American University Contract Highlights

American University Adjunct Union Contract Highlights
April 2013

 

Job Security

  • More timely assignments
    • Assignments to teach will be made as early as possible
  • Protections on recurring assignments
    • Assignments will be for a period of a semester, a semester, part of an academic year, one academic year, or longer. The terms of current appointments will be honored.
    • If an adjunct has taught the same course for at least semesters in the past three academic years, and the same course is going to be offered within one year of the adjunct’s most recent assignment, the adjunct is entitled to “good faith consideration” to reassignment to that course. This means that your assignment may only be cancelled, reduced or denied in certain circumstances outlined in Article 6.2.A of the contract. Those circumstances surround program or departmental downsizing, absorption of the course by a full-time faculty member, course cancellation for under-enrollment, misconduct, or the availability of an adjunct with “greater professional qualifications.”
    • If a course is denied in these circumstances, AU will make a “good faith effort” to find an alternative course.
    • If an adjunct is replaced by an adjunct with “greater professional qualifications” the replaced adjunct will receive 75% of the fee they would have received to teach the course.
  • An expanded and more transparent evaluations process
    • Adjuncts will be evaluated at least every 3 academic years. The purpose of evaluations is to support excellence in teaching, to further academic and professional standards, and to provide for professional development.
    • Each teaching unit or academic unit establishes guidelines for evaluating teaching by members of that unit.
    • Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) will not be the sole criteria upon which adjunct faculty are evaluated. Other metrics will be taken into account.
    • Adjuncts may submit additional materials regarding the employee’s professional, artistic, or scholarly credentials that the employee desires to have considered as a part of the evaluation process.  Adjuncts may submit a written response to student evaluations, and any such response will be considered in the evaluation process.
    • Adjuncts may submit additional questions for the Department or Program to consider adding to their student evaluations, in order to address issues that are specific to the Department, Program, or course.
    • Adjuncts must be notified about concerns about their performance as soon as possible after the concerns arise. This means that you will be given the opportunity to address issues of concern.
    • Adjuncts may demonstrate effective teaching in a variety of ways, including course design, development of new curricular initiatives, up-to-date course content, student engagement and achievement outside the classroom, and adherence to evaluation procedures that accurately reflect student accomplishments.  Teaching units or academic units may also view publication and presentation of teaching materials and methodologies as a contribution to teaching.
    • Adjuncts entitled to good faith consideration may request a classroom observation and evaluation of the adjunct’s classroom performance once every six (6) semesters of teaching. The adjunct will receive feedback and may discuss the feedback with the evaluator.
  • Discipline and Discharge for Just Cause Only
    • A “just cause” standard now applies to any discipline or discharge. This means that AU must provide substantial evidence of wrong-doing to justify discipline or dismissal, and must not act in an arbitrary, capricious or illegal manner. Adjuncts have due process if they are accused of wrong-doing.
    • ‘Binding arbitration’ applies to discipline and dismissal. This means that if the union or the adjunct faculty member believes that discipline or dismissal occurred without “just cause” a neutral arbitrator will make the final, binding decision.
  • Academic freedom
    • The contract guarantees that adjuncts enjoy the same rights and obligations of academic freedom as do all faculty at American University, as provided in the Faculty Manual.
  • Non-discrimination
    • American University and the Union will comply with the provisions of all applicable laws forbidding discrimination and harassment against or in favor of any employee on account of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, family responsibilities, disability, familial status, matriculation, marital status, source of income and place of residence or business, veteran status, or union membership. 
  • Grievance and Arbitration
    • Any violation of the terms of the contract is subject to a grievance procedure that culminates in “binding arbitration” by a neutral third-party arbitrator. The union and American University will jointly bear any cost associated with a grievance brought by an adjunct.
    • New Minimum Rates Per Course
      • In order to bring the lowest paid adjuncts to a reasonable level of pay, new minimum rates are set up by the contract.
      • These minimums are designed to be a floor, not a ceiling.
      • Adjuncts paid below the minimum rate for a course taught in a prior academic term will be paid at the minimum rate or receive a $100.00 increase to their current rate (for each course taught), whichever results in a greater rate increase.
      • The rates will come into effect in summer 2013 and will be effective for the length of the agreement

Compensation

Credits Per Course

Without Terminal Degree

With Terminal Degree

1 or 2 $2,050

$2,500

3 or 4 $3,450 $4,000
5 or 6 $3,700 $4,200

 

