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December 2018


Adjunct update: Five factors affecting assignment offerings
Kim Ng Southard


I have received many inquiries from confused and upset adjuncts after the posting of spring 2019 adjunct offerings regarding seniority issues and the number of assignments offered to individual adjuncts.

To clear up some of the confusion, let’s go over the five factors affecting assignment offerings:

  1. Sections Available

    Because enrollment continues its downward trend at the college, down 7.12% since 2014, fewer sections have been offered at the college, and adjuncts received fewer offerings or none at all for the spring semester.

    FTE student enrollment is declining
    While enrollment of fall full-time equivalent students is still up compared with before the recession, the trend in the past few years has been in decline. With student enrollment expected to continue to decline, fewer sections are being offered by the college. (chart by Kevin McCoy)

  2. Certifications

    There's a process by which adjuncts can request additional certifications. As a result, an adjunct may have multiple certifications and be offered assignments in different areas. If two adjuncts from different areas are certified for the same assignment listed on their NORAs, the adjunct with more seniority will be offered the assignment.

  3. NORA Availabilities

    Adjuncts are offered assignments listed within their stated NORA availabilities. This does not mean that adjuncts will get their favorite or preferred assignment, that is, a specific course at a specific time, regardless of whether they have been offered that assignment over a series of semesters. The college has met its obligation by offering an assignment on any day at any time listed within stated NORA availabilities.

  4. Seniority

    Adjuncts on the A list are offered up to a full complement of courses or credit hours they have requested, then adjuncts on the B list will be offered assignments as the need arises.

  5. Adjunct Campus Preferences

    Adjunct seniority is college wide in the assignment process, which means campus preference does not trump college-wide seniority. For example, an A list adjunct selects Ammerman as first choice and Grant as second choice. If Ammerman doesn’t have an assignment to offer, the adjunct should receive an assignment at Grant before anyone junior does—again, taking into consideration certifications and NORA availabilities.

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

With enrollment declining, adjuncts should consider increasing their availability and listing all three campuses on their NORA to increase their chances for obtaining assignments. Classroom faculty might speak to their chairs to be certified to teach additional courses. While there may be competition for most of the courses in any given department, at times chairs have difficulty finding faculty to teach specific courses.

Under certain circumstances adjuncts may be eligible for NYS unemployment insurance. To obtain unemployment benefits, adjuncts will need their salary history available. The rules on whether adjuncts are eligible for unemployment are complex, but if an adjunct have been receiving a couple of assignments the last several semesters and didn’t receive any assignments this spring, there may be a chance they can collect unemployment insurance. Instructions on how to file a claim can be found on the NYS Department of Labor website.

Finally, if you feel that your seniority rights have been violated or if you have any questions regarding your status as an adjunct, feel free to call me at 631-451-4646 or 631-905-6999. You also can email me at

Important Upcoming Dates

December 15 Adjunct Accept/Decline Spring Deadline
January 24 New Adjunct Orientation
January 28 Spring 2019 Day and Evening Classes Begin
March 8 Adjunct Certification Requests Deadline
March 13 Adjunct NORA Forms Available Summer and Fall
March 14 Adjunct Promotion A Forms Deadline
April 5 Adjunct Accept/Decline Summer and Fall Deadline
April 16 Adjunct New Hire Observations Deadline
April 26 Adjunct Promotion Observations Deadline
April 30 Adjunct Assignments Posted Summer and Fall
May 13 Adjunct Accept/Decline Summer and Fall