An Open Letter to the Skidmore Community

To the Skidmore community,

Non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty are a vital part of Skidmore. Counting part-time faculty, nearly half of all Skidmore’s faculty are NTT, and NTT faculty account for more than a third of the College’s full-time faculty.1 We are some of the first faculty Skidmore students encounter in their journey on campus. We serve these students as mentors, advising and guiding their studies. Many NTT faculty serve in administrative roles, running programs and departments, offering events and coordinating community engagement. Like our tenure-line colleagues, we pursue our own research and creative agendas; our work appears in journals, galleries, and performance venues locally and nationwide. Our labor is an essential part of what makes Skidmore College the exceptional school and community it is.

But despite our extensive contributions, Skidmore’s non-tenure track faculty are not afforded adequate job security, resources, or support. Parents and students are often shocked to learn that so many of Skidmore’s faculty are employed on iterative terminal contracts, despite filling roles that meet permanent curricular needs, and that we receive significantly lower rates of pay and support than our tenure-track colleagues. We exist in a state of perpetual job insecurity, without meaningful opportunities for advancement, all while doing labor that is essential to the success of Skidmore’s students and the campus’s reputation for excellence.

Such inequities are inconsistent with Skidmore’s stated mission. The college calls on us to create a socially just world that honors the dignity and worth of each individual….[O]ur community is most inclusive when all members participate to their full capacity in the spirited and sometimes challenging conversations that are at the center of the college’s educational mission.2
Committing to this mission means working to build a just world, in which all are afforded the resources, stability, and professional dignity necessary to fully participate in the intellectual and creative life of the college; to do so, Skidmore must address the unjust labor practices on its own campus.

To address these needs, non-tenure track faculty at Skidmore College have joined together to establish a NTT faculty union through Service Employees International Union (SEIU). With our colleagues locally and nationwide in SEIU’s Faculty Forward movement, we are committed to advocating for just labor practices here at Skidmore and across higher education. We come together in support of the following principles:

● Job Security. The current system of serial terminal contracts is a disservice to us, to the campus, and most importantly to our students. We seek an end to the practice of using short-term employment to meet long-term curricular needs, and call on the College to convert iterative terminal lines to renewable, stable positions, and to use terminal contracts only to fulfill clearly defined short-term needs, such as sabbatical replacements.
● A Voice on Campus. Without adequate job security, NTT faculty are limited in our ability to effectively advocate for our needs on campus, both in our departments and at the college level. Because of this, decisions about NTT policies are often made by the administration without our involvement. We are forming a union to serve as a representative voice for NTT faculty, securing our ability to shape the policies that most directly affect us.
● Pay Equity. NTT pay at Skidmore averages significantly below salaries for comparable tenure-track lines and below American Association of University Professors reported averages for NTT lines.3 Faculty in programs such as music and world languages, cornerstone programs of Skidmore’s curriculum, have not received contact hour pay increases in many years, despite a considerable increase in market rates for these positions. We call for the college to increase wages, support NTT professional development, and offer benefits for part-time faculty.

We are calling for these changes with the conviction that they are crucial to the wellbeing of the whole Skidmore community. By addressing the working conditions of non-tenure-track faculty, the College will significantly improve the learning conditions of our students and support our community’s commitment to equity and justice. We encourage the administration to voluntarily recognize our union and to begin good-faith negotiations.

