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Report: More full-time professors needed for community colleges in Massachusetts

Berkshire Eagle

Joe LeBlanc, president of the Massachusetts CC Council

The state's community colleges need more full-time professors in the faculty, according to a new report, which cites them as factors in student success.

The review of public community college data -- including Berkshire Community College's -- indicates that "state legislation, regulations, tuition and fee structures, staffing practices and public funding policies have contributed significantly to the problem of poor student outcomes."

Joe LeBlanc, president of the Massachusetts Community College Council, said the report "does put some hard numbers on a problem that's been worsening over the past 10 years."

LeBlanc has been a professor of English at Northern Essex Community College since 1988. He said when he began, about 90 percent of courses there were taught by full-time professors. During the 2010-11 academic year, 1,620 courses were taught by part-time faculty compared to the 642 courses taught by full-time faculty.

Generally speaking, full-time faculty are state employees who receive benefits and have responsibilities to teaching, student advising and serving on committees. Part-time faculty are hired by contract. They are not obligated to do advising and other non-instructional work, and do not receive benefits like health insurance.

At Berkshire Community College, 1,183 courses at BCC were taught by part-time faculty compared to the 353 courses taught by full-time faculty during the 2010-11 school year, according to the Massachusetts Teachers Association report.
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