Rule could limit adjunct load, classes

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Exceeding a two-class limit would mean new retirement contributions by district and part-time faculty members.

By REBECCA SALINAS 

rsalinas191@student.alamo.edu 

Adjunct faculty members teaching more than 7.4 semester hours must make a contribution of 6.4 percent of their compensation to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas beginning in the spring semester.

The Alamo Colleges also must contribute 6.4 percent.

On Sept. 27, President Robert Zeigler sent an email to all faculty members at this college, informing that there are three options.

One option is that this college will limit adjunct faculty to fewer than 7.5 semester hours and hire more adjuncts.

Zeigler said the college is planning an adjunct recruitment fair, but details will be determined later.

The second option is that adjuncts will be able to teach the 7.5 semester hours and the district will pay the retirement contribution. The third idea is that the college will offer fewer classes.

Zeigler said cutting classes will have “long-term negative impacts.”

He said classes would be canceled in extreme circumstances.

Zeigler said Tuesday that he does not like the rule change because it left the college “scrambling.”

He said hiring more adjuncts was not budgeted, so budgets will be tight.

He said the rule might feel “callous” to adjuncts, but the rule applies to colleges across the state and not just this college.

Zeigler also confirmed that the change does not apply to adjuncts who are retired from this college.

The rule also would affect adjuncts after one semester of employment.

On Sept. 26, Chancellor Bruce Leslie encouraged affected faculty to call the human resources benefits team if they have questions about participation or benefits.

Jerry Townsend, Adjunct Faculty Council chair and media communications full-time adjunct, said he is currently researching the issue, but he expects it to affect about 100 adjuncts at this college.

Dr. David Wood, director of institutional research, planning and effectiveness, said there is a total of 468 adjunct faculty members this semester at this college.

Of those, 34 are full-time adjuncts, Wood said.

Townsend said he was informed about the change on Sept. 24, but department chairs learned about it the week before.

Townsend said he thinks the college will not be willing to pay the 6.4 percent, except for adjuncts with qualifications and expertise that is difficult to replace. He said it is unfair if the college picks and chooses who is able to teach the 7.5 or more hours.

Vernell Walker, dean of professional and technical education, said the rule change was a “big surprise.”

“I didn’t think it would be implemented this quickly,” Walker said.

She said the rule change limits the number of classes adjunct professors teach.

“You’re basically limited to two,” Walker said.

Dr. Conrad Kreuger, dean of arts and sciences, said the changes are new so he is still waiting for more information.

He said information will be sent out to chairs and faculty when the administration receives it.

He said he has received emails from adjunct faculty members asking for more information, but he told them he will give them more information once he gets it. “They just have questions, as would anybody,” Kreuger said.

He said he wants people to be patient and wait for information as it comes to them.

Larry Rosinbaum, Faculty Senate chair and business professor, said he does not know much information on it so he does not have a stand.

He said departments will be flexible because some departments will not be able to find adjuncts.

The issue was on the agenda for Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting.

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