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University to increase adjunct pay

By Emily Williams, Assistant News Editor

Adjunct professor per-credit hour pay

The pay for Miami's adjunct faculty will increase up to 43 percent when the new rate of $1,000 per credit hour takes effect next semester. The faculty members affected are part-time instructors who are paid on a credit hour per course basis.

The pay raise was announced in Provost Phyllis Callahan's October newsletter. Callahan said the idea of raising the pay for adjunct faculty has been discussed in the past.

"I think it's been on the deans' minds for a year or two, so when I became provost we reexamined that issue in consultation with the deans," Callahan said. "The deans were all supportive and we made the change."

According to data from the Chronicle for Higher Education's Adjunct Project, the current average pay for Miami's adjuncts is below the national average, with some making as little as $700 per credit hour.

Next semester's pay raise will place Miami's rate, which will pay $3,000 for a three credit course, on par with the national median rate and slightly above the median rate of $2,700 among Ohio universities.

Miami's rate will also exceed the median rate of $2,925 at Ohio University and $2,900 at Kent State University, but trail the median $4,300 per course at the Ohio State University, according to the Adjunct Project.

Information from the Miami Office of Institutional Research indicates that the part-time faculty affected by this pay raise make up over 60 percent of the faculty at both regional campuses and about 20 percent at the main campus.

All three campuses have seen a slight decline in the number of part-time faculty members in the past several years. At Oxford's campus, the number of part-time faculty dropped from 265 in the spring of 2010 to 216 in 2015 while the number of full-time faculty rose from 827 to 907.

The regional campuses have both seen about a 9 percent decrease in part-time faculty with about 105 and 156 part time faculty members last semester, respectively.

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Callahan noted the importance of adjuncts' roles in Miami's academics.

"Our adjuncts play a really important role in our curriculum and are highly qualified," said Callahan. "We hire people who are highly qualified to teach for us, and in many cases they add dimensions that are important. In some schools, for example, they are working professionals."

According to the newsletter's announcement, the pay raise recognizes the contributions of adjunct faculty members.

"An increase in the pay rate is one of the ways we can acknowledge our appreciation for their dedication and loyalty to Miami University and our students," the announcement reads.

Curtis Dickerson, an adjunct professor at Miami's Middletown campus, said he was pleased with the news of the pay raise.

"When I found out about it, I was really excited," said Dickerson. "It ends up being quite a bit more than it is currently, so it's definitely an exciting development."

However, Dickerson also noted the inconsistency that can accompany the job. Although his pay will be raised per credit hour next semester, Dickerson found out he will only have two courses to teach instead of three.

"There's really no way to know how many sections you're going to have until the semester starts," Dickerson said. "And it's nobody's fault, really. It's an institutional problem."

The co-president of Miami's chapter of the American Association of University Professors, Keith Tuma, said he was encouraged by the news of the pay raise.

"I have the feeling that they're beginning to listen to us - I really do - not just on this issue but on a number of issues," said Tuma. "The faculty are energized at this point."