Nexus reporter Sarah Gorback did a good job describing lecturer concerns in her recent article, “Part-Time Faculty Seeks Increase in Wages, Expedient Negotiations” (Oct. 30). But I had trouble with the headline for this article, especially with the word “part-time.”
As Ms. Gorback indicates in her article, I, Nick Tingle, have worked at UCSB for 20 years. How can that be “part-time?” It seems a little like saying that, just because a person has to die some day, they are only alive “part-time.” But maybe I wasn’t clear with Ms. Gorback.
Many lecturers, like myself, have not only worked a decade or longer at UCSB, they have also worked on either yearly or three-year contracts at 100 percent time. We teach full loads, on average nine courses a year. By that definition we are not “part-time” either, unless we define all persons working for hourly wages or on contracts as “part-time.”
More importantly, the perception that lecturers are part-time is at the core of the University’s inability to deal with the labor situation of lecturers in a fair and equitable manner. Because we are perceived as “part-time,” there seems no need to address or rationally respond to lecturers’ working conditions. Personally, I think the University should take time out for a “reality check.” Lecturers or other “part-time” people teach about 50 percent of all undergraduate courses in the UC system. They are essential to the UC’s educational mission, and they have been essential to it for over 20 years.
Or have I missed the whole point? Could it be that UC system thinks that anybody who teaches is necessarily part-time? That’s a troubling thought for me, as a teacher. And it should be, too, for students in the UC system.