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II - 1.07 - Policy on the Employment of Adjunct Faculty


I. Purpose

This policy is designed to establish baseline standards for Bowie State University (BSU) related to search processes, appointments, contracts and conditions of employment for adjunct faculty. The goal of the policy is to assure a high quality of instruction by individuals with appropriate credentials, experience and to provide a set of policies that will lead to continuous improvement in the status of adjunct faculty in compliance with criteria set by the University System of Maryland (USM).

II. Applicability

This policy applies only to adjunct faculty, defined as faculty members of the USM institutions who are:

  1. employed to provide instructional services;
  2. neither tenured nor eligible for tenure; and
  3. appointed to teach specific courses and compensated on a course-by-course basis.

III. Exceptions

Part-Time, Non-Tenure Track ("PTNTT") faculty appointed to salaried positions is excluded from "Adjunct Faculty" for the purposes of this policy.  PTNTT faculty is covered instead by USM Policy II - 1.06 - Policy on the Employment of Salaried Part-Time, Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty in the USM. 

IV. Categories of Adjunct Faculty

A. "Adjunct Faculty I" - All adjunct faculty, except those faculty members who meet the criteria for designation by BSU as Adjunct Faculty II."

B. "Adjunct Faculty II" - Adjunct faculty members who have been determined by BSU to have a consistent record of high-quality instruction as measured by the following standards.

  1. Record of teaching at BSU for at least three consecutive years with a total of at least 12 courses of three credits or more.
  2. Portfolio of high-level performance evaluations at BSU over the course of at least 12 full semester courses.
  3. Written request from the Adjunct Faculty I to the appropriate department chairperson for promotion to Adjunct Faculty II.
  4. Written recommendation from the chairperson to the respective dean.
  5. Written recommendation from the dean with subsequent approval by the Provost.

V. Recruitment and Selection of Adjunct Faculty

A. Credentials - Adjunct Faculty I and II teaching courses for credit must meet the same requirements for professional, experiential and scholarly preparation as their full-time counterparts teaching in the same disciplines. 

  1. All adjunct faculty members who teach credit courses leading toward the baccalaureate degree must hold a bachelor's degree in the appropriate teaching discipline and a master's degree with at least 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline or hold the minimum of a master's degree with a major in the teaching discipline.
  2. Adjunct faculty members who teach master's and doctoral level courses must have an earned doctorate or terminal degree in the appropriate teaching discipline area and a record of recent scholarly production.
  3. In exceptional cases, outstanding professional experience and demonstrated contributions to the teaching discipline may be presented in lieu of formal academic preparation.  If after consultation among the department chair, the dean and the Provost, the candidate is deemed to be an appropriate highly qualified faculty member, the department chair must prepare a written justification showing how the candidate's experience or special expertise satisfies the credential requirements. This justification must be approved by the dean and the Provost and must be filed in the Office of the Provost at the time of the appointment.

B. Selection Procedures for Adjunct Faculty I and Adjunct Faculty II - Consistent with BSU's personnel policy and the USM equal opportunity and affirmative action policies, each dean of the respective college shall conduct the hiring process of adjunct faculty and make hiring recommendations to the Provost.  This process shall include the following.

1. Verification of faculty credentials by the chairperson with recommendations for adjunct faculty appointments to the dean of the respective college or the unit director, if there is no dean.
2. Submission of the following documents to the Office of Human Resources:
  1. Signed Application for Employment
  2. Updated Curriculum Vitae
  3. Official Transcripts: Undergraduate, Master's and Doctoral (if applicable)
  4. Three Letters of Recommendation
3. Letters of appointments signed by both the dean and the Provost, inclusive of the following information:
  1. position title;
  2. term of contract, which should include a provision extending a conditional offer until all full-time faculty members' schedules have been filled;
  3. compensation;
  4. description of assignment;
  5. fringe benefits, if any; and
  6. course cancellation policy, which shall include a provision that classes may be canceled because of low enrollment or may be reassigned to full-time faculty before the first class meeting.
C. Upon approval for employment, each applicant must also submit the following to the Office of Human Resources:
  1. completed W-4 Form;
  2. completed Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service Form (I-9), if applicable;
  3. a copy of candidate's Driver's License and Social Security card; and
  4. employment contract - Prior to assuming any assigned duties, each adjunct faculty must have on file in both the Office of Human Resources and the Office of the Provost, a signed letter or employment contract and evidence of a background check.

D. Appointment and Assignment of Adjunct Faculty II

1. After designation as Adjunct Faculty II at BSU, the faculty member:
  1. Shall receive a compensation increment of at least 10% of the minimum, annual per-course compensation for adjunct faculty at BSU, consistent with the State of Maryland and USM budget policies.
  2. Shall be given priority consideration, to the extent operationally feasible, among adjunct faculty for future teaching assignments in the subjects for which the faculty member has had consistent instructional experience at the institution.
  3. May be eligible for longer term appointments that assure the assignment of the faculty member to a fixed number of classes during the term of the appointment.
  4. May receive additional benefits and compensation based upon the minimum compensation for adjunct faculty in a particular school, department or unit.
  5. Shall adhere to agreed upon protocols for periodic evaluation of faculty member's status as Adjunct Faculty II.f) Shall not prevent the faculty member from competition for or selection into a position as salaried PTNTT or other faculty position.
2. To the extent possible, the appointing department or unit shall provide adjunct faculty with reasonable notice of the teaching assignment within 45 days in advance of the start of classes as the desired goal. Nothing in this section shall prevent a department or unit from making an adjunct faculty teaching appointment on short notice based on changed circumstances in class enrollments, the availability of resources or other factors.
3. If BSU cancels a fall or spring semester class to which an adjunct faculty member has been assigned less than 30 days before the start date of the class, and has been unable to offer the faculty member re-assignment to a comparable class, the institution shall compensate the faculty member 10% of the payment amount specified in the contract or appointment letter for that class.
4. Upon signing a contract or otherwise accepting an appointment, the adjunct faculty member will receive access, electronically or in print, to the institution's faculty handbook or other institution or USM policies, including those policies explaining the benefits for which the faculty member may be eligible.
5. Each semester of employment shall require a new contract or letter of appointment.
E. Scope and Duration of Appointment - All adjunct faculty appointments shall initially be made for one semester. Re-appointments are made on a semester-by-semester basis. In some instances adjunct faculty appointments may be made for longer periods of time. In a single semester, adjunct faculty may not exceed three course credit hours of teaching. A single semester shall be defined as fall, spring, summer, or winter mini-semester.

