By Rachel Gobep
For the first time in Youngstown State University history, part-time faculty have been elected as members of the Academic Senate.
Rachel Faerber-Ovaska, a part-time French instructor, and Joe Nuzzi, a part-time criminal justice and forensic sciences instructor, will be serving on the senate for a one-year term. They were elected by other part-time faculty members at YSU.
Nuzzi said their new position is to represent the adjunct faculty, but they both agreed they have a true passion for students and their success at the university.
“Our primary job is to speak on behalf of those part-time faculty that cannot speak for themselves,” he said.
Faerber-Ovaska said they also believe in the integration of part-time and full-time faculty on campus.
“Our goal, naturally, is to bring the voice of the part-timers, but also we want to help the whole community with issues that affect us all,” she said.
Nuzzi said the part-time faculty wants to be accepted on campus. Faerber-Ovaska elaborated and said they have good things to offer.
“The value that a society places on things tends to be reflected on how much they are paid … We look at our pay and it tells us how much we’re valued,” Faerber-Ovaska said.
Currently, part-time faculty who have bachelor’s degrees earn $650 per credit hour taught. Part-time faculty with master’s degrees earn $800 per credit hour taught, while those with a PhD make $1050.
Nuzzi said quality teachers should be paid a quality income.
Faerber-Ovaska said they are being proactive and thought of a solution to solve the problem of part-time faculty pay, which will be presented to the Board of Trustees in March.
Faerber-Ovaska graduated YSU with a bachelor’s degree in French in 2015. She also serves as an advisor for the student French club.
She is a member of the Youngstown Excellence Steering Committee at YSU, which evaluates suggestions for improvement and facilitates the implementation of initiatives at the university.
Faerber-Ovaska has lived, studied and worked in Finland, Germany, Canada, Switzerland and Estonia.
She is experienced in teaching German, French and English as a Second Language. She also has official translation endorsement for Finnish to English.
Nuzzi is also a YSU graduate and received a bachelor’s degree in police administration in 1973 and a master’s degree in police management in 1978.
He is a retired social studies teacher who taught in the Youngstown School District for 31 years.
He is also a retired Master Sergeant who served with the United States Air Force for 31 years and a former Warren police officer. He served as the police commander for the Choffin Career Center Police Academy in Youngstown and served on the Board of Directors for the YSU Police Academy.
Nuzzi has been a part-time instructor in the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Department at YSU for 40 years.
Chet Cooper, chair of the YSU Academic Senate and an associate professor of biology, said part-time faculty were elected to the senate a result of the 2017 Campus Climate Survey.
“We realized that for shared governance to be all-inclusive, we needed to include the ranks of the part-time faculty in the various procedures,” he said.
Cooper said Faerber-Ovaska and Nuzzi bring a differing perspective to some issues, which gives the senate an inclusive way to look at the function of academics at YSU.
“They are superb individuals that have the best interest of the students at heart. Being part-time faculty they have a slightly different way to look at things than full-time faculty,” he said. “They also have different expectations and different pressures.”
Cooper said he is looking forward to hearing the two speak in front of the Board of Trustees in March about issues regarding part-time faculty. He also said full-time faculty supports part-time faculty.
“We understand their plight and that they’re in special situations and we’re going to do the best we can to make things right for them,” Cooper said.
The Academic Senate has the primary responsibility for the development of new polices and changes of existing policies at the university concerning academic functions and activities.