One Course Without Pay

From Inside Higher Ed:

When it comes to first-year writing courses, how many sections are too many for one instructor to teach? Full-time, non-tenure-track faculty members at Arizona State University say five per semester, and they’re protesting their department’s plan to increase their teaching load to that number (up from four) each term, starting next fall. They say they’re worried the service work they’ll give up in exchange for the extra course won’t be taken up by tenure-line faculty, and that they won’t be able to give needy students the same level of attention.

In effect, the university has just increased instructors' teaching workload by 25 percent, without offering an extra dollar for the effort.

Faculty advocates agree that the planned course load is too much, and that it’s another example of an institution asking some of its most vulnerable faculty members to do more with less.

Arizona State, meanwhile, says the change is necessary to address a budget shortfall.

“This is bad idea because, No. 1, instructors already do a ton of work,” said a long-term instructor of first-year writing at Arizona State who moderates a website and petition protesting the university’s plan. “We also provide valuable service to the [English] department and the writing program, which is one of the largest in the nation.”

The instructor, who asked that her name not be used due to concerns about job security, added: “Further disenfranchising faculty from the department and the university makes this one a hard sell.”

Last week, all 60 instructors – meaning full-time, non-tenure-track professors – in Arizona State’s English department received an email from their chair, Mark Lussier, inviting them to a meeting tomorrow to discuss “the financial situation within the department and the need to move to a five-five teaching load beginning in the next academic year.”

Read the full story here.