In the spring, adjunct faculty members teaching more than 7.4 semester hours must contribute 6.4 percent of their compensation to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. The district must also contribute 6.4 percent, according to information from district and college officials.
Vernell Walker, dean of professional and teaching education, called the rule a “big surprise.”
According to an email sent to all faculty members Sept. 27, President Robert Zeigler said there are three options. The college could limit adjuncts to teach fewer than 7.5 semester hours and hire more adjuncts, allow them to teach the 7.5 hours and the district could contribute to their retirement, or offer fewer classes.
Zeigler said cutting classes would have “long-term negative impacts.”
Oftentimes the best adjuncts are asked to teach more hours because they’re good at what they do and enjoy doing it.
A reduction in faculty could mean that certain classes would be offered only once a year, extending the time it takes for students to complete degree plans at the colleges.
Instead of considering cutting corners, the district should consider the quality of students’ education.
District officials shouldn’t reduce the number of classes adjuncts teach now to avoid paying them 6.4 percent more.
After all, isn’t the district always talking about improving student success and retention?