Dear CNM Chronicle,
Thank you for turning the spotlight on the working lives of Part Time Faculty at CNM. Chronicle reporter Daniel Montano did a great job gathering different perspectives on their compensation and working conditions. It’s really a pity that CNM representatives are unwilling to comment meaningfully on a story that focuses on the people who teach more than two-thirds of the classes at our campuses. Prior to being hired as a Full Time instructor in SAGE, I spent two years teaching as a part timer and I can remember the uncertainties associated with the position. I taught unfamiliar courses on short notice and waited anxiously to see if I would be fortunate enough to get a schedule for the next semester. And my paycheck was a lot smaller than it is now. It’s time that CNM administration acknowledged the contributions of Part Time faculty.
There are more than 750 Part Time Faculty teaching classes at CNM this semester. Information the Union has gained through surveys of these employees indicates that more than a third of this group seeks to make their living solely from employment at CNM. Labeling these employees “Part Time” is a damaging misnomer. It creates an impression that these are transitory employees who ‘fill in’ for the institution when needed. In fact, many of the faculty have taught at CNM for years and often teach more courses annually than their “Full Time” counterparts. Given the ratio of Part Time to Full Time faculty at CNM a student could quite likely complete a 2 year Liberal Arts at the College and take all of their coursework from Part Time faculty.
Recently CNM President Kathie Winograd has publicly stated that CNM needs to address the competitiveness of Full Time Faculty compensation “to attract and retain great employees”. As Union President I couldn’t agree more. But why no mention of Part Time Faculty? This is the group of employees that does the heavy lifting of the teaching load at CNM. Shouldn’t there be an urgent focus on attracting the best faculty at CNM across the board? As I stated in the article, underpayment of Part Time faculty is part of a national problem. The Governing Board and CNM administration should act locally by seeking to compensate, hire and retain the best faculty period. The students at CNM deserve no less.