By Ken Johnson, Staff Writer
Lecturers have been increasing in numbers over the years, and some wonder how their working conditions compare to tenure-track professors and how fair they are. So far, the conditions are noticeably different.
There are over 200 lecturers at the University of New Hampshire right now, according to Sarah Hirsch, lecturer in Spanish and president of UNH Lecturers United-AAUP.
“Because of that rapid growth, there has been a lot of confusion about what policies affect us and which ones don’t,” Hirsch said.
One of the issues is that the different colleges at UNH have developed different ways of handling workloads, length of appointments, promotions and termination policies, Hirsch said.
“There’s a lot of variance from college to college, and even within colleges there is a lot of variance like in [College of Liberal Arts], for example, there are very different polices if you look at my department, LLC, verses like the history department or communications,” Hirsch said.
Some colleges have policies regarding promotion for lecturers, some don’t, Hirsch said.
There is lack of uniformity or consistency within workloads for lecturers as well, Hirsch said. She said some lecturers will teach four classes and some will teach only two.
Service is also an issue, according to Hirsch.
“Do we, for example, advise students? Do we advise programs? Some colleges say no, some say yes,” Hirsch said. “Do lecturers serve on committees? Do lecturers have a vote in the governance of their department or college or in the faculty senate?” The faculty senate is currently debating if lecturers should have representation within the faculty senate right now, Hirsch said. One ad hoc lecturer, Anna Sandstrum a lecturer in French, has been allowed to attend because of the debate but is not able to vote in the senate, Hirsch said.
“That is a faculty governance matter in the purview of the faculty senate,” said Erika Mantz, director of UNH Media Relations.
“We teach more classes than a tenure-track professor, typically,” Hirsch said. “Our main mission on this campus is to teach.”
Hirsch said that lecturers can do more than teach depending on the college they work in.
“Lecturers in [College of Life Sciences and Agriculture] do a lot of service, they run laboratories, they monitor [teaching assistants], they advise students — it really depends on what college you are in,” Hirsch said.
“At UNH there are different types of paid faculty appointments [adjunct, clinical, extension, lecturers, tenure-track and visiting],” Mantz said. “Each appointment carries with it different expectations, responsibilities, salaries and benefits eligibility. Lecturer responsibilities are focused primarily upon teaching while tenure-track faculty carry with them the responsibility for teaching, scholarship and service.
“The overarching job expectations and career paths are the same across colleges and departments, but there is great variation in the specifics among fields.”
“We don’t have any sense of being adversarial [to tenure-track faculty] or anything like that. In fact the contrary is true; we want to get the same recognition or equitable recognition that they do,” Hirsch said.
Promotions are a big deal for lecturers but not all have the same opportunity to get one.
“There are [promotions for lecturers] in COLA,” Hirsch said. “I don’t think outside of COLA it’s a common practice, although I think it’s starting to catch on. I think I’ve heard wind of some promotions in Paul College and COLSA and actually I know of one in Manchester that just got promoted.”
“A lecturer can be promoted to senior lecturer. Lecturers are also free to apply for other faculty positions as they become available,” Mantz said.
“At the moment in COLA you can be a lecturer … and then after 10 years you can be what’s called a senior lecturer and then after 15 years you can be a Murkland lecturer,” Hirsch said.
Job security is also different between tenure and lecture positions.
“[Tenure-track faculty and lecturers] are two different positions, and tenure brings with it the strongest form of job security rights,” Mantz said. “Nevertheless, UNH is blessed with many lecturers who have long service. Over 50 percent of UNH’s lecturers have been employed for over three years. Forty-two percent have been employed as lecturers at UNH for over five years, 22 percent have served over 10 years as lecturers.”
Lecturers at UNH, UNH-Manchester and Paul College are a part of UNH Lecturers United-AAUP bargaining unit. Lecturers in the Confucius Institute and UNH School of Law are not in the UNH Lecturers United-AAUP.