Faculty group allows part-time professor to vote for 1st time


Courtesy of Courtney Buiniskis

Adjunct instructor Courtney Buiniskis is the first part-time faculty member to have a vote on The Faculty Organization, which represents professors.

Maggie Brown, Reporter

An organization that represents AACC’s faculty gave voting rights to a part-time professor for the first time ever this fall.

Courtney Buiniskis, who has taught communications at AACC for five years, is the only adjunct instructor who serves as a senator for The Faculty Organization, or TFO. She said she plans to use her voice to bring the challenges that adjuncts face “to the forefront.”

“I am glad the college is going in the direction of adjunct voices being heard,” Buiniskis said.

Adjunct employees, who work part-time, make up approximately 48% of the teaching staff at AACC, according to Human Resources. Employing adjuncts allows the college to offer more sections of high-demand courses when too few full-time professors are available.

Dr. Nicole Williams, who took over as TFO president this fall, said the college “couldn’t do what we do without adjuncts.”

But Williams, a full-time professor and the academic chair for the Department of Human Services, said “adjuncts have not always felt included in faculty affairs. … I think there have been a lot of concerns. … It was definitely time for them to have a voice to represent them.”

Among those concerns, Buiniskis wrote in a column for the Capital Gazette on Sept. 23, are “a lack of diversity, underpaid hours, no recognition in the workplace, large workloads and no guarantee of employment after years of service.”

Buiniskis said adding an adjunct with voting rights to the TFO is a good start, but added, “I’m only one person. … I’m glad that we finally got to this point that we could vote, but we still have a lot more work to do.”

She added, “A lot of people voted me in this role because I like to listen. We shouldn’t ever stay stuck in our problems; we should move forward and resolve them.”

Buiniskis, an AACC graduate, told Campus Current adjuncts should “be exploring” the option of unionizing. She said she hopes the state Legislature will override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a collective bargaining bill that would allow community college faculty to unionize.

“I have a lot of pride for AACC,” said Buiniskis. “I had a great experience as a student. I want my experience as a professor to be just as good.”