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June 2020


Adjunct update: The good, the bad, the ugly revisited
Kim Ng Southard


  NYT 4/5/20 article on middle-class families looking to community colleges due to pandemic
While the pandemic has exacerbated the financial issues at the college, people are predicting that more middle-class families will consider enrolling their children at a local community college to keep them close to home and safe. Above is a headline from the April 5, 2020, New York Times on this subject.

I hope you have recovered and rested somewhat now that spring 2020 is officially over. What a semester! The pandemic changed the way we ordinarily complete our assignments and deliver instruction as the college went remote in March. Many of you were faced with tough issues due to the Covid-19 crisis, and some still are dealing with them.

Yet, you, the adjuncts, stood up to the task and remotely completed your spring 2020 assignments and courses to do your part. The FA continues to be proud to have you as members and thanks you all for your efforts.

The title of this update is inspired by Kevin McCoy’s June 2017 WORD article "Getting assignments: The good, the bad, the ugly," an article in which he discusses the good as the nation recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, the bad as low enrollment due to the better economy where students choose to go to work instead of college and the ugly as adjuncts were getting fewer or no assignments as a result.

He also covers tips for getting assignments and information on filing for unemployment when adjuncts do not receive any assignments. I encourage you to read or revisit this article as the information may still be relevant to you, though the good, the bad and the ugly have somewhat changed in form in June 2020.

Now, the good is that our contract was passed by the Suffolk County Legislature with a vote of 15-3 on May 19. Adjuncts can expect a raise in salary and more professional development funding:

Effective with the start of the spring 2020 semester, the adjunct/overload rate schedule shall be increased by an additional 2% at each rank. Effective with the start of the spring 2021 semester, the adjunct/overload rate schedule shall be increased by an additional 2.5% at each rank. Effective with the start of the spring 2022 semester, the adjunct/overload rate schedule shall be increased by an additional 2.5% at each rank.

Effective February 1, 2020, the college shall increase the annual funding of the Adjunct Faculty Development Fund to $30,000, of which no more than $15,000 will be awarded in the Spring 2020 semester.

The FA will work incessantly to hold the college to this contract.

While this is great news, the bad news is that the college is still suffering due to the pandemic. The college still remains closed to the public and most faculty. Summer classes are all online, as are most of the summer assignments. Administration announced that it expects a 7% decrease in enrollment next semester and still has not announced whether the college will fully be remote in the fall. So, adjuncts need to prepare to complete fall assignments online should the college decide on remote learning and remain closed. State aid will be cut, administration will have to make cuts to keep the college afloat and there is still no vaccine available yet to combat Covid-19.

If the above news sounds dreadful, the ugly news sounds even worse. Adjuncts may suffer due to low enrollment and the ever-present Covid-19. Fewer assignments have been offered, and classes may be cancelled due to anticipation of 7% of the students not returning in the fall. Members' health & safety is a priority to the FA so please contact me or Kevin McCoy, chair of the FA health & safety committee, if you fall into a high-risk category or have vulnerable health issues. Those who do risk coming back to campus may have to worry about health costs if infected. Finally, adjuncts must deal with the stress of the unknown ways the administrative budget cuts may affect them.

However, there is hope. Some studies show that enrollment may in fact go up as noted recently by The Hechinger Report: "One in 10 high school seniors who were planning to attend a four-year college or university before the pandemic have also already made alternative plans, and nearly half of those have said they will enroll at a community college, Simpson Scarborough reports."     

The FA also has created a health and safety committee to protect the safety of our members during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as an adjunct task force that solely will deal with adjunct issues at the college. The FA health and safety committee already has created a resolution that was unanimously passed by our Executive Council that the college should be closed to students and the public until September 1 to prevent more spread of the virus on our campuses.

As the summer break continues, the FA reminds you to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Prepare yourself for remote business in the fall, just in case. The FA has shared several Blackboard tutorials for faculty as well as free instructions for you to share with your students, and there are several Blackboard tutorials scheduled for the summer (these tutorials were sent via SCCC email on May 19, so check your email if you are interested). Non-instructional faculty should keep in contact with their supervisors and ask or offer ways to remotely complete their fall assignments if the college remains closed.

Feel free to contact me at or 631-451-4151 if you have any concerns regarding seniority, your assignments or other questions you may have regarding the union.

I wish you all moments of peace and rest during this summer break. Be well.