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September 2016


Adjunct update: NORA dates, assignments, certifications
Cynthia Eaton


NORA Deadlines
Wintersession 2017
NORA available 10/7
NORA requests due 10/28
Assignments posted 11/18
Accept/decline due 12/9
Spring 2017
NORA available 10/7
NORA requests due 10/28
Assignments posted 11/28
Accept/decline due 12/16

Again at this year's adjunct orientation there were significantly fewer new adjuncts than we're accustomed to seeing in a fall semester. There were 51 in attendance in the 150-seat Smithtown Science 126 lecture hall that in a couple previous years I've seen filled to capacity.

This is the result of fewer sections being offered college wide but also more full-time faculty taking on overload courses and/or adjuncts now being able to teach up to nine contact hours. How this will impact our membership remains to be seen.

Five factors affecting assignments

Adjunct faculty regularly contact me before each semester to inquire about perceived misassignments. In the cases where there was no misassignment, often the confusion surrounds the fact that assignments are not based solely on seniority. Assignments are based on these five factors:

  1. number of sections/assignments offered by the college
  2. your adjunct certifications
  3. your college-wide seniority
  4. your stated NORA day/time availabilities
  5. your stated NORA campus preferences.

When completing the NORA form, you are asked to identify your interest in working during the upcoming semester, the days and times you are available for an assignment and your first/second/third choice of campus. All of these factors, in addition to your official certifications and college-wide seniority status, affect which assignments you may be offered.

Two more notes to keep in mind:

  1. A perennial source of confusion and frustration for adjuncts is the fact that no adjunct has the right to a specific assignment at a specific time. That is, our contract gives you the right to an assignment, not your favorite class that you’ve been teaching for the past five years or your “usual” Tuesday night (or Mon/Wed morning, or Tue/Thu afternoon) class. The college’s obligation is met when you are offered assignments that fall within your stated NORA availabilities, certifications and campus preferences and that adhere to the seniority list.
  2. Your campus preferences should never trump your college-wide seniority. For example: Say you are an A list adjunct and you select Ammerman as your first choice and Grant as your second choice. If Ammerman doesn’t have an assignment to offer you, you should receive an assignment at Grant before anyone junior to you does—again, taking into consideration the five factors above as well as the fact that everyone gets one assignment before anyone gets two and everyone gets two before anyone gets three.

NORA and when life intervenes

Your NORA deadlines for wintersession and spring 2017 are listed above. Sometimes faculty indicate dates and times on their NORA requests submitted in late October, but later discover that they are no longer available at those times or are available at new times. In these cases contact your supervisor immediately to notify him or her of the changes. There’s no guarantee that your revised availabilities will be accommodated, but you should at least notify your supervisor as many will accommodate you if they can.

Certification requests

The deadline for fall certification requests is October 31.

When you’re first hired your academic chair or area supervisor certifies you for a specific assignment(s) or course(s). Afterward your chair may opt to certify you for other assignments or courses based on departmental needs and your professional training. These should be put on file in the Office of Faculty and Professional Advancement.

Adjuncts also can request to be certified for additional assignments or courses. To do so write a letter to your academic chair or area supervisor indicating the specific assignments/courses for which you’d like to be certified. Provide a rationale for each, citing specific graduate coursework or relevant professional training.

An administrative committee determines certifications based on an analysis of college needs. This means that you may not be certified despite being qualified if the college has a sufficient supply of faculty in that area.

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