DePaul University Academic Affairs > Faculty Resources > Adjunct Resources > Adjunct Union Organizing > FAQs
Updated December 12, 2019
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1. What is DePaul's philosophy on unionization?
A: Consistent with its values, DePaul supports religious freedom, Catholic social teaching on workers’ rights and the right of faculty to have their voices heard. DePaul is not anti-union and, in fact, works closely with unions of our contract workers and trades and has been long committed to union labor in all construction projects.
Our preference is to maintain a direct working relationship with faculty, however—without interference from a third party that may not understand our university and our values. This direct working relationship—one built on decades of mutual respect, trust, and direct dialogue—has made DePaul a special place over the years. We also believe this direct relationship gives our faculty the best opportunity to build on the improvements that we have made and continue to make.
DePaul greatly values the contributions of its adjunct faculty, who are key to fulfilling the university’s educational mission, and is committed to providing a rewarding and positive work environment. We have been told DePaul has some of the best benefits for adjunct faculty, and we hope that adjunct faculty, after reviewing all of the facts, will agree to work directly together to continue to improve and make the university an even better place for them and our students.
2. What does the Catholic Church have to say about religious freedom?
A: Speaking to the Chicago Federation of Labor in September 2015, Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich said, “When we insist that government cannot define what is and is not a religious ministry, when we ask that government not require us to violate our moral principles, it is not just about a special pleading, but goes to the heart of our exercise of solidarity... Like all of you, the Church believes that rights do not only belong to individuals and corporations, but also to groups such as unions and Churches. We do not insist that everyone believe what we believe, but we do maintain that our American traditions have allowed us in the past and should allow us in the future to preserve our religious identity and free exercise of religion as we carry out our ministry to the “least of these” and make our contributions to the common good.”
3. What does religious freedom have to do with the union?
A: In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a government agency that conducts labor union elections and investigates unfair labor practices, does not have jurisdiction over Catholic educational institutions on the basis of religious freedom and separation of church and state. Recently, the NLRB has attempted to reassert jurisdiction by questioning whether Catholic universities and colleges are sufficiently religious to fall outside of its purview. DePaul and other Catholic higher education institutions believe that the NLRB’s intrusive “tests” to determine the religiosity of certain functions within an institution—such as whether individual faculty are required to convey religion within their courses—violate religious freedom and Supreme Court legal precedent. For more information on this topic, please refer to the op-ed "Refereeing Religion?" in Inside Higher Ed by DePaul's immediate past president.
4. Does DePaul’s philosophy on unionization conflict with Catholic Social Teaching?
A: Our position on a faculty union at DePaul does not conflict with Catholic Social Teaching on workplace justice. While Catholic Social Teaching recognizes the rights of workers to organize to protect their interests, it does not recognize unions per se as the only or preferred way to protect those interests. It is just and acceptable to recognize the value of workers, address their needs and give them a voice through means other than a union. We’re neither pro-union nor anti-union, but we are pro-labor and committed to the welfare of our colleagues.
5. Is the university trying to influence faculty with its Making Informed Decisions on Adjunct Union Organizing website and emails from the administration?
A: We believe in your right to make a fully informed decision about whether union representation would be good for you. We believe you should have factual information about unionization and perspective from both sides of the issue before deciding what is best for you. We hope that the discussion about unionization—like any academic debate at DePaul—is respectful of academic freedom, free speech and the exchange of differing viewpoints.
6. Am I allowed to voice my opinion on unionization?
A: Yes. You have the legal right to speak and organize for or against union representation. Federal law protects your rights to talk to your fellow faculty during non-work time about your views for or against a union, organize with fellow faculty to make your collective views known, distribute information and attend meetings or gatherings to discuss the pros or cons of union representation and the benefits of having a direct relationship with DePaul.
7. Am I required to speak to union organizers?
A: No. You are free to speak with or refuse to speak with union representatives who visit you or call you at home or at work. There is no law or policy that requires you to speak with union representatives, and you are free to respond accordingly.
