Testimony on H.1194/S.683
Updated: Sep 27, 2019
Dear Chairs Gobi and Roy,
Thank you for allowing me to make the case for House Bill 1243, An Act to ensure minimum fair wages and employment stability for adjunct faculty. This bill will assure that adjunct faculty are paid fairly for the courses they teach and receive sufficient notice or partial pay for teaching assignment cancellations.
Colleges and universities use adjunct faculty instead of tenured faculty as a way to cut costs. Although the college/university may save money, this arrangement leaves adjunct faculty struggling to make ends meet. Adjunct faculty are paid on a per-course basis at a much lower rate than full-time faculty and most of their contracts are only year- or semester-long. Additionally, courses adjunct faculty are assigned to teach are often cancelled, leaving adjuncts without pay for a course in which they have already prepared work.
In Massachusetts, 70% of courses at state colleges and universities are taught by adjunct faculty. As a legislator that represents Framingham State University, this issue is particularly important to my district, as most of the adjunct faculty to the university live nearby. I have heard from dozens of faculty members that are struggling to get by and worried about their retirement. In addition, I’m personally aware of the issue as my husband is an adjunct professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; we do not rely on his role as an adjunct to pay our bills, and he holds another full-time job while teaching.
Adjunct faculty, despite having similar credentials as their tenured counterparts, are exploited by this system, leaving them with little to no job security. Adjuncts are also not paid for faculty advising, so students wishing to connect and learn from their instructors outside of the classroom also suffer as a consequence. Educators should not be some of the lowest-paid public employees in the Commonwealth. The successful passage of this bill will allow adjuncts to have the peace of mind to be able to focus on teaching the next generation.
I urge the committee to vote in favor of this bill to alleviate the burdens on adjunct faculty. Thank you for allowing me to provide this testimony.
Maria D. Robinson
6th MIDDLESEX DISTRICT