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ODU adding 50 full-time teachers; Va. curbs part-timers

NORFOLK

Old Dominion University will establish 50 new full-time faculty positions next year, half of them conversions from current part-time teaching slots.

The move is driven in part by a new state-mandated policy limiting the hours of part-time, or adjunct, faculty members to avoid providing them health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

The new federal law requires that employees working 30 hours a week or more receive health care coverage. In response, Gov. Bob McDonnell in February directed that part-time state employees, including adjunct teachers, be limited to a maximum of 29 hours a week.

As a result, adjuncts at ODU will be limited to teaching nine credit hours per semester, Provost Carol Simpson said Thursday. For those handling a full academic load - 15 credit hours - the change would mean a 40 percent pay cut.

The new full-time teaching slots will soften the blow of the state policy, Simpson said. The new positions are also in line with continuing efforts to reduce ODU's reliance on part-time faculty and improve the university's faculty-student ratio.

ODU employed 671 adjunct teachers last semester - 47 percent of all faculty members.

The biggest impact of the state limit on part-time hours will be felt at Virginia's 23 two-year community colleges, where more than three-quarters of the faculty - nearly 10,000 teachers - are adjuncts. Beginning this fall, they will be limited to teaching 10 credit hours per semester.

The new teaching slots at ODU will cost about $4 million, part of a $575 million operating budget for 2013-14 adopted Thursday by the university's governing Board of Visitors.

The budget includes about $6 million in new state money approved last winter by the General Assembly and another $6 million in new revenue from a 4.4 percent increase in tuition and fees approved by the ODU board in April.

Resident in-state undergraduates will pay $17,731 in tuition, fees, room and board next year - third-lowest among Virginia's 15 four-year state schools.

The ODU board also gave a vote of confidence to President John Broderick, extending his contract by one year to 2018 and raising his annual compensation by 4 percent to $357,760.

Bill Sizemore, 757-446-2276, bill.sizemore@pilotonline.com

Posted to: Education News Norfolk

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A conscientious decision by this Republican administration

to shaft part-time workers because of ideological and partisan hatred of the affordable health care act and President Obama.

The sooner this backward thinking, vindictive administration's term expires and we can get a more worker friendly, progressive thinking administration in place the better off these part time workers will be. And the better opportunities for the meeting of their families health care needs there will be.

Win-Win

This change sounds like a win-win situation all around for ODU. State taxpayers don't pay for several part-timers instead of one full-timer. Students get a better education from more qualified faculty (I've noticed most adjunct faculty either do not possess a PhD or received theirs from ODU, a form of academic inbreeding I suppose). New full-time faculty, hopefully from other universities and engaged in research, could make a world of difference. Students and their funding sources should get more value for their tuition dollars. Perhaps ODU's academic reputation will improve as well. I don't feel sorry for upper middle class adjuncts that hold masters degrees or higher. Take care of the janitors and lunch ladies on campus instead.

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