Contingent Faculty FAQs
Contingent Faculty Professional Development and Expectation FAQs
Do contingent faculty have access to RESEARCH and/or TRAVEL funds, or to BCLA internal grants?
- Travel funding for contingent faculty varies by department and is not guaranteed by the College. Within a department or program, there may be different policies for clinical, visiting, and part-time faculty. Check with your department chair or program director to confirm the availability and the amount of these funds.
- If funding is available to you, be sure to fill out a BCLA Travel Request Form to receive pre-approval before making arrangements. Note also that original receipts and a BCLA Travel Expense Report are always required for reimbursement and must be turned into the dean’s office within seven days of completion.
- Currently only tenured and tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply for BCLA’s internal grants and awards; however, clinical faculty are eligible to apply for travel grants sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE).
Are CLASSROOM OBSERVATION and PEER EVALUATION available to contingent faculty?
- While not required by the college, contingent faculty members are encouraged and, in some departments, required to invite their chairs or colleagues to observe their courses and evaluate their teaching abilities. Ask your department chair or program director for more information about their specific policies regarding observation and evaluation.
- An information packet that includes guidelines and a PEER OBSERVATION FORM has been developed for use by the CTE and the Committee on the Comprehensive Evaluation of Teaching (CCTE).
What other opportunities for PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT are available to contingent faculty?
- The Center for Teaching Excellence aims to help all faculty members develop their teaching expertise. It offers a variety of programs and services, including workshops, presentations, consultations and travel grants, as well as numerous aimed especially at new and contingent faculty. It also hosts Part-time Faculty Orientation each semester.
- Each month, a junior faculty member presents his/her research at the Junior Faculty Seminar, which is open to all non-tenured faculty from all disciplines. Free lunch is served and the purpose is as much social as scholarly. For more information and to be added to the mailing list, email Emily Jarvis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Each week, faculty members gather in the Collins Faculty Center for the Friday Faculty Colloquia an event sponsored by the Office of Faculty Development, where LMU faculty share their current work and research findings with their colleagues in an informal setting over free lunch. While contingent faculty do not present in this venue, they are welcome to attend. RSVP to email@example.com.
- A new networking and support group, the LMU Contingent Faculty Network, has formed on campus. Its mission is to invite and facilitate communication amongst contingent faculty for the purpose of building social relationships, to support each other’s continued professional development, and to invite a more open and collaborative campus dialogue about the role of Contingent Faculty at LMU.
- Contingent faculty members are free to make use of department stationary and letterhead for the purposes of official correspondence such as job applications, external grant/fellowship applications and student letters of recommendation. Ask your Administrative Assistant where to find these supplies.
Are contingent faculty permitted to attend departmental FACULTY MEETINGS or to sit on departmental or college-wide COMMITTEES?
- Please consult with your Department Chair to determine your expected level of participation in departmental meetings. Although some clinical faculty members may be required to attend department meetings, other contingent faculty members typically are not. Most departments specify in their bylaws whether contingent faculty members are invited to attend meetings and to participate in votes regarding “general departmental matters” aside from rank and tenure issues (See Section 1, Part S, Point 8, Letter b of the Faculty Handbook for further details), but practices vary widely across BCLA.
- Contingent faculty are typically exempt from serving on committees, either at the departmental or college-wide level; however, this policy and practice has recently begun to change and opportunities for committee service have now opened up on the BCLA Contingent Faculty Hiring Committee and the BCLA Shared Governance Task Force.
What responsibilities do contingent faculty members have with respect to STUDENT ADVISING?
- Contingent faculty members typically have no official student advising responsibilities; however, students will often consult with you informally on a variety of academic issues and ask for letters of recommendation (for which you should receive a written request from the student in order to comply with FERPA). Therefore, you are encouraged to familiarize yourself with general departmental policies and standards, which may be found in the LMU Bulletin. You should also refer students to Department Chairs, undergraduate or graduate advisers, or your department’s Student Ambassador for more detailed advising information.
Can contingent faculty participate in STUDY ABROAD programs?
