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PHCC seeks more adjunct faculty
Law change prompts job fair

Monday, May 6, 2013

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Patrick Henry Community College will hold a job fair next week to seek more adjunct faculty members as a result of a change in the number of hours the faculty can work.

The PHCC Adjunct Teacher Fair will be from 3 to 7 p.m. May 13 and from 4 to 8 p.m. May 14 in the Frith Economic Development Center Exhibit Hall, according to a college news release.

The college needs to expand its adjunct faculty pool as a result of the commonwealth adopting a provision in the 2013 Appropriation Act that limits state employees to working no more than 29 hours a week over the course of a year, according to Kris Landrum, PHCC’s public relations and marketing manager, and commonwealth documents.

The fair will provide prospective part-time faculty members an opportunity to learn about available teaching positions at the college, the release said. At this time, college administrators are interested in speaking with people who are qualified to teach in all disciplines.

Adjunct faculty are often secondary school teachers or business professionals who live and work in the community. They are appointed on a course-by-course, semester basis as needed, the release added. Salary is commensurate with education, experience and discipline. Minimum qualifications for teaching in the academic programs are a master’s degree in the teaching field or master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching field (a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching field). Minimum qualifications for teaching in the career and technical programs are a bachelor’s degree in the teaching field or an associate degree in the teaching field with demonstrated competency in the teaching field.

College representatives will be available at the fair to review application materials and evaluate transcripts. Applicants who attend are encouraged to bring paper copies of their résumés and transcripts, along with any licenses or certifications that may be relevant to the positions. Before the fair, applicants should apply online through Virginia Jobs (jobs.virginia.gov) and attach résumé, unofficial transcripts and a cover letter expressing the area(s) of interest, the release said.

The commonwealth’s work hours limitation that prompted the job fair applies to wage employees and part-time salaried employees currently working more than 29 hours per week but less than 32 hours per week, according to a commonwealth document.

The work hours limitation is in response to the Affordable Care Act, which, beginning in 2014, will require employers with 50 or more employees to provide health coverage to all employees who work, on average, 30 or more hours a week.

The work hours limitation “applies to agencies in the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government; the independent agencies of the commonwealth; and any agency administering its own health plan. It provides options for measuring the amount of time worked by adjunct faculty at institutions of higher education,” according to a commonwealth document.

This is not the first time PHCC employees’ hours have been reduced.

“In 2008, the college’s hourly employees were cut from 1,500 hours (30 hours a week for 50 weeks a year) to 1,350 hours a year in response to a 10 percent budget reduction,” Landrum said. “Most of the college’s part-time hourly employees still work 1,350 hours (27 hours a week) or less. As of February this year, those who worked 1,500 hours were cut back to 29 hours a week.”

She could not immediately say how many employees were affected by the cutback from 30 hours a week to 29 hours.

“It’s cutting one hour a week off their pay, which can be significant for some employees. Some are unhappy, sure. Sometimes fours hours of pay a month puts gas in car and pays for child care. It can be significant. We are sympathetic,” she said.

“Most of our adjunct faculty only teach one or two classes a semester — they are employed elsewhere or retired — so they fall within the threshold anyway,” Landrum said.

She doesn’t think students will notice a difference as a result of the adjunct faculty work hours limitation, except they may have a favorite teacher who may not be available for a class. “As far as number of classes or quality of instruction, that will all be untouched,” Landrum said.

She added PHCC has part-time employees in all areas of the college, but she did not immediately know the impact on areas other than adjunct faculty.

The commonwealth’s work hours limitation should not have an impact at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, Henry-Martinsville Social Services and the New College Institute, according to officials with those offices.

There doesn’t appear to be any direct impact on Piedmont Community Services from the limitation. But there are many uncertainties about impacts of the Affordable Care Act, and PCS hopes to have an implementation plan by early fall, according to Jim Tobin, executive director of PCS, and Ron Hairston, director of human resources.

 

 
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