8. Can union representatives speak to me on DePaul property?
A: Union representatives are allowed to speak to you on university property that is open to visitors and guests. Organizers are not allowed to be in any area that is normally restricted to visitors or guests, such as closed office areas. They must abide by rules intended to maintain order and safety in the workplace and they may not interrupt classroom/instruction time.
9. Can I distribute literature or handouts during working time?
A: You are not prohibited from distributing materials, but you must not do so while instructing a class or disrupt someone else’s class while doing so. You are within your rights to accept or reject any materials offered to you.
10. I received an email from an individual whom I don’t know. This individual has been sharing thoughts about a union, and I’d rather not receive them. Is there something DePaul can do to stop these emails?
A: These messages, which reflect the opinion of the sender and not necessarily that of the DePaul, are protected by federal labor law. While federal law protects the rights of employees to send such messages, it also protects the rights of employees who wish not to receive such messages. You are free to read or delete such emails without reading them. DePaul encourages its employees to reply to senders and ask them to stop sending email of a personal nature if they prefer not to receive it.
11. Who is the SEIU?A: SEIU is the Service Employees International Union. It is the largest healthcare union in North America with more than 1.1 million members including doctors and nurses, home care and nursing home workers, lab techs, environmental service workers and dietary aides. SEIU is also America's largest union of property services workers—representing approximately 250,000 janitors, security officers, maintenance and custodial workers, stadium and arena workers and window cleaners—and the second largest union of public service employees with more than 1 million local and state government workers, public school employees, bus drivers, and child care providers.
12. How does the SEIU spend its dues income?A: In 2016, the national SEIU reported expenditures of more than $315 million. Nearly $125 million of this amount was spent on overhead, administration and political activities. You can find additional financial information about SEIU here.
13. Is it true that SEIU Local 73, the Chicago-based chapter attempting to organize DePaul faculty, has experienced significant leadership challenges?A: In August 2016, the Washington, D.C.-based SEIU removed the top leaders of SEIU Local 73 and imposed an emergency trusteeship because of a "crisis of governance and collapse of leadership" that put “members' interests at risk,” according to the SEIU. You can read local media coverage here and here. In addition, Local 73’s chief negotiator was summarily fired in July of 2017 and was replaced by a negotiator from SEIU’s national headquarters.
14. Has SEIU Local 73, the Chicago-based chapter attempting to organize DePaul faculty, proven to be an effective representative of contingent faculty in Chicago?A: Groups of faculty, post-doctoral fellows, lecturers, graduate students and student library workers at Loyola University Chicago and the University of Chicago have voted for SEIU representation. Of these, the SEIU has successfully completed just one contract—that for a small group of Harper-Schmidt post-doctoral teaching fellows at the University of Chicago, 23 months after the unit was certified by the NLRB. The SEIU has yet to successfully complete a contract for faculty, lecturers or graduate assistants.
15. As a member of the SEIU, what would my responsibilities and obligations be?A: Like any large organization or company, the SEIU has very detailed rules governing members. The Union rulebook is known as the Constitution and Bylaws. The rules include terms and clauses including an Oath of Membership, Trials and Charges, and the priority of funds that must be paid to the International before the Local can spend any other funds. According to the SEIU International Constitution and Bylaws, members can be put on trial by the union and fined for any of the following infractions:• A violation of any specific provision of the Constitution and Bylaws;• Gross disloyalty or conduct unbecoming a member;• Corrupt or unethical practices or racketeering;• Working as a strikebreaker;• A violation of wage or work standards established by the International Union or a Local Union.
16. Who are the United Academics of Chicago (UAC)?A: UAC is the local unit of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
17. How does the American Federation of Teachers spend its dues income?A: For the year ending June 30, 2017, the national AFT reported expenditures of more than $345 million. Almost $100 million of this amount was spent on overhead, administration, and political activities. You can find additional financial information about AFT here.
