Georgetown University relies on the excellent professionalism, scholarship and teaching skills of hundreds of part-time professors like you and me every semester. Yet we are paid a small fraction of what similarly experienced and qualified full-time faculty members earn, while receiving no benefits or job security. As part-time faculty, we are often isolated from one other and the intellectual community of our institutions, lack office space to meet with students, have little say in departmental decision-making and have no platform from which to address our issues and concerns. As professionals in our fields we often do not receive the support or respect that we receive outside of academia. Many of us believe that our tenuous employment situation is a threat to academic freedom.
Georgetown University adjuncts are joining our colleagues at The George Washington University, American University and Montgomery College in the SEIU Local 500 Coalition of Academic Labor. We seek to improve working conditions for part-time faculty here at Georgetown and in the Washington Metropolitan area, while adding our voices to a new movement uniting contingent faculty across the country to address the challenges in higher education today.
Many of us have been impressed by the gains made by our counterparts at The George Washington University and Montgomery College. Through unionization, they have achieved pay increases, improved job security, improved processes for assignments, fair and transparent evaluations, received access to professional development supports and access to more benefits and a platform to make their voices heard. Part-time faculty at American University are currently bargaining their first union contract and hope to build on what has been achieved at GW and Montgomery College.
As colleges and universities increasingly rely on the undervalued work of contingent faculty, it becomes more and more important to organize in order to address the issues we face. As the institutions in our area rely on an academic labor pool of highly qualified part-time faculty, many of whom teach at multiple institutions, it becomes imperative for us to organize together to create significant change. Our goal at the SEIU Local 500 Coalition of Academic Labor is to unite all part-time professors in this area to systematically raise our standards of employment, confront the contingency model in higher education and restore the centrality of teaching and teachers to our institutions.
This semester you may be approached by a colleague or organizer. We urge you to join us in our movement to gain a voice for part-time faculty here at Georgetown and across the nation.
Senior Fellow, Georgetown Public Policy Institute
Georgetown University Part-Time Faculty Organizing Committee