Part-time instructors bring unique skills and expertise into workforce preparation and academic classrooms. Employing part-time instructors allows colleges to offer more classes, when and where students need them and the ability to respond to emerging student, community and business needs. However, low salary levels, variable working conditions and over-reliance on part-time faculty have contributed to staffing concerns in Washington State and nationally - as colleges and universities absorb greater numbers of students without appropriate funding.
Responding to this concern, the 1996 Legislature adopted provisions requiring an audit of part-time faculty compensation and employment practices and the identification of “best practices” related to part-time faculty employment. A Taskforce was established, the best practices listed and recommendations made to the college districts, State Board and Legislature. Updates were reported in 1997 and 1998.
Through adoption of Engrossed Senate Bill 5087, the 2005 Legislature renewed its commitment to understand and improve part-time instructors working conditions by directing the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to convene a taskforce to review and update the best employment practices report completed by a 1996 Taskforce.