Two sets of new papers from the TIAA Institute emphasize the “volatility” of part-time employees’ employment, benefits, and financial security, and how institutions need to think carefully and creatively about how to better adapt to them.
‘Those who have everything and those who don’t’
First studyA study led by Manuel S. González Canché, associate professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, found that 60% of part-timers working in multiple institutions are already involved in retirement plans, even if they are not currently contributing to retirement plans, compared to 46 % Of people employed by an organization. 45% of part-time workers working in multiple agencies have health insurance provided by the employer, while the proportion of part-time workers working in one agency is 27%. 45% of part-timers working in multiple agencies are worried about their ability to retire, compared with 36% of part-timers working in one agency.
The paper stated that in network analysis, the availability of teacher unions is always related to “bringing more security to these unstable academic appointments.”
Participants in the study expressed interest in developing matching benefit plans in all employment agencies. The paper likens this idea to “own or develop a centralized savings system” so that part-timers don’t have to worry about changing plans when they leave one institution or work in multiple institutions.
González Canché and his team interviewed 40 part-time staff with a term of one year or less in various types of institutions and locations. Of the 40 participants, 29 were employed by more than one organization. More than half of the samples have been working in colleges or universities for 10 years or more.
Some samples indicated that part-time teaching is not their main source of income, sometimes because they have a full-time job outside of academics. These papers require institutions to consider this when formulating retirement plans for part-time employees, especially those who “have a real need.”
González Canché and his colleagues found that at the same time, faculty and staff who use part-time appointments as their main source of income often cannot afford to participate in retirement plans—even if at least one of their employers provides matching donations. For these part-timers, summer—some call it the “non-teaching season”—is a struggle. Many people reported that they had to save teaching salaries during teaching months to cope with these non-teaching months.
According to the report, because these professors “obviously already have the mentality and attitude to save”, “they need to save money in the short-term, so they cannot participate in the long-term savings plan.” For example, one participant said, “I have a 6% “Matching retirement plan”, but due to the relatively low salary, the assistant could not give up.
According to the study, part-timers stated that they sometimes think their appointments are “degrading because of differential treatment, such as matching retirement account contributions and lower salaries compared to full-time teachers”.
These interviews were conducted before COVID-19. Research shows that “the impact of the pandemic remains to be seen. Compared with the past few decades, it may be more necessary to design plans to serve this group of people, because the existence and prevalence of full-time part-time teachers may decrease as institutions face enrollment Because the cost of these teachers is lower, institutions may become more dependent on their services.”
Ultimately, the newspaper said, “The long-term negative effects of temporary jobs without qualifications or retirement plans can be improved by well-designed plans that are designed to serve those who need it most.”
González Canché said via email on Tuesday that his paper focuses not only on part-time jobs, but also on people who “have no job security at all.”
He said: “What really troubles me is that most of the faculty and staff who hold these unstable appointments and are committed to academia full-time have given up or lost the corresponding benefits due to lower salaries.” “They said, although they participated in the matching program. It is financially helpful. This is’free money’, but they cannot give up X% of their salary.”
González Canché emphasized that some part-timers in the study stated that, for various reasons, they are not financially dependent on unstable appointments. But other support personnel are so dependent that they cannot “use the economic benefits they are entitled to,” he said.
“Personally, it is very stressful, laborious and sad for me to conduct these analyses, because they once again reflect the huge gap between those who have everything and those who don’t have everything.”
González Canché’s research supplements previous assistance and retirement data on TIAA. A 2020 LearnFor example, it was found that even part-time teachers who teach a course are eligible to contribute to retirement savings plans provided by 83% of institutions and 75% of college and university systems. As of 2019, almost all research institutions and systems allow some auxiliary personnel to contribute.
However, TIAA found that support staff usually do not automatically join these savings plans, and only about 37% of institutions and 60% of systems match these savings. Certain course load thresholds for matching are generally applicable.
