Taking full-time charge of a part-time organization

A group of part-time faculty members at Youngstown State University are taking the first steps to form an official association to advocate on their behalf.

Jim Zupanic, a retired full-time professor and a current part-time instructor in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at YSU, is the temporary facilitator of the Youngstown State University Part Time Faculty Association.

“The mission [is] to support and enhance the ability of part-time faculty [and] to provide high-quality instruction for students here,” Zupanic said.

The organization boasts members from 14 different departments at YSU.

The examined concerns have ranged from retention to part-time instructors wanting more involvement with the university’s academics. For some, there is also the concern that full-time and part-time instructors should be treated equally in terms of pay and benefits such as health care.

“What we’re trying to do is to find out what issues people have,” Zupanic said. “People have been coming in and sort of telling their stories.”

In regards to communication, the association acknowledged the desire to have a bigger voice and representation for part-time faculty of the university.

Karen Schubert, a part-time English instructor, said she hopes the association will give part-time faculty opportunities in different areas.

“I hope the association will give us a place for informed discussion and a sharing of information and encouragement … a sharing of opportunities for professionalization and support,” Schubert said.

On Tuesday, the association will have its second meeting in Kilcawley Center’s Humphrey Room from 6:30 to 9 p.m. During this meeting, part-time faculty will continue to discuss issues and gather more information regarding their concerns.

April Freely, an assistant lecturer at the University of Akron and the co-chair of the Organizing Committee of the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association, will be in attendance.

The association also plans to develop and test a survey in in the summer that will incorporate all issues, ideas and questions that were covered during the meetings.

Through this survey, association members will identify issues that they want to address.

Zupanic said the association must take the initiative in helping part-time teachers.

“This organization needs to take the lead in putting some of these issues on the agenda and begin to talk about them,” he said.