Provost says adjunct raise aligns with university goals, but won’t happen soon

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Despite recent discussions about potentially increasing adjunct instructor pay, adjuncts won’t see a raise before the TCU Board of Trustees approves a new budget next spring.

resolution passed by the Faculty Senate in February encouraged TCU to give adjuncts a raise and to create more full-time faculty positions. The resolution was sent to Dr. Nowell Donovan, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, who said he agreed with its suggestions.

The document aligns with what TCU is already doing with faculty positions, he said. Donovan, however, does not have the final say in the matter. 

About $500,000 would be needed to raise adjunct salaries $1,000 per 3-credit-hour undergraduate course, according to a study commissioned by the Faculty Senate. The study suggested a $1,000 raise would increase TCU’s budget by 0.2 percent.

The Board of Trustees creates the budget for each academic year in the fall and approves the budget in April, Donovan said. This year’s budget will go into effect June 1, creating a yearlong delay with each new budget, he said. 

The budget becomes “the focus, the source for action for the next year,” he said.

The Faculty Senate knows the potential expense, said Andrew Ledbetter, a member of the Faculty Senate subcommittee that worked on the resolution and the study.

“We don’t want to live in economic Disneyland,” Ledbetter said. “But some of these economic questions are worth discussing.”

The university’s desire to improve adjunct conditions has little to do with the Faculty Senate’s resolution, Donovan said.

“There never was a battle, or anything of that sort,” Donovan said. “The whole university community is uncomfortable with the idea of adjuncts.”

Donovan passed his own resolution about two years ago through the trustees to replace adjuncts with full-time faculty members over the following three years. For the remaining adjuncts, Donovan said he constantly overruns the adjunct budget to improve their position on campus.

Dr. Linda Harrington, an adjunct in the Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences, said in an email that she would see a raise as an affirmation that she is valued by the community.

The issue goes beyond compensation, said Dr. Andrew Schoolmaster, the dean of the AddRan College of Liberal Arts.

Schoolmaster said the AddRan College of Liberal Arts is working to make its adjuncts feel like “part of the enterprise.”

It’s important to recognize that adjuncts “do provide a valuable service for us and for our students,” said Dr. Homer Erekson, the John V. Roach dean in the Neeley School of Business.

“If we are going to have adjuncts, then we need to pay them wages which make them realize that they’re working for a good university,” Donovan said.