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A Texas Jr. College Primer By Lyman Grant Austin Most people know that our schools use language strangely, especially in their use of obfuscation and euphemism. During the last four years that I have been at Austin Community College trying to teach my students grammar, I have also been trying to teach myself the meanings of all sorts of curious words and phrases that I had never heard or seen before. For instance, I teach fulltime in a division called Parallel Studies, euphemism for developmental studies. Developmental studies, for those who do not know, is a euphemism for remedial studies. Austin Community Colege also has a Learning Resource Center, which is what most of us call a library. Learning the dozens of strange words floating about the college almost requires a workshop with hands-on material. Yet all of these words are necessary, we are told, to emphasize the new directions community colleges are taking. One of the most curious terms is something called “full-time faculty.” In community colleges the number of teachers hired only part-time has grown so much that the word “faculty” is no longer enough. Now we say “full-time faculty” is a retroym similar to “real butter,” “raw milk,” and “fresh squ7eezed juice.” And just as the shelves of any supermarket will show that margarine, pasteurized milk, and orange drink are more prevalent, so in most community colleges the part-time faculty outnumber their full-time colleagues. Thus, this odd use of our language reflects an even stranger practice, and an exploitative one, in our community colleges. This new direction surprises some people. It certainly surprised me. When I was completing my master’s degree, no one told me that I was preparing to teach part-time. They told me there were no jobs, but they were wrong. There were plenty of jobs just part-time. For instance, last spring Austin Community College employed 519 part-time instructors, over two thirds of the teaching staff. The Dallas Community Colleges employed 2,775 part-timers, and Houston Community College employed 1,200. Of the 47 community colleges in Texas, 19 employ as many part-time as two to one. At two others the ratio is four to one. Nor is this phenomenon peculiar to Texas. Nationally, part-time teachers count for 51% of the faculty in community colleges, and the number is growing every year. The use of part-time instructors is not really new. For decade colleges and universities have relied on a few local parttime teachers to staff classes temporarily in emergency cases and occasionally to staff classes requiring teachers with highly specialized training. The new direction is the over-use of part-timers, a trend that began in the late sixties and swelled in the seventies. A study by the American Association of University Professors found that between 1972 and 1977 the number of parttime teachers grew at a 50% rate while full-time faculty grew 9%. Jack Friedlander, of the Center for the Study of Community Colleges, estimates that the growth in the use of part-time faculty between 1971 and 1977 was closer to 140%. One does not have to look long to find the reason part-time faculty are so popular: like migrant workers, part-timers are cheap. Austin Community College pays part-time instructors $924 per threecredit hour course per semester. Teaching experience and number of degrees mean nothing; an inexperienced teacher with a bachelor’s degree makes the same as a Ph.D with 20 years’ experience. The nine-month salary of full-time faculty, which takes experience and education into account, ranges from $15,451 to $27,051. Considering that full-time faculty teach ten courses in nine months, they receive from $1,545 to $2,705 per course. Thus, the college saves at least $600 per course taught. In addition, the college saves by giving no benefits to part-time instructors: no multi-term contracts, no health or life insurance, no sick leave, no paid holidays. Yet Austin Community College is not particularly stingy with its part-time faculty. It pays more per course than twothirds of the other Texas community colleges. It is one of a few that pay teachers for longevity at the college. At 39 Texas community colleges, part-time teachers get nothing beyond base pay. Obviously, colleges are saving money. With an “innovative” administration, they save even more. One ex-dean, Jim Hammons, now of the University of Arkansas, proudly explained how it’s done. In one article he wrote, “It didn’t take long to realize what many another dean of instruction already knew: that parttime faculty cost less. . . . It was not necessary to buy furniture or to maintain an office for them. Little, if any, operating budget expenditures were incurred for travel, secretarial services, postage, duplicating, telephone, media or other items encumbered each time I employed a new full-time faculty member. . . . I realized additional savings with largerthan-average class sizes in courses taught by part-time faculty and in re’ duced cost in supervision.” I have probably read that statement a hundred times, but each time I am shocked anew at how blatantly exploitative it is. Yet I might not be so troubled if this issue were so simple as saying that across the nation the majority of community college teachers are being exploited. I might even believe the administrators when they say the over-use of part-time instructors is economically necessary. The administrators go further, however, claiming that the college benefits by hiring from the community professionals, who do not want to teach full-time, to teach a course or two or three. Theirs can be a powerful argument, and when I began teaching part-time at ACC, I believed it. When I was parttime, I became president of the Part-time Faculty Association, and I spoke often about how the college benefited from having a faculty of part-time teachers who daily worked throughout the city, how this condition, in fact, made us a true community college, and how our teachers were involved in the city and the city involved in the school. I even attempted to compare our educational setup with the approach of fifth-century Athens where higher education was built more on the interaction of citizens than on structured curricula and a well-paid faculty. Knowing I had no formal power, I thought I could reason with the president of the college by warning that in treating the part-time faculty badly he was treating the community badly. I thought what I said was true, and I thought I was promoting superior education by saying it. Not until I became full-time and, by a strange turn of events, acting-division chairperson for seven months, did I realize what a half-truth I and the rest of the college believed. What is more, I 10 JUNE 4, 1982