January 29, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 44°F


Open Letter: Contingent faculty can be nominated for excellence awards

Dear Ithaca Students, Faculty, and Staff,

The submission deadline is coming up for the Faculty Excellence Awards, which the Center for Faculty Excellence runs annually to recognize the innovative, caring and passionate teachers who are the lifeblood of our college. This year — for the first time! — contingent faculty (part-time and full-time professors on limited contracts) are eligible for these awards as well. In the past, students who tried to nominate their favorite contingent professor were told that the person who mentored them, guided them, opened their mind or gave them direction in life was not considered a real part of the college and could not receive recognition for that work.

Now, thanks to the work of the Contingent Faculty Union who fought for change in the contract they won last March, this will never happen again. Every professor who has taught at IC for a year or more is now eligible for these awards, and thus for the career benefits, cash prize and sense of accomplishment and pride that come with winning. They are eligible for the humbling and rewarding feeling of simply being nominated by their colleagues, students or supervisors.

We encourage students, staff and faculty to take a little time this week to nominate someone whose skill and dedication as a teacher has positively impacted the lives around them. Whether that person is contingent or not, it is deeply meaningful to a professor to receive a nomination like this. Who have you seen moving mountains for their students? Who has surprised you by making a course you thought you’d hate your new favorite subject? Who has been taking the time to find creative solutions to pedagogical problems? Who has been designing innovative classes that will better serve the needs of students? Whose work as a mentor has touched your life?

If you know someone whose teaching has inspired you, whether you are their colleague, their department chair or their student, please nominate them for this award. And if you know a contingent faculty person who has been doing so for years, without ever being eligible for this award before – please be sure to nominate them, and to encourage others to do so as well. A large percentage of the professors at this college have been excluded from consideration since they started teaching here, and it’s beyond time they get the recognition they deserve.

The process is simple: you fill out a form, you write a letter and you get a couple of other people (the Department Chair and another faculty member, staff member, or student) to write letters as well. Then you send it all in to the Center for Faculty Excellence by Monday, February 26th. Further details can be found at the CFE website: https://www.ithaca.edu/cfe/facrecognition/ . Please note that, while the website describes three different areas in which a faculty member might demonstrate excellence (teaching, scholarship, and/or
service), contingent faculty members whose primary duty is teaching will be judged on the basis of their teaching alone. Which is to say: if you know a great teacher, don’t let anything hold you back from nominating them this year.

We all know contingent faculty members who have poured their hearts into this institution. Let’s take a little time to thank them for it.

Signed, The Contingent Faculty Union Committee

Chair & Faculty Council Rep: Rachel Fomalhaut (formerly Kaufman), Lecturer (anyafish@mailmight.com)

Vice-Chair & Social Media Steward: Megan Graham, Instructor (mdgraham@gmail.com)

Vice-Chair & Art Steward: Brody Burroughs, Lecturer (brodyburroughs@gmail.com)

Chief Steward: Mark Baustian, Lecturer (mbaustian@frontiernet.net)

Communications Steward: Tom Schneller, Lecturer (wyckwyn@gmail.com)

Social Media Steward: Sarah Grunberg, Lecturer (sgrunbe1@gmail.com)

Art Steward: John Burger, Lecturer (jedmundburger@gmail.com)

Stewards: Dyani Taff, Lecturer (dyanijohns@gmail.com); Jonathan Bullinger, Lecturer (jbullinger@ithaca.edu)