by Lauren Landry
Part-time professors at Tufts University will be receiving higher pay and improved job security.
More than 95 percent of roughly 200 adjunct faculty members approved a union contract Friday that could have a significant impact on negotiations at other colleges in the Boston area.
The three-year agreement guarantees all part-time faculty will receive at least one-year contracts. By the end of their contract period, adjuncts with more than four years of service will be eligible for two-year appointments, while those with eight years of experience will be up for three-year appointments. What’s more, part-time lecturers will receive first notice for any available full-time faculty positions, as well as a guaranteed interview.
An increase in salary will help make staying on staff worth it. Over the next three years, adjunct faculty will be gifted a 22 percent pay raise. By the start of the 2016 academic year, part-time professors will earn at least $7,300 a course, up from the $5,115 several were previously paid. Those with eight years of service are expected to bank an additional $2,622, as well, and will soon be making $8,760 per course.
Work outside of the classroom, whether mentoring or advising, will also be compensated, and a $25,000 professional development fund will be established to provide adjunct faculty with up to $500 annually to undergo training related to teaching.
Tufts adjunct faculty unionized in September 2013, becoming the first institution in Boston to do so. Adjuncts at Lesley University overwhelmingly followed in February. And in May, Northeastern’s part-time professors joined the movement, forming the largest part-time faculty union in Boston.
Tufts’ actions could help the adjunct movement gain more momentum at Boston University. Faculty gathered at the school’s Marsh Plaza last week in protest, demanding better job contracts and a higher salary. Although talks began in August, a vote on whether Boston University adjuncts should unionize is on the horizon.
“To see a contract come out where the university and the union have come together to say ‘Let’s decrease that instability’ should be compelling to people [at BU] who are on the fence,” said Laurie LaPorte, a part-time anthropology professor, to the Boston Globe.
The new contract will go into effect at Tufts on January 1.
“We made real progress toward equitable working conditions and full inclusion in the Tufts community,” shared Tufts part-time lecturer Elizabeth Lemons in a statement. “Our work, our contributions, our value are now more acknowledged. This is an important beginning, not only for us at Tufts, but also for our colleagues at other universities in Boston and nationally who are committed to raising standards in higher education.”