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The AMS and Contingent Faculty

The AMS is a member of the Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW), a group of higher education associations, disciplinary associations, and faculty organizations committed to addressing deteriorating working conditions for faculty and their effect on college and university students in the United States. The AMS Board of Directors has affirmed (November 2014) principles articulated in the 2010 CAW Issue Brief "One Faculty Serving All Students".  

Specifically, we affirm the following:

  1. All faculty members should receive compensation and institutional support and recognition commensurate with their status as professionals.
  2. All faculty members should have access to the recommended standards and guidelines for the academic workforce issued by their professional associations and faculty organizations. The AMS will make its recommended standards publicly available.
  3. All faculty members should have access to key information on academic staffing in their departments and institutions, along with recommended targets for staffing, contracts, compensation, and working conditions.
  4. All long-term faculty members should be given the opportunity to participate fully in the work and life of the department and institution if they so desire.

The following detail is drawn from "One Faculty Serving All Students."

1. Compensation and Institutional Support

All faculty members should receive compensation and institutional support and recognition commensurate with their status as professionals.

  • Institutions should establish minimum levels of per-course compensation for all faculty members serving off the tenure track commensurate with those of tenure-track faculty members. Compensation levels should be a matter of public record.
  • All faculty members who are employed at .5 FTE (full-time equivalent) or more should have access to health and retirement benefits through the institution.
  • Institutions should compensate all faculty members for work outside of the classroom, including student advising, committees, and other service work.
  • All faculty members should get regular support for professional development with regard to teaching skills, new course creation, scholarship, and promotion.
  • All faculty members should have access to administrative and technical support from the department and institution.

2. Association and Organizational Standards and Guidelines

All faculty members should have access to the recommended standards and guidelines for the academic workforce issued by their professional associations and faculty organizations.

We affirm the following key principles:

  • The number of tenure lines should be sufficient to cover courses in the upper-division undergraduate and graduate curricula and to ensure an appropriate presence of tenured and tenure-track faculty members in the lower division. Full- and part-time faculty members teaching off the tenure track should also be eligible to teach upper-division undergraduate and graduate curricula when they are qualified and can contribute to their respective programs.
  • Departments and institutions should set appropriate staffing-level targets and develop plans to achieve those goals.
  • Those goals should strive for program continuity and helping students to succeed in and out of class; and be developed with input from faculty members as well as department chairs and administrators.
  • As departments work toward these goals, they should ensure that course sections taught by full-time faculty members are at least 50 percent of the course sections a department offers in any given semester.
  • Faculty members who teach courses in music history and/or musicology should possess the PhD in musicology and have an active record of musicological research and publication commensurate with their career stage. Exceptions may be made for currently enrolled candidates for the PhD in musicology who have completed course work and are near to completion of the degree (“ABD”). Instructors who are graduate students should be given appropriate pedagogical mentorship and supervision. (Adopted from AMS Council recommendation, November 2013)
  • Faculty members who teach courses in music disciplines related to musicology (e.g. music technology, music industry) should possess the appropriate terminal degree and have an active record of activity pertaining to the discipline.

3. Departmental and Institutional Advocacy

All faculty members should have access to information on academic staffing in their
departments and at their institutions, including information on recommended targets for staffing, contracts, compensation, and working conditions. Faculty members who use this information to advocate for better working conditions should not be penalized in any way.

Institutions, in collaboration with all stakeholders, should collect and readily provide information about academic staffing. At the same time, administrators, department chairs, and individual faculty members can actively work to get a clearer picture of the academic workforce on their own campuses. They should

  • know the population of undergraduate and (where applicable) graduate students who complete courses in departments and the allocation of teachers in different employment categories across all levels of the curriculum;
  • be aware of the policies and procedures that departments and institutions follow when hiring faculty members in the different contract categories and the policies for salary increases and benefits, professional review, development, and advancement that apply to faculty members in each category;
  • understand the contractual arrangements of faculty members teaching in various types of full- and part-time non-tenure-track positions and the number of years individuals in the various contract categories have been in their positions; and
  • be willing to share findings and collaborate in efforts to develop anonymous profiles of staffing patterns in departments and colleges that take into account different local and institutional circumstances.

4. Participation in Institutional and Departmental Decision-Making

All long-term faculty members should be given the opportunity to participate fully in the work and life of the department and institution if they so desire.

  • Non-tenure-track faculty members who teach on a long-term basis and have regular and substantial interactions with their department and institution should be included, to the extent they desire, in curriculum planning, student advising, and other aspects of college life fundamental to sustaining good learning environments and positive departmental cultures. Faculty members who are involved in departmental life in this way should be compensated for their extra service.
  • All faculty members (including non-tenure-track and part-time faculty) should be hired and evaluated (and renewed, if applicable) according to established equitable academic hiring standards.