18. I have heard that there are union organizers from the SEIU and AFT on campus talking to faculty. What does that mean for faculty?A: Right now, it is not clear what two simultaneous organizing efforts could mean for DePaul faculty. We do not know whether or which segment of the faculty each union is trying to organize. They could be trying to organize the same group of faculty, overlapping groups or completely different groups. If the two unions are trying to organize the same group and an election is held, faculty members in that group would have to vote for one of the two unions or for no union. If none of the three choices receive more than 50 percent of the vote, the NLRB may conduct a runoff election.
It becomes more complicated if the two unions are elected to represent overlapping or different faculty groups. Potential results could include a faculty member having to pay dues to two unions or being precluded from teaching a class due to union rules that prohibit membership in more than one union.
19. What is a union authorization card?A: A union authorization card is a legal document that can give a union the sole and exclusive right to speak and act on behalf of the faculty in all matters regarding wages, benefits, working conditions and other terms of employment.
20. What does the union do with signed authorization cards?A: The union can do several things with a signed authorization card:1) If the union gets 30 percent of faculty in a proposed bargaining unit to sign cards, the union could contact the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and file a petition for an election to determine if faculty want to be unionized.2) If the union gets a majority of faculty in a proposed bargaining unit to sign cards, it could demand recognition from DePaul without giving faculty the opportunity to vote in a representation election.3) The union can keep the card because it is valid for one year from the day it is signed.4) The union may use it to send you mail and to call or visit you at home.
21. What is a proposed bargaining unit?A: A proposed bargaining unit is any defined group of employees the union wishes to represent for purposes of collective bargaining. The union generally defines this, but an employer may object on certain specific grounds. If the union files a petition, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determines whether the bargaining unit the union has petitioned for shares a “community of interest.” Under this standard, the NLRB will consider whether the employees are organized into separate departments; have distinct skills, training and job functions and perform distinct work; are functionally integrated with, have frequent contact with, and are integrated with other employees; have distinct terms and conditions of employment; and are separately supervised. If the employer challenges the composition of the bargaining unit, the NLRB schedules a hearing to resolve the matter.
22. What does signing a union authorization card mean?A: A union authorization card is a legally binding document, and by signing it you state that you want the union to represent you for purposes of collective bargaining. No matter what you are told, a union card is not a request for more information or to be added or removed from the union’s mailing list.
23. Does signing a union card obligate me to support the union?A: NO. Signing a union card does not mean that you have to vote in support of the union. If an election is held, all voting is completely by secret ballot. No one will ever know how you vote. You do not have to vote for the union in an election even if you signed a card.
24. What happens if I signed a union authorization card and want to take it back?A: You have the right to ask that your union authorization card be returned to you. If you signed an SEIU card, you may write to the SEIU Local 73 at 300 S. Ashland Avenue, 4th Floor, Chicago, IL. 60607-2701. If you signed a card given to you by a representative from United Academics of Chicago (American Federation of Teachers), send your letter to 500 Oakmont Lane, Westmont, IL. 60559. You also should send a copy of your letter to the National Labor Relations Board regional office at the following address: The Rookery Building, 209 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900, Chicago, IL. 60604-5208.
25. What should I be mindful of if I’m asked to sign a union card?A: The decision is yours and yours alone to make about whether or not to sign a card or petition. Remember, these are legally binding documents, so be sure to know what you are signing and know your rights. These simple guidelines can help protect them:1) Ask before you sign: Know what you are signing. An authorization card could be paper or electronic and might not even mention an election, but simply be presented as a request for information. Read everything carefully and ask how your signature and personal information will be used.2) Make your own decision: It’s up to you–not us, not the union and not your co-workers to decide what’s best for you. And, you should be able to make your decision without any pressure from anyone.3) Report concerns: Report anything to your manager or HR representative that you don’t feel is appropriate or that you feel is not in keeping with our security and privacy procedures.4) Keep a copy for your records: If you decide to sign, and just as you would with any important document, be sure to keep a copy.5) You can change your mind: You do have the right to change your mind once you’ve signed a card. You can do it by writing the union and asking for it back. Providing them with a copy of it will make it easier.
