Faculty Senate recommends increasing adjunct pay

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One-fifth of the classes at TCU are taught by adjunct faculty members, and full-time faculty members think it’s time adjuncts got a pay raise.

TCU’s Faculty Senate passed a resolution at its Thursday meeting encouraging the university to raise adjunct pay and to create more full-time faculty positions. Adjuncts, who are not full-time employees, receive no benefits.

A study commissioned by the Faculty Senate suggests that because adjuncts receive no benefits and have lower pay rates, they often have less motivation and availability for students. The study suggested raising adjunct pay by $1,000 per 3-credit-hour course. 

The resolution serves more as a “statement of principle” than a policy guideline, said Andrew Ledbetter, a member of the Faculty Senate subcommittee that worked on the resolution and the study backing it.

The resolution will move to Provost Nowell Donovan for further consideration.

TCU pays adjuncts between $2,500 and $3,500 per 3-credit-hour undergraduate course, which does not compete with regional and national pay averages, according to the study.

Ledbetter said a student taking a 15-credit-hour course load pays about $1,350 per credit hour, which means having one student in a class covers the majority of an adjunct’s salary.

“As a committee, we feel that something is awry with the economics of that,” Ledbetter said.

Most adjunct faculty members are hired because of enrollment needs, the study found.

“There’s too few of us as faculty,” Ledbetter said.

The Faculty Senate is seeking to better fulfill two of the cardinal principles of TCU’s Vision In Action (VIA) plan, according to the study.

Those principles include hiring and retaining “outstanding” faculty members and creating a learning atmosphere through “excellent” teaching, according to the VIA website.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated terms of the Faculty Senate’s resolution regarding adjunct pay.  The resolution did not recommend raising adjunct pay by a specific dollar amount.