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Part-time faculty become a priority during Adjunct Equity Week

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Adjunct faculty at El Camino are attempting to bring awareness to the adjunct staff at EC and the EC community with Adjunct Equity Week from Monday, Oct. 23 to Friday, Oct. 27.

Colleges in America, specifically California, are increasingly relying on a part-time workforce to help out around their campuses, Kim Runkle, adjunct English instructor, said.

Part-time faculty, frequently known as adjunct faculty, are professors or faculty that do not work at their college full-time, and are not guaranteed work during the semester even though every college has a percentage of adjunct faculty.

“Pretty much all colleges rely on adjunct faculty,” Runkle said. “It’s something that every college needs.”

Runkle and adjunct instructor Jason Bostick are co-vice presidents of the El Camino College Federation of Teachers (ECCFT) and represent the adjunct faculty at El Camino, with both being faculty at EC for over 12 years.

Both Runkle and Bostick are creating Adjunct Equity Week to reach out to the adjunct faculty at EC in an attempt to make them feel they are a part of a community, while also hoping to educate students and others on the struggles that adjunct faculty go through on a daily basis.

“I teach sometimes as early as 7 a.m. and know other part-time teachers that end at 7 p.m., so we as a community are disconnected,” Bostick said. “This event is meant to reach out to adjunct faculty and help us get a better sense of unity and connectedness between the adjunct faculty.”

According to the El Camino Institutional Research, Facts and Figures of Fall 2016, EC has an adjunct employee percentage of 64 percent, with only 36 percent of its faculty being full-time staff.

While this event is by no means an adjunct versus full-time faculty affair, adjunct’s inconsistent hours affect not only themselves but their students.

“It’s hard to meet with your students outside of class when your neither available to or compensated for office hours,” Bostick said. “It sucks when a student wants to meet with you but you can’t physically meet with them because you’re on your way to a different campus.”

Adjunct faculty are also hoping to bring to light the difficult working conditions many of the faculty face including lack of office space and often not being compensated to meet with students, as well as compensation for their work on important college committees.

Despite a majority of them being professors, adjunct faculty members stem farther than just classroom instructors.

“Adjunct staff include librarians, counselors, coaches and trainers,” Runkle said. “Even though many adjuncts are in the classroom, everyone here is affected, including the students.”

One major part of Adjunct Equity Week is understanding that adjunct equity is student equity, for students are often negatively impacted from the working conditions of the adjunct instructors.

“Every student had a different educational background,” Bostick said. “Making students feel like they’re part of the community gives them a better chance at getting a good education, and that is what we want to get out of this event.”

Adjunct faculty are hoping to be endorsed by full-time faculty for this event as well to better promote the importance of the event and will be passing out buttons with the slogan “Adjunct Equity is Student Equity” the week of the event.

“As an institution, we are hoping to learn from our students and staff,” EC President Dena Maloney said. “We want to best know how to make our campus as inclusive as possible.”

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The student news site of El Camino College
Part-time faculty become a priority during Adjunct Equity Week