26. What recourse do I have if I feel intimidated, threatened or coerced by the union to sign a card?A: If you feel your rights are being violated, please report it immediately to Lucy Rinehart, Associate Provost of Academic Programs and Faculty in Academic Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can inform the National Labor Relations Board by calling (312) 353-7570.
27. Did DePaul provide my home address or phone number to the union?A: No. DePaul respects your privacy and did not provide your address or other contact information to the union. If you wish not to be contacted by the union at your home, you can ask the union to remove you from its mailing list and not contact you in the future. However, if a union election is held, the university would be required by law to provide all your contact information on file—including your cell and home telephone numbers and personal email address.
28. If a union is elected, who would negotiate the terms of a contract with the university?A: Most likely, a union representative would be accompanied by no more than five faculty members on a negotiating committee. The union representative typically leads the negotiations for the faculty, and the union representative’s objectives might or might not align with those of all faculty in the bargaining unit. For example, the union representative could make concessions on topics that are highly valued by rank-and-file bargaining unit members in exchange for concessions from the university on topics that are highly prioritized by the union but not the bargaining unit.
29. How are adjunct faculty members selected to serve on the negotiating committee?A: We do not know the union’s process for selecting bargaining unit members to the negotiating committee. Union bylaws may not include provisions for how this is done. DePaul has no input into or oversight of this process. You should ask the union how it selects its adjunct faculty representatives and how you can have a voice in that process.
30. Which faculty members would a union represent? Would it represent faculty who only teach one class?A: The union would decide which faculty members to include in its proposed bargaining unit. The unit could include adjunct faculty, term faculty, and even tenured faculty. It could include faculty from a single department or college or from across the university. The faculty members included in a proposed bargaining unit must share common interests, and the National Labor Relations Board could reject the union’s proposal if it does not believe that to be the case.
31. If a union is elected, would I be required to pay union dues?A: Yes. It is typically a union priority to negotiate a contract provision known as a “union security clause” that requires all who are represented to pay dues or an equivalent service fee to the union as a condition of employment. The union security clause could require the university to terminate any faculty member who does not remain current in payment of union dues. In addition to the requirement that all employees pay dues, the union often negotiates a Dues Checkoff Clause, which calls for the university to withhold union dues from a faculty member’s paycheck and send the funds directly to the union.
32. Who decides how much union dues are?A: The union—not the employer—sets the amount of dues. The union also has the legal right to increase dues as it sees fit. Unlike salaries and benefits, dues are not negotiated between the union and the employer. In addition, while the union determines how much you will pay, whether or not that money is automatically deducted from your paycheck and other details would be part of a contract negotiation.
33. What are typical dues fees?A: Union dues vary, and sometimes faculty at different institutions represented by the same union pay a different level of dues. For example, the SEIU is required by its Constitution to collect from each member a minimum of $32 per month in dues with $1 annual increases; however, in some places it has implemented a dues system based on a percentage of earnings, typically 2.0 percent of pay. This means that each time you get a raise, more of your money will be spent on union dues.
34. Will a union increase my compensation?A: Not necessarily. It is unknown what may result from a collective bargaining process. If a union is elected to represent DePaul faculty, the university and the union will negotiate in good faith over mandatory subjects of bargaining; however, that does not guarantee an agreement on anything. A union cannot unilaterally increase compensation. With the union as your representative, you could earn more, less or the same. We invite you to view union contracts posted on the Recent Labor Contracts and Union Information page. When making comparisons to other universities, it is important to remember that many universities operate on a semester system, so the rates at DePaul would be significantly different.
