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February 2016

 

Adjunct update: NORA, bumping, professional development funding
Cynthia Eaton

 

domino
The practice of bottom bumping was negotiated by the college and the FA in the 1970s to avoid the "domino effect" of multiple faculty bumping other faculty. (photo by Cynthia Eaton)

As I do each year, I presented at the college's adjunct orientation on January 14. This was, by far, the smallest group of newly hired adjuncts I've seen. This seems to be the result of student enrollment trending down and the impact of adjuncts now being able to work up to nine contact hours in a given semester.

NORA deadlines

First, the NORA dates are below.

Please note that if adjuncts do not submit their NORA forms on time, they are put on the wait list. This means that all adjuncts on both the A and B lists are offered their full complement of assignments before anyone on the wait list may be offered an assignment. I dealt with several instances in which adjuncts who failed to submit a NORA form were given assignments ahead of others, which should not happen.

NORA procedure
summer 2016
fall 2016
forms available
2/26 2/26
forms due
4/1 4/1
assignments posted
4/26 4/15
accept/decline
5/6 5/6


Bumping Procedures

A handful of adjuncts have inquired about the details of bottom bumping: some because they were incorrectly bumped out of an assignment, others because they legitimately were bumped but didn't understand why.

Before I proceed, keep in mind: adjunct seniority is college wide.

The college and the FA negotiated an agreement decades ago to follow a practice known as bottom bumping, to avoid the "domino effect" of multiple faculty bumping multiple colleagues due to assignment cancelations for low enrollment. That domino effect is entirely too disruptive.

The FA's bumping process is described in full here. But I'll give you the adjunct scoop: When you lose an assignment due to low enrollment, you have the right to bump only one adjunct in the discipline; you do not get to choose any less senior adjunct. It must be the individual who meets the criteria described below because we have a rule that says everybody gets one assignment before anyone gets two, and everybody gets two before anyone gets three assignments.

You have the right to bump the least senior adjunct in your discipline on the B list who's working on a campus that you put in your NORA form with an assignment for which you are certified.

If no B list adjuncts hold an assignment on your NORA campus(es) you have the right to bump the least senior A list adjunct with a third assignment, or if no one has a third assignment you can bump the least senior A list adjunct with a second assignment, or if no one has a second assignment the least senior A list adjunct. All of these must be an adjunct on your NORA-specified campus(es) who hold an assignment for which you are certified.

If that least senior adjunct has an assignment during a time that doesn't work for you, you must either rearrange your schedule or decline the right to bump.

While I think it's obvious why the college takes into account your certifications, faculty have asked why the college takes into account campus preferences but not time availabilities.

The campus matters because if the very least senior adjunct college wide holds an assignment that you didn't put in your NORA, you were never entitled to an assignment on that campus in the first place so, correspondingly, you're not entitled to bump anyone on that campus.

The time availabilities that you enter into NORA cannot be factored into the equation because the least senior adjunct teaching at a time that works for you might not be the least senior adjunct. Then he or she will say, "Hey! Someone junior to me still has an assignment. No fair!" and will want to bump someone... and we'll fall into that domino effect.

So, keep in mind that adjuncts are only guaranteed the right to bump; you can accept/decline based on whether the assignment works for you.

Adjunct Professional Development Funds

Finally, yes, there is funding for adjunct faculty—and full-time faculty do not have access to it.

The FA has negotiated a separate professional development fund for adjunct faculty, with $10,000 available in the fall semester and $10,000 available in the spring.

If you have three or more semesters of SCCC experience and are teaching/working two or more contact hours per semester, you're eligible to apply for the use of these funds for professional purposes in an amount not to exceed $750 in any one academic year during which you're employed.

The money is awarded on a first come-first served basis, so I encourage you to apply just as soon as you can, e.g., the moment you spot a great conference in your discipline that you wish to attend.