- The Study Abroad Office “encourages full-time faculty to consider teaching in Study Abroad programs and contributing their personal expertise and ideas with the aim of enriching our Study Abroad offerings.” Occasionally this includes clinical or visiting faculty, when they have particular disciplinary expertise. If you are interested in participating in a Study Abroad program, discuss it with your Department Chair or Program Director, then contact the Study Abroad Office. Click here to access the faculty application guidelines and for the application form.
Do contingent faculty members participate in governance as members of the FACULTY SENATE?
- There is currently no contingent faculty representation in the faculty senate, though it is under consideration.
What SPECIAL EVENTS are contingent faculty members expected to attend?
- Full-time contingent faculty members are required to attend the BCLA Dean’s Convocation, the Provost’s Convocation and the President’s Convocation, all of which take place at convo hours during fall semester, and to participate in Commencement exercises at the end of spring semester.
- All contingent faculty members are warmly invited but not required to participate in the Mass of the Holy Spirit, which takes place at noon on a Tuesday or Thursday in September (and for which you must excuse your students early so that they may attend), as well as in the Commencement Liturgy on the evening before Commencement in May.
- Part-time faculty members are warmly invited to attend or participate in all of these events, but are not required to do so.
What are the differences in TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT and BENEFITS ELIGIBILITY for Part-Time, Visiting and Clinical faculty members employed in the BCLA?
- Please consult the Faculty Handbook (Section 1, Parts C and D) for descriptions and definitions of “Term Faculty” (including Instructor, Senior Instructor, Visiting Professorial Rank, and Clinical Faculty) and of “Part-Time Faculty” (including Lecturer, Adjunct Professor and Teaching Assistant). You may also refer to this table of Employee Classifications to learn more about each group’s eligibility for benefits and parking permit rate. Note that part-time faculty members typically do not teach more than two courses per semester, while term faculty members who are appointed to full-time positions typically teach four courses per semester.
What types of LEAVE (e.g., emergency, bereavement, personal) are available to contingent faculty?
- If any contingent faculty member finds it necessary to be absent from class because of an emergency or illness, s/he should notify the Department Chair and/or the Dean as soon as s/he is able in order to make necessary arrangements.
- Only a full-time (e.g., visiting, clinical) faculty member, who has 12 months’ employment with the University and has worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period, may be entitled to 12 weeks unpaid leave for the following purposes, as defined by the federal and California state government (for more details see the Faculty Handbook (Section 5, Part L)).
- Family bonding with the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child
- Family care for a seriously ill child, parent, spouse or domestic partner
- Medical leave for the faculty member’s own serious medical condition
- Military exigency leave or California state military caregiver leave
- Pregnancy disability leave (up to 16 weeks unpaid leave)
- Court and other judicial appearance leave, such as jury duty (also required for part-time faculty)
- Personal and other non-medical leave (up to one year unpaid leave, under exceptional circumstances)
- Full-time contingent faculty members are also eligible to receive Short Term Disability/Family Medical Leave through the university in conjunction with state disability insurance and/or paid family leave.
- Five days of paid leave is available in the case of a death in the immediate family of a contingent faculty member, and one day of paid leave is available in the case of a close family member.
- “To the extent that part-time or adjunct faculty qualify for statutory leave, they will be entitled to such leave as provided by law,” but they are not covered by the “Faculty Family Medical Leave Policies” laid out in the Faculty Handbook (Section 5, Part L, Point 1, Letter A).
How do contingent faculty members find out whether or not their CONTRACTS will be RENEWED?
- BCLA issues part-time contracts on a semester-by-semester basis and full-time, non-Clinical contracts on either a semester-by-semester or yearly basis. Note that a Visiting faculty member may remain with a department for a maximum of two years, though exceptions may be made for a third year at the recommendation of the department. In contrast, except for Clinical Instructors (who receive one-year appointments with the possibility of renewal), Clinical faculty members are usually issued multi-year contracts (up to five consecutive years) that are able to be renewed. Because these contracts are understood to end at the closing of the semester or school year(s) to which they pertain, there is no obligation on the part of the university to send a “Notice of Non-reappointment.” Contingent faculty members of all types should not assume they will be re-appointed to teach in subsequent semesters or school years unless they have been notified by their Department Chair that this is the case.