35. Could I expect to make $15,000 per course in total compensation as SEIU is demanding?A: Neither the SEIU nor any union that we’re aware of has negotiated a contract for adjuncts anywhere near that level of compensation. We encourage you to read the contracts unions have negotiated for their members; you can find several on the Recent Labor Contracts and Union Information page. Remember, too, that DePaul is on the quarter system rather than a semester system, so any salary a union has negotiated elsewhere must be adjusted downward for 10 weeks of class time rather than 15 weeks.
36. Will a union be able to deliver better benefits and work policies?A: It is not known if benefits and work policies for term and adjunct faculty would improve with a union. What is known is that the university has created or expanded adjunct benefits and advantageous work policies in recent years. These include eligibility for teaching and grant awards, a course cancellation fee program, a redesigned hiring process, an online orientation program, a variable tuition waiver benefit based on number of credit hours taught and access to the university’s tax-deferred 403(b) retirement plan. In addition, eligible adjunct faculty have access to medical, vision, dental and life insurance; an employee assistance program; and backup childcare services. DePaul’s offerings are competitive in the marketplace and demonstrate the tremendous value the university places in adjunct faculty.
37. Will a union increase my job security?A: Not necessarily. Term and adjunct faculty job security is ultimately a factor of student demand and economic conditions, both of which fluctuate and neither of which DePaul or the union have control over. Union-represented faculty at other universities and colleges have not been immune to these factors. For example, in April 2015, SEIU-represented adjunct faculty in the music school at George Washington University were notified that many of them would be laid off the following year, and many others would have their hours severely curtailed. We think that the best way to ensure faculty job security is to provide our students with the best educational experience possible and achieve our educational mission.
38. Will having a union mean that all adjunct faculty will receive health benefits?A: Some people believe the union will provide a pension and health insurance in exchange for their membership dues. That is not the case. Dollars spent by the union on pensions and health insurance fund the pensions and health insurance of the union’s officers and employees—NOT its members. You can view these expenses in a union’s LM-2 report.
39. Would the union give me a stronger voice?A: DePaul term and adjunct faculty have opportunities at both the school or college level and the university level to make their voices heard about a variety of academic issues and working conditions. For example, the Workplace Environment Committee (WEC) comprised of elected adjunct faculty members hears, reports, and suggests resolutions to workplace issues affecting the lives of adjunct faculty members across the university. In addition, adjunct and term faculty members serving on Faculty Council’s Committee on Contingent Faculty address their colleagues’ ideas or concerns about issues of academic policy and governance. You also are able to discuss matters on an individual basis with your program director, department chair or dean. Faculty represented by a union would no longer deal individually or through faculty representative committees with the university or their school or college on issues including pay and working conditions. DePaul would be required by law to deal only with the union and its representatives. SEIU contracts at other universities and colleges typically mandate that a committee consisting of no more than five faculty representatives designated by the union and five by the university consider and make recommendations on matters of general importance to faculty and the university. The university, however, retains the final authority with respect to adopting recommendations made by the committee. The union would give you a voice through the collective bargaining process about working conditions and parameters but not a greater voice within the institution relating to academic matters such as courses, curriculum and programs.
40. Will union members be allowed to serve on the Workplace Environment Committee (WEC)?A: We believe the WEC will allow adjunct faculty to have a greater and direct voice in their working relationship with DePaul University. At this time, it is unclear whether those adjunct faculty who are part of a union bargaining unit could serve on the WEC. For adjunct faculty in a bargaining unit, changes in workplace conditions are subject to negotiations between the university and the union and are dictated by the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
41. Would union representation give faculty greater say over university budgeting decisions?A: The union and its members would negotiate to influence policy and practices, but allocating funds to certain areas will not be within their power, unless of course the parties bargain and reach agreement. It is typical for the employer to maintain budgetary decision making under a union contract. For example, SEIU’s contract with American University states, “Management of the University is vested exclusively in the University. Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, the Union agrees that the University has the right to establish, plan, direct and control the University’s mission, programs, objectives, activities, resources, and priorities...”
