California Part-time Faculty Association

In August, 1998, part-timers from as far south as San Diego and as far north as Rocklin met at El Chorro County Park in San Luis Obispo. After talking to one another via the Internet for about eighteen months, they felt it was time for a face-to-face discussion about possible resolutions to the problems facing part-timers in California’s Community College system.

Instead of coming together for yet one more gripe session, approximately 25 individuals representing 30 colleges came armed with specific ideas, including the formation of a new association to advocate part-time equity and serve as a resource center. Via the Internet, they would connect and communicate with the then 29,000 part-timers in the state, thus pooling knowledge and giving part-timers a stronger voice.

These CPFA charter members also discussed proposing legislation and creating a newspaper that would go out not only to part-timers but also to the Chancellor’s office, administrators, legislators, and lobbyists. They envisioned a group which would not compete with the various unions and professional/educational organizations such as FACCC or the State Academic Senate. Instead, it would focus on the areas not addressed by these groups and serve as another resource for improving the status of part-time faculty and providing quality education for California’s students.

Armed with confidence and enthusiasm and convinced that this proposed association could make a difference, one of this group returned to a local union chapter at Sierra College (SCFA–Adjunct Section) and gave a report of what had taken place at El Chorro. Having already funded participation in San Luis Obispo, the Executive Committee decided that the money had been well spent and then donated $500.00 seed money to CPFA, this fledgling association.

Likewise, after another brief report to the Los Rios California Federation of Teachers board, they too generously contributed $500.00 seed money and offered to split expenses with Sierra so that these two associations could be represented in CPFA. The generosity and farsightedness of these two union locals was most gratifying.

In October, 1998, the California Part-time Faculty Association (CPFA) formally came into being at Kern River Park near Bakersfield. We approved a constitution and by-laws and elected a slate of officers representing part-time faculty from all over the state.

Today CPFA has members in over 40 districts and in over 50 colleges. Our Executive Council members are busy attending meetings and networking with FACCC, the Board of Governors, the Chancellor’s office, and working within their various unions.

With the landmark passing of AB 591, the bill which raised the ceiling on the part time teaching load from 60 to 67%, it is clear that CPFA is making the part-timers’ voice heard. But we need to turn up the volume. Individuals at each campus should form local chapters of CPFA and participate in regional assemblies. Farsighted union locals, such as LRCFT and SCFA–Adjunct Section, have given their support by donating seed money and sponsoring representatives who in turn have given these part-timer activists greater voice.

We urge all part-time faculty to join CPFA so that their voices have twice the volume. We challenge other locals to demonstrate the farsightedness of LRCFT by matching their donation of seed money and sponsoring at least one local member at CPFA state-wide meetings. We can’t effect change if no one hears us.