Contingent Faculty Access to Essential Services

In recent years, contingent faculty have sometimes been suddenly cut off from having access to a number of essential services (email, library, Canvas, direct deposit, grading, etc.) at the end of their contract periods. Apparently, such faculty were designated as being “terminated” within the University of Minnesota’s PeopleSoft system. The effect of these sudden changes has been to hurt faculty members’ ability to communicate with students, complete their academic duties that extend beyond the formal contract period, and work on their upcoming courses.

In response, we faculty members and organizers working with MN Academics United created an open letter in November 2017 calling on the university to find a solution to this problem, and we collected the signatures of over 350 university community members (mostly faculty, graduate students, and staff) by the end of the calendar year. The issue had also been raised in faculty governance in a number of contexts, and in late February the Office of Human Resources, Faculty and Academic Affairs sent a note to “University Chancellors, Deans, and Vice Presidents, with a copy to HR Leads” explaining that the office was working on the problem.

Apparently, in mid-April (around the 18th), unit administrators received lists of part-time instructors and were directed to work with payroll staff to have these instructors listed as active employees in PeopleSoft (using a new “I” category), allowing them to retain full access to these vital resources. If you are currently facing these problems, you should now have recourse to solutions. However, if working with collegiate payroll staff or department heads is not proving productive, please feel free to get in touch with us and we will help however we can.

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