42. Would a union be able to change DePaul’s scheduling practices?A: The union could request that scheduling practices be a topic for negotiation and be specified in a collective bargaining agreement. If scheduling practices are negotiated, unions often prefer a standardized practice—such as assigning adjunct faculty by seniority—over such factors as faculty interest or if they are more qualified to teach certain courses. To view examples of contracts at other institutions, visit the Recent Labor Contracts and Union Information page.
43. If there is a union, what would happen to a body that represents adjunct faculty?A: Representative bodies such as the new Workplace Environment Committee and Faculty Council would not speak for faculty members represented by a union on matters subject to collective bargaining, including pay and working conditions. Because a union typically does not represent all adjunct faculty members, however, a representative adjunct body at DePaul would be of value to faculty members who are not part of an organized bargaining unit.
44. Would unionization lead to an increase in tuition?A: Unionization would increase the university’s legal and administrative costs, and all costs are considered in decisions regarding tuition.
45. What recent improvements has DePaul made to adjunct pay and job security?A: Adjunct faculty were eligible for a raise from the 2.5 percent raise pool in 2016 and also will be eligible for a raise in 2017. Additionally, a $500 bonus was paid to all part-time employees in September 2015. For faculty who have been teaching for us for a number of years, DePaul is exploring the process of creating multicourse contracts for adjunct faculty to make possible longer and more predictable teaching appointments. Effective July 1, 2016, the course cancellation fee increased to 25 percent if the course is cancelled one month or less before the first day of class, and an opt-out option allows adjunct faculty, if they wish, to opt out of the course cancellation fee and request that their course not be cancelled if there is hope that last minute registration would permit it to run. For more information, please see Provost Marten denBoer’s letter to faculty outlining these and other improvements.
46. How do adjunct faculty differ from non-tenure full-time (term) faculty?A: The distinction between adjunct and term faculty at DePaul lies in their respective job responsibilities – not in how many courses they teach per year. Adjunct faculty are engaged to teach a specific course (or courses) in a given quarter. They are part-time employees and are paid a per course rate, which is set by the college, within college-specific parameters that reflect experience and seniority. Term faculty are engaged to perform a variety of job responsibilities and functions including teaching, advising, curriculum and program review and development, admissions and recruitment activities, strategic planning and many other service responsibilities. In addition, term faculty are expected to engage in ongoing professional development. They are full-time employees and receive yearly or multiple-year contracts.
47. How does DePaul determine term and adjunct faculty pay?A: The university recognizes the many ways term and adjunct faculty enrich academic life at DePaul, as they are a key complement to tenure and tenure-track faculty. They provide in some instances real-life experience and credibility. They also provide schools and colleges added flexibility by teaching courses at all levels within majors—introductory, overview or upper level—or by providing experiential expertise as field supervisors and mentors.
When determining pay equity and fairness, DePaul looks at total compensation: the sum of pay and benefits. Usually, we can rely on multiple data sources to ensure that we are providing total compensation that is competitive and allows us to recruit and retain the best faculty and staff to enable DePaul to pursue its mission. However, data on term and adjunct faculty pay is perhaps the most elusive and difficult to obtain. There are very few sources available, though we regularly consult data provided by CUPA (Colleges and University Professional Association). When translated from semesters (15-week terms) to quarters (10-week terms), the available data indicate that we are highly competitive. In addition to pay, term and adjunct faculty at DePaul have access to an array of benefits, including health care for those who teach six four-credit hour courses in 12 months and eligibility for the university’s 8.5 percent matching contribution to the retirement plan for those who complete a one-time course load equivalency of 1,000 hours. Additionally, our term and adjunct faculty have access to offices, computers and pedagogical resources such as sample course syllabi, curriculum guidelines and library resources. We encourage faculty to do their own research to determine how their pay compares to their peers at other schools and look at union contracts to see if a union could get them a higher income after accounting for the payment of union dues.
48. What is the role of adjunct faculty at DePaul?A: DePaul has embraced adjunct faculty as an important aspect of our academic quality for decades. Chicago has always provided a rich source of adjunct faculty who bring current professional practice, specific disciplinary expertise, and connections outside the academy to our students.