F. Other Terms and Conditions

  1. Attendance - Adjunct Faculty are responsible for holding classes when scheduled and notifying the department chair when an absence is necessary.
  2. Subsequent Employment - Employment as an Adjunct Faculty I or Adjunct Faculty II does not guarantee any subsequent employment to any salaried part-time or full-time faculty positions at BSU, nor does it count as service in the event of any future application or claim of eligibility for tenure, sabbatical leave or accumulation of service time in part-time or full-time employment.
  3. Both Adjunct Faculty I and Adjunct Faculty II shall adhere to all applicable BSU and USM policies as well as to all other standards and expectations required by BSU. These standards and expectations include but are not limited to, timely and early assessment of students so that mid-term grades issued to students are clearly related to performance; attention to appropriate handling and posting of mid-term and final grades; adherence to printed academic guidelines; and attention to other requirements as described in the BSU Faculty Handbook.
  4. Office Hours - Adjunct faculty shall be available to advise or consult by pre-arrangement with students through web communications or office hours. The adjunct faculty member should be accessible for student consultation at hours close to class times, except when instruction is solely technology-driven.

VI. Compensation and Benefits for Adjunct Faculty I and Adjunct Faculty II

A. BSU will make every effort to make adjunct faculty compensation professionally appropriate and competitive to the extent allowed by available fiscal resources.

B. BSU may provide designated institutional benefits to adjunct faculty, in either or both of the Adjunct Faculty I and Adjunct Faculty II categories, at the discretion of the President.

VII. Grievance and Appointment Rights

A. With the exception of those policies and procedures that relate to the appointment, rank and tenure of tenured and tenure track faculty, adjunct faculty shall have available the same grievance procedure as all other faculty, consistent with the USM Policy on Faculty Grievances, No. II-4.00 and BSU Policy II-4.00.

B. All adjunct faculty members shall have the opportunity for an informal hearing at the appropriate or administrative level before termination of an appointment within the term of the faculty member's contract. The institution may remove the adjunct faculty member from the classroom, while continuing to pay the adjunct faculty member, pending the outcome of the hearing.

C. The decision whether to re-appoint an adjunct faculty member after the term of the adjunct faculty member's contract is at the sole discretion of BSU, provided that such decision was not made for unlawful reasons or in retaliation for the adjunct faculty member's exercise of grievance rights or shared governance activities.

VIII. Participation in the Campus Commuity

A. Campus Participation - Adjunct faculty members shall be invited, to the extent feasible, to participate in the scholarly, intellectual, academic and social life aspects of the department, unit and/or institution.

B. Shared Governance - BSU shall provide opportunities for adjunct faculty to communicate their concerns to campus administration, provide advice in the development and implementation of policies and procedures related to adjunct faculty and otherwise participate fully in shared governance, through:

  1. The establishment of Adjunct Faculty Committees in each college to communicate their concerns and provide feedback to the respective college deans at a minimum of twice per year;
  2. The selection of representatives from these committees to meet with the Provost at least once in the spring and fall semesters, or upon request from the committees;
  3. The selection of adjunct faculty representatives for participation on existing shared governance groups;
  4. The provision for reimbursement for travel and other reasonable expenses, consistent with USM and BSU travel policies, to each adjunct faculty member who serves on an institution-wide shared governance body, if funds are available. 

IX. Professional Development and Working Conditions

Support for Teaching - BSU shall provide each adjunct faculty member with the support it determines to be necessary for the execution of the appointee's duties, which may include access to BSU's website or other electronic resources, including the following:

A. Information on the department's policies, requirements and goals for each course, along with access to examples of past course syllabi (if available); official schedule of classes, including academic calendar and time frames of class meetings; relevant departmental/school policies, such as grading procedures, class attendance; curriculum information; secretarial services; learning resources; office space; conference hours; and student and faculty support services.

B. Assistance in the selection of textbook(s) for the course(s) and ancillaries for the text(s), if these are not otherwise selected by the academic department.

C. Invitation to attend orientation programs held by BSU's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning ("CETL"), which, at a minimum, should include opportunities for discussion of key USM and BSU policies, including student advisement and shared governance, along with information on pay schedules, benefits, parking, BSU ID cards and faculty evaluation policies and procedures.  D. Opportunities for the participation of adjunct faculty in departmental and institutional events, including faculty development seminars and support for attendance at professional conferences, if funds are available.

X. Evaluation of Adjunct Faculty

The department chair shall evaluate each adjunct faculty member annually or per semester for one-semester appointments. The official evaluation form for adjunct faculty will be used to assess performance; however, the department chair's evaluation may include other criteria based upon specific requirements of the department or unit. Student evaluations shall be administered each semester for all adjunct faculty members. All evaluations shall be retained in the appropriate administrative office and considered in the contract renewal process or for promotional considerations, including advancement from Adjunct Faculty I to Adjunct Faculty II positions.


Related USM Policy: II-1.07


Effective Date: 09/01/2011