In solidarity,
Jennifer Ashlock, Visiting Assistant Professor, Sociology
Luke Baker, Lecturer, Music
Diana Barnes, Senior Teaching Professor, World Languages and Literatures
Angela Beallor-Press, Documentarian in Community Co-Creation, MDOCS
Susan Blake, Visiting Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Victoria Leigh Brown, Visiting Assistant Professor, International Affairs
Lindsay Buchman, Visiting Assistant Professor, Art
Rafael Burgos-Mirabal, Instructor, Management and Business
Colleen Burke, Executive in Residence, Management and Business
Richard Cherry, Lecturer, Music
Carol Chiarella, Lecturer, Management and Business
Nicole Coady, Lecturer, Media and Film Studies
Yvette Cortes, Fine Arts Librarian
Dan Cordell, Instructor, Music
Adam Cottle, Metadata Librarian
Archana Suresh Cukkemane, Lecturer, English
Sue Daves, Instructor, Music
Justin DeBlauw, Visiting Assistant Professor, Health and Human Physiological Sciences
Ana Dugan, Instructor, World Languages and Literatures
Olivia Dunn, Senior Teaching Professor, English
Timothy Freiermuth, Senior Lecturer, World Languages and Literatures
Jennifer Fawcett, Visiting Assistant Professor, English
Barbara Garbin, Lecturer, World Languages and Literatures
Lisa Grady-Willis, Teaching Professor, Intergroup Relations
Charlene M. Grant, Senior Lecturer, World Languages and Literatures
Casey Gray, Lecturer and Private Music Instructor, Music
Patte Hadfield, Accompanist and Lecturer, Music and Dance
Catharine A Hamilton, Lecturer, Management and Business
Ruth Hernández-Ríos, Teaching Professor, Sociology
Elizabeth Huntley, Instructor, Music
Yubo Hou, Lecturer, Biology
Greg Hrbek, Distinguished Writer-In-Residence, English
Adam Hutcheson, Lecturer, Music
L. Caitlin Jorgensen, Interim Director of the Writing Center and Teaching Professor, English
Tom Johnson, Visiting Assistant Professor, Music
Daniel Johnston, Visiting Assistant Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
Susanne Kerekes, Visiting Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
Young Kim, Visiting Senior Artist-in-Residence, Music
Christine Kopec, Senior Teaching Professor, Management & Business
Douglas Kowaleski, Lecturer, Psychology
Elaine Larson, Senior Instructor, Biology
Eric Latini, Instructor, Music
Milton Lee, Instructor, Music
​​Beatriz Loyola, Senior Teaching Professor, World Languages and Literatures
Trish Lyell, Teaching Professor, Art
Rachel Mann-Rosan, Senior Teaching Professor, Psychology
Evan Mack, Senior Teaching Professor, Music
Ruth McAdams, Teaching Professor, English
Peter McCarthy, Senior Teaching Professor, Social Work
Geoffrey McKinley, Instructor, Psychology
Anyeline Mejia-McDonald, Visiting Assistant Professor, History
Peter Murray, Teaching Professor, Philosophy
John Nazarenko, Senior Artist-in-Residence, Music
Jesse O’Connell, Assistant Director, MDOCS
Amy Oh, Teaching Professor, Classics
David Otto, Lecturer, Dance
Lowery Parker, Visiting Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies and Sciences
Mike Paulmeno, Systems Librarian
Kristi Peterson, Visiting Assistant Professor, Art History
Floydd Ricketts, Visiting Assistant Professor, Music
Josh Rodriguez, Lecturer, Music
Tatiana Schnieder, Visiting Assistant Professor, Neuroscience
Jenessa Seymour, Visiting Assistant Professor, Psychology
Kenneth Sider, Visiting Assistant Professor, Education Studies
Michael Silvagnoli, Instructor, Music
Kazimer Skubi, Visiting Assistant Professor, Chemistry
Lori Soderlind, Lecturer, English
Eileen Sperry, Lecturer, English
Gregory Spinner, Teaching Professor, Religious Studies
Jennifer Steimle, Education Studies
Csilla Szabo, Teaching Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
Masami Tamagawa, Senior Teaching Professor, World Languages and Literatures
Catherine Talley, Teaching Professor, World Languages and Literatures
Alexander Turpin, Instructor, Music
Jeremy Wachter, Visiting Assistant Professor, Physics
Fang Wang, Instructor, World Languages and Literatures
Li Zhang, Social Science and Data Librarian