Providing the highest-quality educational experience requires a commitment to assembling a talented faculty and the flexibility necessary to grow and adjust academic programs quickly and meet emerging needs. A faculty comprised of tenured and tenure-track professors, term faculty and excellent instructors and experts who teach on a part-time basis makes this possible.
Adjunct faculty members complement full-time faculty by providing industry-specific expertise, experience and credibility and by connecting students with people currently working in their professions. Adjuncts also provide academic units the flexibility to experiment with curriculum, course offerings and new program and delivery methods.
Furthermore, adjunct faculty advance our educational mission by teaching courses at all levels within majors—introductory, overview or upper level—or by providing experiential expertise as field supervisors and mentors. In addition, they provide continuity when other faculty must leave campus due to emergencies or leaves.
In short, adjunct faculty make significant contributions that are different than those of term and tenure and tenure-track faculty. Adjunct faculty are essential to DePaul being able to offer a complete and comprehensive education to our students.
49. How do non-teaching expenditures benefit DePaul students?A: A significant driver of graduation rate increases in recent years is the support a student receives from outside the classroom. Advisors, support programs, counselors and other student support staff help to empower today’s students to succeed in the classroom and in the university environment. In addition, compliance and government regulation of higher education institutions has required universities to increase staff. Ultimately, all of this institutional support empowers DePaul to provide access to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend college and to succeed.
50. What “voice” do term and adjunct faculty have at DePaul?A: DePaul greatly values the contributions of its adjunct and term faculty, who are key to fulfilling the university’s educational mission, and is committed to providing them a voice as part of a rewarding and positive work environment. The Faculty Handbook identifies areas where term faculty participate in shared governance. Adjunct faculty members exercise their voice through the Workplace Environment Committee (WEC), an elected body that functions as a focused and responsive vehicle for voicing and resolving workplace concerns, and through participation in department and college meetings and service on representative bodies—though practices vary among schools and colleges. For example, adjunct faculty participate in the LAS Senate. It is worth noting that, if adopted, a collective bargaining agreement would supersede all of these structures for members of the bargaining unit, and would be the authoritative source for all decisions about topics included in the collective bargaining agreement. Faculty in the bargaining unit could no longer deal directly with the university, their department or their college on these issues.
51. What teaching support is there for term and adjunct faculty?A: Academic Affairs added two recognition and support opportunities for term and adjunct faculty at DePaul. The Quality of Instruction Council, known as QIC, established a Competitive Instructional Grant and Excellence in Teaching Award to complement already-established grants and awards for tenure-track and tenured professors. These two grants are open to term and part-time faculty who have taught at least four degree-credit courses at DePaul in each of the four preceding academic years and who are expected to teach at least four degree-credit courses in the academic year following the receipt of this grant. Please contact Academic Affairs for more information. In addition, term and adjunct faculty have access to The Teaching Commons, which provides course design, teaching, and professional development resources; the DePaul Online Teaching Series (DOTS); the Teaching and Learning Certificate Program; and more. Visit Adjunct Resources for additional teaching support tools.
52. When do we usually know if, or what, we are teaching the following year?A: Generally, the university asks adjunct faculty late in the winter quarter or early in the spring quarter about whether they wish to teach next year or teach new classes. We’ve received feedback from adjunct faculty that later winter/early spring is a good time to inquire about their plans for the following academic year. The university is developing a process to make multicourse contracts available for some adjuncts.
53. During budget cuts, how does DePaul make decisions on which term or adjunct faculty members to retain?A) There is no university-wide formula for determining how many faculty members teach each quarter. Teaching staffing needs are determined by individual academic units, colleges, schools, and departments, based on projected enrollments and students’ course requirements. Accordingly, at times one college might add course sections while another might schedule fewer. Generally, teaching personnel decisions are based on performance (as determined by factors that could include student evaluations, review of course materials, and peer observations), and seniority.