May 11, 2011

Just Ask! 4 important questions to ask when choosing a college - AFT Brochure

Source: AFT

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It’s one of the secrets the glossy college and university catalogs and campus tour guides don’t tell you: Colleges and universities are investing less and less in the educators who are crucial to a student’s success. In fact, at most colleges today, it’s more than likely that students will be taught by an instructor who doesn’t have a permanent position on the faculty. Most of these professionals work part time, are poorly compensated and lack basic professional support such as suitable office space to meet with their students. Want to know more?

“Just Ask” a college representative these questions and get the real story:

1. How likely is it that a first- or second year student at your institution will be taught by full-time, permanent faculty members?

2. What percentage of undergraduate classes and discussion sections are taught by part-time faculty and graduate assistants?

3. How much do part-time faculty make per course at your institution?

4. Are part-time faculty required to hold office hours? Do they get paid to do so, and are they provided suitable office space to meet with students?

Why Does This Matter?

College representatives might try to answer your questions by saying their part-time or full-time temporary faculty only teach specialized classes and bring a real-world perspective to the classroom. Or, they might justify temporary faculty’s very low salaries by saying the salaries are for teaching only three hours a week—which is far from the truth, considering the class preparation and grading time necessary.

Don’t accept easy answers.

The truth is, instructors who aren’t permanent employees not only make up the majority of the higher education teaching force, but are teaching most of the classes and are teaching across all disciplines, including most core introductory courses. These faculty are great teachers, but they cannot do their best work under the conditions they face today. After all, faculty members’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions. That’s why we urge you to ask college representatives what is really happening with faculty staffing on their campuses. Students and faculty deserve better.

Download tri-fold brochure (pdf)

About FACE:

The American Federation of Teachers launched the Faculty and College Excellence (FACE) campaign to achieve equity for nonpermanent faculty and to advocate for more full-time permanent faculty. Ensure that you, your child or your grandchild will get the college education students deserve: Just Ask!