Posted in CBW 2011, Contingent Labor

Empowering Basic Writing Faculty: Contingent Labor

Jessica Schreyer from the University of Dubuque addressed the issue of contingent labor. Many basic writing programs rely extensively on contingent labor. How can we better reach out to our colleagues, empowering them to be a part of our writing programs? Schreyer established 4 issues that she felt needed to be addressed:

1. Meetings (when and how)

Schreyer polled the faculty to discuss the previous meeting structure. She used a doodle scheduling poll to find a common meeting time. She scheduled 2 meetings to reach out to everyone. She used a relationship-building model to create recognition and to provide input and expectations about curriculum, assessment, and textbooks. She worked to provide guidance and also to establish a clear community of respect, letting the adjuncts know that their work is very valued.

2. Connections on Campus (who, what, where & how to connect on campus)

While the University of Dubuque has a large number of resources for students, faculty do not always know what those resources are. So, Schreyer worked to help faculty make those connections.

3. Personalized Contact (making personal connections, valuing people)

She established contact via e-mails and frequent contacts. She also made appointments to visit the adjuncts when they were in their offices. She also invited them for coffee and lunch.

4. Professional Development (useful & focused)

In the past, meetings were scheduled for the convenience of the full time faculty, not the contingent faculty. She worked to find common meeting times for both full-time and part-time faculty to create a community between the full faculty. She also wanted the professional development to be more meaningful, so she worked to focus on topics relevant to first year writing. She also worked to use the adjuncts’ knowledge and experience to inform the professional development, having them lead the professional development sessions.

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