Three Steps Forward, One Step Back

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By Kavin Carter

In the previous edition of The Blade, the question that arose was, “Will Providence become a campus solely of adjunct instructors?” Fear of the unknown and fear of the future are notions that sometimes make people uneasy, standing on the precipice without knowing what lies at the bottom.

The return of full-time faculty to the classroom is one of a few main issues that are plaguing student’s minds. Many students have voiced their concerns about recent moves made by Providence’s administrative staff and among them is the concern that there is continual hires of adjunct professors exclusively instead of reinstatement of, or hiring new, full-time professors. According to the administrative staff, the purpose of hiring adjuncts over full-time faculty is to save money.

Although the student body values and appreciates these adjunct professors, there is something to be said about the value of full-time staff. An article by Scott Thompson on the subject, reporter for the Houston Chronicle, found that,

The trend toward employing more adjunct professors in place of full-time professors has made it more difficult in some cases for students to meet with their instructors and get extra help when they need it.”

This is because unlike many adjuncts, full-time professors are available more regularly due to having their own offices and office hours available. Full-time faculty have the ability to work more closely with students, creating personal relationships and mentoring opportunities that encourage academic growth. Furthermore, full-time faculty are also responsible for the oversight of Capstone projects, yet another opportunity to invest in a young person’s life.

In an interview with Dr. Belcher, President of Providence CC, he said, “We are committed to having full-time Professors on campus.”

He continued, “we love our adjunct professors but there is a level of commitment that full-time faculty invests in students that adjuncts just can’t do, we expect and demand more from full-time faculty. The goal of this past year was to restructure the way we did things but never to make things permanent.”

Every year, Providence must rely heavily on donations to keep the doors open and, because of this, the majority of student’s educational costs are subsidized by those donations. Therefore student actually pays the full cost of tuition.  This, along with the future prediction of an additional 75 new students to campus, has administration predicting that within a year the college will be stable enough to hire new full time professors.

As of now, Providence plans to hire more full-time professors beginning in 2018. These actions are under the direction of Dr. Ann Hamilton, the Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs. When the Blade reached out to Dr. Hamilton, she was unavailable for comment.