  • Pay increases for adjuncts paid above the minimums
    • An adjunct paid above the minimum rate will receive a onetime $100 increase to their base rate for each course they teach.
    • An adjunct who is paid at or above the minimum rate as of August 31, 2014, but less than $5,000.00 as a base rate, will receive a onetime $50 increase in base rate beginning with the Fall 2014 Semester.
    • Increases will remain in place for the duration of the contract.
    • Music faculty
      • Applied music adjuncts will receive $60 per lesson hour, or for service on a jury committee, chamber music or sectional coaching.
      • There will be a $1000 stipend for performance ensembles in addition to the fee for the course
      • Compensation for other duties
Category Rate/Status
Independent Study and Capstone Honors Advising   $40/credit hour/student.
Program or Curriculum Development   Determined by individual agreement between AU and the employee, with a guaranteed minimum of $250.
Co-Teaching/On-line Section Leaders   Each co-teacher or on-line section leader is paid 2/3 of the normal course payment.
Reading Comprehensive Examinations   $50 per exam.
Supervising Interns   

Credit Hour          Pay Rate1                           $702                           $1403                           $2104                           $252

5                           $294

6                           $336

7                           $364

Supervising Student Teachers Practicum – $300/student/semesterStudent teaching – $700/student/semester
Moot Court   $500 per semester.
Supervising Substantial Research Papers   $200 per student.
  • Course reduction fee
    • If your course is cancelled within three weeks of the date of the first class, you will receive a course reduction fee of $300, plus the pro-rated amount for classes taught if the course is cancelled after classes begin.
    • Other issues surrounding compensation
      • Adjuncts will be paid on a timely basis in accordance with the University’s normal business operations.
      • Adjuncts cannot be required to perform duties for which they are not compensated.
      • Adjuncts will have access to access to materials and supplies needed to teach the assigned course(s); access to computer workstations; access to printing and photocopying services for class related purposes; access to administrative support services for standard and reasonable requests during normal work hours; access to space (but not necessarily office space) to meet with and advise students; access to departmental guidelines or procedures relevant to adjunct faculty; and access, upon request, to and the use of standard instructional software and computer programs used to teach the assigned course(s). Adjuncts will be given access to a University email account, and shall regularly check for and return messages.
      • Student will be assigned to an applied music adjunct as soon as reasonably possible after the student signs up for the lesson.
      • Music adjuncts will have access to the Recital Hall and other performance spaces based upon the same criteria of priority use that apply to individual full-time faculty.
      • Adjuncts will be reimbursed for expenditures for materials and supplies used in the classroom and for costs associated with field trips or other extra-curricular activities with students that are pre-approved in writing by the Department Chair, or designated teaching unit administrator.
      • The contract creates a Professional Development Fund of $25,000, through which adjunct faculty may apply for reimbursement for professional development opportunities related to teaching.
      • An adjunct whose application is accepted will be reimbursed up to $550 in an academic year for verified expenditures related to the approved professional development opportunity.
      • An adjunct may miss one class related to attendance at the professional development opportunity, provided that the employee finds a substitute and notifies the Department Chair of the absence. The adjunct is not required to compensate the substitute.
      • Adjuncts will have access to the resources and assistance provided by American University’s Center for Teaching, Research and Learning.
      • Adjuncts may apply for support from the Teaching Enhancement Fund, Ideas Incubator Program, and Online Learning/Distance Course Development Grants.
      • The Union and American University will create a joint committee to discuss issues of mutual interest to adjuncts and AU.  The committee may consider and make recommendations on matters of general importance to adjuncts and AU. This committee gives adjuncts the opportunity to address issues between contract negotiations and to build a collaborative relationship between AU and the adjunct faculty union.
        • University meeting space and the intra-University mail system and food service will be made available to the Union in accord with the procedures established by Management for University organizations.
        • Courses suggested by employees
          • Adjuncts who have taught at American University for at least two (2) consecutive semesters may propose new courses to be taught, and offer the design of and syllabus for the course with the proposal.  If the Department or equivalent academic unit decides to offer the course as designed by the adjunct, the adjunct will be:  (1) given the right of first refusal to teach the course the first time that it is offered; or (2) paid a minimum course development fee of $1500.00, at the discretion of AU.
          • Leave
            • Leave requests will continue to be reasonably accommodated.
            • Candidate Presentations
              • Adjuncts may be invited, but are not obligated, to attend candidate presentations conducted in the hiring of full-time faculty.
              • Personnel files
                • American University will maintain one (1) official personnel file for each adjunct to which the employee will have access upon reasonable notice in the same manner as other American University employees.
                • This Agreement becomes effective as of June 1, 2013, and shall continue in full force and effect until August 31, 2015.
                • We will reopen negotiations for a second agreement in the spring of 2015.

