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Students Protest Lack of Due Process in Adjunct Faculty Hiring/Dismissal Decisions

by Danielle Fox

When Sandra Saba found out the University of Pittsburgh did not rehire her favorite professor, Bobbie Jo Duffy, she began demanding answers from Pitt’s administration about transparency. Saba asked for better treatment of adjuncts and, above all, the return of Duffy to the American Sign Language department.

Duffy worked at Pitt for five years as an adjunct professor and signed a one-semester contract in August 2013 as a part-time lecturer to teach American Sign Language in the fall 2013 semester.

The University informed Duffy in November 2013 that her contract would not be renewed for the spring semester. Duffy, however, is not alone in this position.

Long-term contracts are hard to come by in academia. According to the American Association of University Professors, more than 50 percent of all higher-education faculty hold part-time appointments, and 76 percent of all instructional staff appointments are for non-tenure-track positions.

The AAUP recommended that no more than 15 percent of instruction within an institution and no more than 25 percent of instruction within a department be from non-tenure-track faculty.

According to the 2013 Pitt Fact Book, 621 out of 1,163 total Pitt faculty were non-tenure track at the time of its

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Recently Commented

  • AdjunctNation Editorial Team: @Jeffr thanks for pointing out the distinction.
  • Jeffr: Note that adjunct faculty are considered to be on a “term” basis and receives no protection except...
  • Scott: I believe Sami is correct in that this no reasonable assurance language will allow adjuncts continuing access...
  • Nancy West-Diangelo: It’s as if we’ve lost the ability to listen critically. If the point of the work we...
  • Freddi-Jo Bruschke: An excellent description of this editorial.