Summary of AEI Situation

9/18/2013: Update from an anon correspondent:

Summary of AEI Situation

AEI Background: A majority of international undergraduate students pass through one American English Institute (AEI) program or another. AEI collaborates with other departments to enhance the international students’ academic success, and to a large degree, the students’ future academic success depends on their success in AEI. Currently, the AEI adjunct faculty—who all have at least a Masters Degree—get paid a floor of about $30k per academic year, working up to 60+ hours per week and do not receive vacation time. Additionally, many faculty don’t have the ability to develop an area of specialty within the context of teaching English because their courses change regularly, often term to term. It’s not uncommon for an adjunct instructor to change rooms during a class or change buildings.

Current crisis: Adjunct faculty, in most recent past practice, have been awarded nine-month contracts for the academic year. However, for our current 2013-14 academic year, adjuncts are reporting that they are being awarded three-month contracts. Additionally, four adjunct faculty did not receive notice of their contract renewal. The lack of communication from AEI administration concerning contracts only compounds this problem. Of the four who did not receive notice of their contracts, the following is true for three of the four non-renewals for whom we have information.

A.    The non-renewals were:

1.     Without cause or the reasons given were contradictory to evidence

2.     Towards the end of summer session, right before the fall session

3.     Semi-formally or even informally given by management

4.     Outside of the evaluation process

B.    At least two of these cases are special in that the faculty members were:

1.     Union activists

2.     Not given a reason for their non-renewal

C.    These faculty had positive evaluations (both student and departmental).

The administration claims to be unable to furnish faculty’s own evaluations to them in a timely manner upon request.

Response to Crisis: The Administration’s argument, when the bargaining team confronted them during bargaining session, was that they wanted to maintain flexibility to ensure that instructors “are committed” to the University of Oregon.

What is commitment, if not someone who: has invested in an advanced degree, who has moved to Eugene from out of state, has commuted one hour each direction every day for five years to teach, has moved their family to Eugene, has devoted 50-60 hours per week for the benefit of the students, community, and the University of Oregon?