Ithaca College Non-Tenure Faculty Call Their Contract A “Big Win”

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Ithaca College.

Contingent faculty at Ithaca College and the administration have reached a contract agreement after months of negotiations. Contingent faculty are non-tenure track faculty. Both faculty and the administration said they’re generally pleased with the agreement.

There are two big provisions in the contract.

Towards pay parity

The first is a raise of $1,025 per 3-credit course for part-time faculty. By fall 2019, these teachers will make $5,225 for a 3-credit course.

The pay increase represents a commitment from the administration to try to reach ‘pay parity’ between part-time and full-time contingent faculty, according to Brody Burroughs, a lecturer in the Department of Art. For him, the pay bump is a “big win.”

Still, the union was pushing for even more money than that; they wanted part-time and full-time contingent faculty to be compensated at the same rate.

“Even if we got to ‘pay parity,’ it would still be less than I made in grad school 20 years ago, so it still isn’t a living,” said Burroughs.

To the administration, achieving pay parity was more complicated than the part-time faculty presented it.

“It’s not that we disagreed with [the need for pay parity],” said Nancy Pringle, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Ithaca College. “We’re a very complex institution with multiple disciplines and pay parity in one area might not be the same as pay parity in another discipline.”

The administration was also eager to finalize the contract before the college’s new president, Shirley Collado, takes office this summer, according to Pringle.

Pay parity is an issue Burroughs plans in the next contract negotiation.

Longer contracts, long-term planning

The other big part of the agreement is longer contracts. Instead of semester-long or one-year teaching appointments, contingent faculty will be eligible for two-year contracts after three years of teaching at Ithaca College. Full time contingent faculty will also be eligible for three-year contracts after five years.

Long-term financial planning should be a little easier now, said Burroughs.

“It’s hard to be split in multiple directions and see that come together in a retirement,” said Burroughs, in reference to the multiple jobs he works. “You wonder which one of them is going to save you.”

Other provisions in the contract include compensation if a course is canceled shortly before the semester starts; the ability to be one union of part-time and full-time contingent faculty (they had been separate); and eligibility for the same teaching excellence awards as tenure track faculty.

The administration is pleased with the agreement, said Pringle.

The union must still ratify the contract. The vote is expected to happen in the next two weeks, according to a union official.

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