When “student success” is the sound ringing like a shrill bell throughout the Alamo Colleges, this retirement incentive sounds like a bit of a contradiction.
As a college district, students, faculty, staff and administrators have been asked to join hands under an umbrella to put students first and do everything possible to facilitate their, well, success.
The board of trustees has approved a retirement incentive to encourage the most experienced faculty to retire, allowing the district to save money by hiring mostly adjunct faculty to replace them.
Faculty are held responsible for student success, so shouldn’t district and college officials do everything they can to encourage long-time faculty to stay?
It stands to reason that full-time, tenured faculty with more years of experience would be better at turning out successful students than new adjuncts who may work full-time elsewhere or teach at multiple colleges to eke out a living.
Obviously, many adjuncts are dedicated and effective teachers. But overall, the college’s commitment to adjuncts is minimal — one-semester contracts, no benefits, a meager paycheck — so it shows how little they value their contributions.
If eligible tenured and tenure-track professors are being encouraged to leave, only to hire adjuncts at a fraction of what they are worth, then what’s going to happen to the education system?
Professors can’t be replaced with a cheaper, under-valued version.
If student success is so important to our administration, they should be facilitating and supporting the folks who have dedicated their lives to teaching.
That’s the path to more student success.