Lecturers, You Belong Here!

Dear faculty, 

It is not uncommon in Faculty Development to receive emails from lecturers asking for clarification about whether the programs and events that FDEV offers are open to lecturers or not. 

I always found those emails and questions incredibly strange: “why wouldn’t they be open to lecturers, I wonder, since lecturers are faculty?” 

Talking to colleagues who are lecturers and asking for clarification, however, I came to realize that this question really hides a more nuanced and problematic concern. What lecturers are really asking me is: am I welcome to these programs, as a lecturer

Frankly, this more complex reading of the question has both humbled me tremendously and broken my heart, because this concern ultimately sheds light on the fact that several lecturers do not feel like they belong at our institution. And this is the part that is particularly hard to digest as faculty development director. There is a quote in this article (“Striking a Major Blow to Adjunctification”) that matches this sentiment: “After moving to the city’s Eastside, I worked as an adjunct for three years. I commuted an hour north to a beautiful, prosperous, hypermodern campus, where I squatted in a borrowed office to eat my lunch, make my lesson plans and meet my students, as is common for contingent faculty. (One semester, a kind administrator advised me to squat in the conference room instead, though I had to hide my belongings in the filing cabinet when real faculty needed the space).” (Wyman, 2021). 

I want to assure you that in Faculty Development we consider all faculty as “real faculty,” and while lecturers certainly face different experiences depending on Departments, Colleges, disciplines, etc., Faculty Development offers a space where every faculty belongs, independently of rank or other factors. For this reason, I am excited to announce a number of FDEV resources and initiatives to support lecturers: 

  1. Faculty Development will be offering a Friday Forum on lecturer resources and support on Friday, October 29th, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. This is a chance to hear about resources on campus available from different units and offices. 
  2. The November issue of the FDEV Zine will entirely be dedicated to lecturers’ information, conversations, and sense of belonging. The Zine will be released on Monday, November 1st. 
  3. Faculty Development has committed funding to create a lecturer mentor position for spring 2022. A call for applications will come out in the next week or so. 
  4. Faculty Development has also committed to planning a full-day lecturer academy event in spring 2022, in collaboration with the lecturers council. We will send more information in early spring. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the lecturers that have educated me about their experience, that have opened my mind about how different a lecturer’s experience can be when compared to that of a tenure-track or tenured professor, and ultimately have given true meaning to the question “are FDEV programs open to lecturers?” 

Add a comment below to share ways FDEV can support you as a lecturer.

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