research coaching through the Arts Research Institute; access to library resources; professional development through ALT-Lab workshops or Technology Services workshops; and meeting and office space in the Academic Learning Commons.

Our adjuncts are vital members of our VCUarts learning community. I look forward to continuing to work together to help deliver the highest quality instruction to our students.

Warm regards,
Shawn

Date:

October 25, 2018