Community College Articles

Article Coronavirus

The changeover at Allan Hancock College
Challenges and rewards of teaching online

By Mark James Miller

Even before Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-at-home order, Allan Hancock College was gearing up to meet the challenges the COVID-19 virus presents to an institution of higher learning.

For faculty and students, this new normal brings with it many issues regarding how best to continue the mission of education — providing the students with the highest quality of instruction — while trying to remain free of the virus and maintain social distancing.

Article Online College

Has Calbright lost its legislative support?
Senators take online college to task in February 13 hearing

It may have taken over two years, but the Calbright online community college has apparently lost any support it might have enjoyed in the state Legislature when the CFT first warned about the potential for failure. In December 2017, Jim Mahler, president of the CFT Community College Council, sent a seminal letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, Calbright’s main promoter, pointing out key flaws in its proposed structure.

Article Part-time faculty Lecturers Librarians

Finding “common ground” in higher education
Campus Equity Week conference brings together contingent faculty from all higher ed systems

Members, officers, and activists from higher education unions throughout California came together for a full day during Campus Equity Week to chart a strategy for defending public higher education. They denounced especially the way education institutions, under corporate pressure, increasingly rely on contingent instructors while treating them as outsiders.

Article Part-time faculty Labor Solidarity

Part-timer takes the helm at State Center Federation of Teachers

One of the great powers of a union is its ability to uplift the living conditions and status of its members, not just at the bargaining table, but within the structure of the union itself — when the seemingly most marginalized members assume leadership roles.

In local unions representing all faculty, there has been a recent trend of the membership electing a part-time faculty member to lead the union, with significant support from the full-timers. There is perhaps no better example of this, though he might be reluctant himself to say so, than Keith Ford.

Governor signs loan forgiveness bill, vetoes paid maternity leave
From the Capitol – On the cusp of good things for part-timers

Budgetarily, it’s been a tough year for winning greater gains for part-timers in Sacramento, but with regard to legislation which CFT succeeded in getting to the governor’s desk, and for legislation already in the wings for next year, part-timers are on the edge of good things.

Article Part-time faculty

What I learned in my research of the “Involuntary Adjunct”

By Bobbi-Lee Smart, Cerritos Faculty Federation

My dissertation research focused on the perceptions of the impact of adjuncts on community college campuses in Southern California. I specifically wanted to understand the reality of involuntary adjuncts — those whose who want full-time tenure track jobs, couldn’t get a position, so worked as “full-time” adjuncts (those whose adjunct work is the majority or entirety of their income).

The key findings of my research and interviews follow.

Article Part-time faculty AFT Local Action

Freeway Flyers: Local action & quick news
Salary comparison, part-timer conference, celebrity part-timers

Los Angeles adjunct becomes chair of California Democratic Party

Rusty Hicks, known to the larger California public as the newly elected leader of the California Democratic Party, is known to the students of the Los Angeles Community College District and the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, Local 1521, by another title since 2016 — Adjunct Instructor of Labor Studies.

Article Online College

CFT takes bold next step in opposition to statewide online community college
Union to sue CalBright for violations of Education Code

Duplicating existing programs. Diverting taxpayer resources. Recruiting students from other districts. Not meeting critical deadlines. Lack of input from faculty stakeholders. Lack of transparency.

These are some of the reasons  leaders from the CFT’s Community College Council strongly oppose the state’s new all online community college, now doing business as “Calbright,” which they say was created to fill a need that doesn’t exist.

Article Labor art

How unionizing the Lusty Lady has influenced faculty members
Novelist and poet works to organize faculty in creative departments

When Aya de León started as a lecturer in African American Studies at UC Berkeley and director of its Poetry for the People program, she was excited to join AFT Local 1474. She’s been working since she was a teenager, de León says, but this is the first job where she has a union to represent her.

When she was younger, the idea of being in a local seemed very adult to her, and now being a member of one makes her feel she has arrived, she says. That’s just one reason she’s excited to be a union member.

Article Online College

CFT calls out critical problems in launch of online college 

On Monday, July 15, CFT President Jeff Freitas testified before the Board of Trustees of CalBright, California’s new online-only community college, sharing CFT’s continuing concerns with the launch of the college.

During his testimony, Freitas detailed several key areas that the online college has failed to meet its obligations and the law. Due to the serious nature of the violations, CFT is considering all legal options should the college not change course.

Article Part-time faculty

AB 897: Raising the cap and reducing freeway flying

FIRST PERSON | By Geoff Johnson

The term “freeway flyer” has for years been synonymous with California part-time community college teachers. Since 1968, California part-timers have been legally restricted to teaching a faction of a full-time load in a given community college district, and then generally paid only for their instructional hours.

The rationale for this rule was that it allowed administrators more flexibility to deal with the drop in student sections from the fall to spring semesters, and at the same time, a way to get out of paying healthcare and retirement benefits.

Delegates reaffirm support for part-time faculty voice in shared governance

While the issues of pay inequity, the lack of job security, and access to health benefits are major challenges that plague part-time faculty —collegiality, inclusion, and connection with their campuses and fellow faculty are also important for a part-time faculty member’s long-term involvement with a particular institution.

Key to increasing adjunct involvement and connection in the California community colleges is increasing both the opportunities for and compensation of part-time faculty participation in shared governance.

Article Part-time faculty

Paid maternity leave: AB 500 empowers female educators, staff and their families

Pregnancy is a medical condition that requires women to take time off either to deal with the pregnancy itself and potential complications, to recover from child birthing, or bond with a child, which often requires far more than a just the few weeks that many female adjuncts may have in accumulated sick leave. It is not an illness, like a cold, nor a disability like throwing out your back. It is a temporary disability specific to women and needs to be treated as such.

Article Local Action Part-time faculty

Freeway Flyers: Local action & quick news
Contract gains and remembering Sam Russo

North Orange County adjunct faculty score rehire gains

After a long and protracted negotiations process which started in January of 2017 and went to fact-finding this January, Adjunct Faculty United, representing part-time faculty in the North Orange County Community College District, were able to secure an agreement from the district after separating contract negotiations, from negotiations over rehire rights driven by the passage of CFT-sponsored SB 1379.

Article Part-time faculty Student debt

Student loan forgiveness: Bill aims to help part-time faculty in California
AFT wants to hear from those denied application

Update: AB 463 has passed both the California Senate and Assembly and is currently on the Governor’s desk. He has until October 13 to sign or veto the legislation.

Presently working its way through the Assembly, AB 463, Cervantes, D-Riverside, seeks to make it easier for California part-time community college instructors to gain eligibility for the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.