Strengthen Community Colleges
It's time for Massachusetts to step up to the plate.Like 7 out of 10 community college faculty in Massachusetts, I’m a part-time employee. I don’t have a college office.
We adjunct faculty are fully qualified with graduate degrees in our subjects. We are hired on a course-by-course, semester-by-semester basis. We have no health benefits, and the state doesn’t even pay into Social Security. We’ve been called freeway-fliers because we often teach at multiple colleges in order to get enough classes to earn a living.
Full-time faculty are on campus year in and year out. They provide continuity for students— students who are often challenged financially and are themselves forced to be part-time. Studies show that students benefit significantly from having a connection with a faculty member….a faculty member with permanence.
Students are our primary concern, and we do our best to give them an equal educational experience. But with the unequal treatment of faculty, colleges are not doing their part. Students pay the same tuition regardless of the instructor’s status, and students deserve equal service with an equally equipped professor.
Community colleges are engines of our state’s economy, preparing workers for industry. But they can’t reach full potential when in some departments part-time faculty exceed 80 percent.
But it’s really not about us. Over 140,000 students attend Massachusetts community colleges. That’s almost 50 percent of all students in the system, yet community colleges get less than 25 percent of the total funding. Our students deserve a greater commitment from the Commonwealth. And one important step is more full-time, fully-supported faculty.