How much outside adjuncting is too much?
April 25, 2015 1:42 AM   Subscribe

(Posting anonymously because this is a sensitive workplace issue.) Academics, librarians, instructional technologists, and all other full-time, non-faculty folks in higher ed: does your workplace have rules or guidelines around how many adjunct courses full-time employees can pick up at other institutions? And what if these courses are during normal work hours -- do you allow flex-time?

This question pertains to people with full-time positions with benefits in higher ed. We know many of those employees (librarians, full-time lecturers, instructional technologists, IT staff, etc.) teach as adjuncts at other universities outside of normal work hours (night or weekend classes), and of course we have no right to control what folks do outside of their full-time job. However, we're starting to think about flexibility for those that might want to pick up a class during normal work hours, and it's a bit of a sticky wicket. Could we give people release time for half a day, with the understanding that they'll make it up elsewhere? Generally people have only picked up one adjunct class -- do we need hard guidelines that they can't pick up more than one during regular work hours? Has your workplace dealt with these issues?

To be clear, these employees already have a full-time position with good salary and benefits, and are interested in adjuncting on top of that. We exploring how to give some flexibility, but it seems like there's a line there: for example, asking for a full day off to teach two courses at another institution seems over the line, but that's an extreme example. I'd like to know if others have encountered this or have applicable policies.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At my institution full time employees are expected to be available during all weekday daytime hours - 8am-6pm basically. Any other work would have to take place outside of those hours.
posted by Cuke at 4:29 AM on April 25, 2015

I don't believe my university has any official stance on the topic. I suspect this does happen but gets worked out case by case. I can definitely imagine my current boss allowing flex time for such a scenario, whereas previous bosses at the same institution would never have even considered it.
posted by Stacey at 4:33 AM on April 25, 2015

My system disallows anything that interferes with normal workload, which would include flextime policies like this. (We're also required to report all outside income to the college.) However, we don't forbid the practice, either.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:41 AM on April 25, 2015

My university has a policy that you are to report all second income to them for approval.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:39 AM on April 25, 2015

At my institution we are flexible with full time staff (non faculty) teaching a class at our institution during normal hours, the ultimate decision is left up to the supervisor. Each situation is unique and care needs to be taken to avoid "double dipping".
Flex time for teaching at other institutions during business hours is not allowed and teaching at another institution in the evening while not explicitly forbidden is highly frowned upon.
posted by jmsta at 5:49 AM on April 25, 2015

I don't think my institution has a formal policy on this. I did have a full-time colleague who spent three years adjuncting on the side during the regular business day. AFAIK administration knew about it, but not the details. Not all of her peers knew about it - she suspected (and rightly so) it might ruffle some feathers.

Personally, I think the answer should be zero, but then I'm a continual part-time adjunct in one of the positions you describe without any job security or benefits who depends on cobbling together these single courses to make a living.
posted by invokeuse at 6:34 AM on April 25, 2015

I work for the University System of Georgia. Employees in any capacity of one campus are not allowed to adjunct (or do any other contract work) at any other campus. Period. I think it is an overly inflexible policy, but it is strictly enforced.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:04 AM on April 25, 2015

You might find this page useful. It looks like a pretty thorough analysis of conflicts of commitment at universities.

Faculty Employment Outside of the University: Conflicts of Commitment (2004)
posted by MsMolly at 8:11 AM on April 25, 2015

In psychology it is pretty common for departments to allow 20% outside university work during any time mostly due to the clinical and applied portions of departments but it is typically not restricted to only them.

Rules about time commitments for academics are a bit absurd. If you imposed a 40 hour work week attendance rule on the people I know you would likely halve their productivity by making it salient just how much unpaid extra work they do.
posted by srboisvert at 10:45 AM on April 25, 2015

Do your team have approved job plans? In my institution (which is slightly different due to clinical commitments as Srboisvert mentions) people have agreed job plans so say if somebody has a regular work commitment that runs into the evening, they have a specific half-day built into their plan to compensate. Admin and CPD time can be done from home, but is factored into the job plan.

Is that something that would work? Then supervisors could allow people specific flexible time but it would be rostered annually so everybody knows who is meant to be at work and when - no opportunities for sloping off or taking the piss.
posted by tinkletown at 1:30 PM on April 25, 2015

Has your workplace dealt with these issues? do we need hard guidelines that they can't pick up more than one during regular work hours?

My university just went through this... not with adjuncting, but with other side work. You absolutely, positively, need a firm policy about this. In our case, full time staff people were (allegedly) running a side business from their offices during work hours (and using state equipment to do it, which is another issue). It turned into a really ugly mess very quickly, and much of the mess was a lot of folks saying they didn't know what the policy was.

In general, our policy is if you're staff, your time during your assigned schedule is the university's to assign (meaning that you would have leeway for shifting hours if there's work that can be done outside of business hours - departmental admins, for example, are going to have a harder time with this than the compliance folks who can review documents whenever; this is also applied for folks who are taking classes under the tuition waiver, though of a lot of those folks do it on their lunch hour). Part of that can include time assigned for teaching at our university, which then usually gets written into people's job descriptions, but I've never heard of staff adjuncting for other schools during work hours. If you're faculty, of course, then you're exempt and it's just show up and teach your class and get your stuff done.

But whatever you go with, whatever the guidelines are, make sure they're clear, distributed in writing, and that your employees have to sign off in writing or electronically that they understand the policy.
posted by joycehealy at 5:01 PM on April 25, 2015

Yes, we have a hardline university policy about this. It applies to both faculty and staff.

Key points:
-Duty to the university comes first and outside activities are seconded to that duty (in fact, the policy later requires that such activities be limited to no more than one day out of seven and scheduling must be arranged around primary job duties)
-Prior written notification of all consulting/adjuncting/other paid jobs to the dean of the appropriate college is required

There's a lot more. It's a six-page document (our leave policy is shorter!). If you would like to read the policy, MeMail me and I'll send you the link.

I would strongly suggest that your institution come up with solid policies covering adjuncting and other paid work.* Far better to have a policy to refer to than to let individual supervisors or department chairs decide (shudder).

In general, a full time employee asking for release time to work a job at another institution seems highly problematic to me. If the issue is money (if even your full timers are flat broke), then enacting a policy like this has the potential to become highly contentious fast. Shared governance is so fun.

*Do keep in mind the other paid work. I work with business professors who consult for major Fortune 500 companies. That, too, is covered under our policy.
posted by librarylis at 10:34 PM on April 25, 2015

In my last academic job, flex time could be used to teach day courses as an adjunct for additional income beyond the full-time job at home institution, but any adjunct teaching at other institutions had to be after normal business hours.
posted by hworth at 9:19 AM on April 26, 2015

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