Supports for teaching

  • Adjuncts will have access to access to materials and supplies needed to teach the assigned course(s); access to computer workstations; access to printing and photocopying services for class related purposes; access to administrative support services for standard and reasonable requests during normal work hours; access to space (but not necessarily office space) to meet with and advise students; access to departmental guidelines or procedures relevant to adjunct faculty; and access, upon request, to and the use of standard instructional software and computer programs used to teach the assigned course(s). Adjuncts will be given access to a University email account, and shall regularly check for and return messages.
  • Student will be assigned to an applied music adjunct as soon as reasonably possible after the student signs up for the lesson.
  • Music adjuncts will have access to the Recital Hall and other performance spaces based upon the same criteria of priority use that apply to individual full-time faculty.
  • Adjuncts will be reimbursed for expenditures for materials and supplies used in the classroom and for costs associated with field trips or other extra-curricular activities with students that are pre-approved in writing by the Department Chair, or designated teaching unit administrator.

Professional Development Fund

  • The contract creates a Professional Development Fund of $25,000, through which adjunct faculty may apply for reimbursement for professional development opportunities related to teaching.
  • An adjunct whose application is accepted will be reimbursed up to $550 in an academic year for verified expenditures related to the approved professional development opportunity.
  • An adjunct may miss one class related to attendance at the professional development opportunity, provided that the employee finds a substitute and notifies the Department Chair of the absence. The adjunct is not required to compensate the substitute.

Other Professional Development Opportunities

  • Adjuncts will have access to the resources and assistance provided by American University’s Center for Teaching, Research and Learning.
  • Adjuncts may apply for support from the Teaching Enhancement Fund, Ideas Incubator Program, and Online Learning/Distance Course Development Grants.

Union/Management Collaboration Committee

  • The Union and American University will create a joint committee to discuss issues of mutual interest to adjuncts and AU.  The committee may consider and make recommendations on matters of general importance to adjuncts and AU. This committee gives adjuncts the opportunity to address issues between contract negotiations and to build a collaborative relationship between AU and the adjunct faculty union.

Union Rights

  • Dues deduction
    • AU has agreed to deduct union membership dues and/or fees from the compensation of those adjuncts who choose to join the union
    • Adjuncts may choose to have voluntary contributions to the SEIU Local 500 Committee on Political Education (COPE) deducted from their compensation.
  • Modified agency fee
    • Adjuncts who are currently employed to teach at American University may choose to join the union and be full members. Those who choose not to join the union will receive all the protections and benefits of the contract and will be equally represented by SEIU Local 500, but will not be required to pay a fee for those services.
    • Adjuncts who are newly hired by American University under the terms of this contract may choose to either join the union or pay a service charge (agency fee) toward the cost of representation and administration of the contract.
  • No strike/no lockout
    • Our agreement represents the establishment of a productive relationship between the adjunct faculty and American University. During the length of the adjuncts agree not to strike and American University agrees not to “lockout” the adjunct faculty. This does not mean that adjunct faculty cannot undertake other activities and actions designed to ameliorate their working conditions at American University.
  • Bulletin boards
    • Adjuncts will be permitted to post notices pertaining to legitimate and appropriate Union interests on designated University bulletin boards.
  • Union leaders
    • Adjuncts who choose to become workplace leaders for their Union will be recognized by the Union and the University as representatives of the Union and will be able to attend to matters of administration of the agreement.
  • Meeting space and mail

Miscellaneous

  • Courses suggested by employees
    • Adjuncts who have taught at American University for at least two (2) consecutive semesters may propose new courses to be taught, and offer the design of and syllabus for the course with the proposal.  If the Department or equivalent academic unit decides to offer the course as designed by the adjunct, the adjunct will be:  (1) given the right of first refusal to teach the course the first time that it is offered; or (2) paid a minimum course development fee of $1500.00, at the discretion of AU.
  • Leave
    • Leave requests will continue to be reasonably accommodated.
  • Candidate Presentations
    • Adjuncts may be invited, but are not obligated, to attend candidate presentations conducted in the hiring of full-time faculty.
  • Personnel files
    • American University will maintain one (1) official personnel file for each adjunct to which the employee will have access upon reasonable notice in the same manner as other American University employees.

Length of Agreement

  • This Agreement becomes effective as of June 1, 2013, and shall continue in full force and effect until August 31, 2015.
  • We will reopen negotiations for a second agreement in the spring of 2015.

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