I’m disappointed with myself. At a recent faculty meeting, we were discussing the creation of a new group to discuss faculty concerns on our small, two-year campus. In the draft proposal, adjunct faculty members were to be a part of this new group. At the meeting, from the back of the room, someone said, “I don’t think we should include adjuncts in this group. We’re the ones who have to bear all the responsibility, not them.”
With my history as an advocate for adjunct inclusion, I should have spoken up. It pains me to write this now, but I said nothing. One reason I remained silent is because I knew we wouldn’t make any final decisions about the proposal, so I had some time to get my thoughts together. Also, this comment from the back was a bit out of sync with the unsettled conversation at hand, so I knew we wouldn’t stay on the subject long. If I’m honest with readers here, and with myself, I have to admit that I also didn’t say anything because of my own insecurities.
I’m new here and I’m new as a full-time faculty member. I’ve never met the person who suggested leaving out adjuncts and I don’t want to step on too many toes right off the bat. I also don’t want my colleagues to see me as a difficult person to get along with. As I’m writing this, I realize those aren’t very good reasons, hence my disappointment with myself.
I should have said that tenure-track faculty members aren’t the only ones who bear responsibility if we hold adjunct faculty members responsible for what happens in their classrooms. Adjunct faculty members need to be part of decision-making groups if we want to have a knowledgeable group of faculty members to teach our students. As long as we put adjuncts in front of students and say, “teach,” then we need to include them in the decisions of the departments they work in.
I didn’t say any of that. I just sat there. I’ve never thought of myself as a sheep. From now on, I need to speak up when the situation demands it.