A 2015 Polls A survey from TIAA found that 82% of part-timers save for retirement through work plans or their own plans, but many part-timers express concern that their salary is too low to postpone their salary to retirement savings or otherwise finance for the future plan.
Maria Maisto, chair of the New Faculty Majority, a part-time advocacy group, said that retirement “is a huge problem for part-timers and has always been an under-appreciated organizational problem.” She went on to say that unions are almost always helpful, but there are structural issues. Such as the Social Security Administration’s Windfall Elimination Clause “Unfavorably [affect] By punishing them for temporary teachers who get the funds they desperately need. “
Maisto said all of these “continuously reflect how misunderstood people are about the actual reality of temporary teacher employment practices.” “Systems like retirement and unemployment are not designed for temporary workers, as if temporary workers don’t need them. That’s a big mistake.”
Higher Education Fair Design
The second set of papers The TIAA Institute, led by researchers from the University of Southern California Puglias Center for Higher Education, released a report on Tuesday that campus leaders can use so-called “free design” methods to make the policies and practices of non-tenured professors fairer. Note , Empathy, definition, conception, prototype, testing and reflection are the key concepts in this approach. The paper stated that free design may be more suitable for higher education rather than a higher level of organizational structure, because design thinking involves a collaborative design team composed of different stakeholders—similar to a shared governance model in academia.
Nevertheless, the authors of these papers, including the director of Pullias and Adrianna Kezar, a long-time advocacy support staff, slightly modified the design model for colleges and universities as follows: organization, empathy, redefinition, conception, selection, prototype, purchase and Test. This new model called “Higher Education Equity Design” also incorporates a fair mindset, and attention and reflection have been carried out throughout the design process (see below, from TIAA report).
These papers include two design case studies, one from a community college, Harper College in Illinois, and a four-year regional institution, California State University at Dominguez Hill. Harper began to use design thinking in 2016 to design a professional development plan for part-time staff, called the second-level part-time teacher participation plan. Recently, the teacher evaluation process was redesigned to better promote the professional development of teachers, and finally this effort was included in the teacher contract. In particular, the TIAA report stated that the second-level courses are open to part-time staff who have taught for four consecutive semesters. Students who complete the course have received special titles, increased salaries, priority course assignments, and guaranteed telephone interviews with full-time teachers that they are qualified to serve. Position.
Dominguez Hills has been using design thinking since 2017, because the ratio of students to teachers and non-tenured professors to tenured professors is increasing to check the working conditions of lecturers, who are mostly part-timers. The goal of a new working group is to determine ways to support lecturers by developing less stratified teacher policies and practices. The report stated that the working group did not choose to propose one or two initiatives, but instead created a comprehensive list of recommendations, believing that the success of a particular initiative requires external support. Dominguez Hills has since adopted policies such as salary increases and multi-year contracts, as well as practices such as involving lecturers in governance and qualifying them for teaching awards.
TIAA’s paper says: “Hire diversified teachers, make learning more relevant and attractive to all learners, and develop more inclusive admissions policies. All are important fairs that can benefit from the application of this process. Design problems,” and urged campus leaders to develop special tools to guide their decision-making process (Kezar, National Academy of Sciences, has prior to Wrote an article on how fairness awareness can help organizations navigate the post-COVID-19 era). “Many times, ideas are borrowed from other sectors without proper review and reconfiguration to function properly in the higher education environment.”
KC Culver, a researcher at Pullias and one of Kezar’s co-authors, said on Tuesday, “Performance Academy Will not go anywhere, especially in the context of increased financial instability caused by the pandemic, so conscious work on campus is essential to help part-time jobs and lecturers thrive as professionals. She added that access to resources such as professional development, technology, and library services are “necessary for non-tenured teachers to become effective teachers who support student learning and success.”
Culver said that the campus is now planning to allow students to fully return to campus, “but many changes have taken place in our work, communication and teaching methods”, which provides “an unusual opportunity for campus to truly participate in imagination and creation.” Build a fairer and more tolerant organization at all levels, including students, faculty and staff. “