The College of DuPage Faculty Association (CODFA) has been in negotiations for the past year over our expired contract. I tried to explain my teaching load to fellow chemists at recent professional society dinner meeting, and I learned that the details didn’t make a lot of sense to them. This is not surprising, since I only understand those parts of the contract that specifically apply to me. Without too much explanation, the situation I have described is a 16-hour load plus 4 to 6 hours overload (depending upon whether the sections are full). This is a lot of work, and I personally would prefer to do less, but that does not work with COD’s daytime double sections of general chemistry. I do get compensated for the overload hours at the adjunct rate. Under the proposals being presented by the administration, my laboratory hours will be credited at 75% - resulting in a cut of 3 hours of overload per semester. This is a significant cut to my pay, not the 3% or so increases I have seen reported on the COD web page. Others at the college will be credited with 50% credit for their time in studio or activity classes. They will need to be in class 30 hours per week, in office hours 10 hours per week, plus do all the other things we do.
The justification for this change has been along the lines that laboratory instructors do not do as much preparation or grading as those who “lecture.” I will tell you that my students and I do much more work for the lab section of the course than the lecture, both inside and outside of the contact hours. To be fair, I must say that during my tenure at COD, my associate deans and deans have always shown appreciation and support for my work. Sadly, it appears to me that the upper-level administration at the College of DuPage neither understands nor appreciates the work I do in lecture, lab, office hours, or with the students outside those venues.”
The College of Dupage is one of the best educations you can get on a community college dollar. The photo lab has been like a second home to me for years. Being able to utilize the space there has helped propel my work faster and much more efficiently, than if I was relying on my own dollar and space to create and develop my work. The faculty that I have come to know and love so much in the photo department, have helped me improve my skills and knowledge of my craft, I owe a lot of what I know to them (you know who you are) I am publicly thanking you now. But my thanks goes beyond the photo department, every teacher I have ever had has taught me something, I had and have strong relationships with almost all of them.
Some time ago, I was sad to learn that the COD faculty have been without a contract for some time, and I was even more sad to find out that the administration wants to cut the full-time faculty, who have a lab component as part of their curriculum in half, during that lab time. The administration is under the assumption that lab is not lecture, and therefore less deserving of the full salary an english or math teacher would receive. As a student who rely’s a lot on that lab time, and the teacher assistance that comes with it, this upsets me quite a bit. If it were not for those teachers taking the time during those lab hours to work with me one on one, I would know half of what I know about photography. Is it true I taught myself a lot, well yes, but that’s only half, if that, of what I know.
Let me break down the domino effect; if full-time staff only made half of their salary during lab hours they would have to take on more classes to make up the difference, therefore having less time to interact with students one on one. Then there would be less classes available for adjunct (part-time) faculty, so thats means potentially less classes offered but most certainly less instructor variation. But wait… there’s more… (as Jeff Curto would say)”