Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the USF Part-Time Faculty Association?

A. The Faculty Association is a union. We are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), and the AFL-CIO. We are AFT/CFT Local 6590. The approximately 650 or so part-time faculty members at USF (outside of the Law School) are covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (see contract under documents) that we have with the University of San Francisco. All part-time faculty are (except those in the Law School) are members. 

Q. Why is a union necessary at USF?

A. The Association's primary function is to act as a bargaining agent to the University. We negotiate part-time faculty salary, benefits, and working conditions. Since the creation of the union over 25 years ago, part timers have made great progress in improving their status at the university.

Through the Executive Committee governing body (president, vice-president, secretary treasurer) with the Policy Board (7 representatives from the colleges), and in general meetings, we assemble, consult, and try to address pertinent issues related to part-time faculty. These issues include compensation, office space, clerical assistance, benefits, and administrative contractual misapplications. The Association also oversees the grievance process, works with the University's Labor Relations' staff to solve problems, and negotiates new contracts.

Q. Do I have to join the Faculty Association?

A. Membership in the USF-PTFA is a condition of employment at USF.  The 1% dues are deducted from our paychecks, and everyone is a full member.  

The status of a "conscientious objector" is possible.  If you choose "conscientious objector (CO)" status, you are obligated—according to your Employment Agreement—to provide the Faculty Association with a letter declaring your reasons for requesting this status. The CO committee will consider your declaration. CO's still pay dues, but the money goes into a student scholarship fund.

(See the contract for further elaboration on this issue. If you have questions, contact someone on the Executive Committee.)

Q. What is the "preferred hiring pool"?

A. If you have been at USF for at least two years and have taught 32+ units (or will have completed 32 units in the particular semester in which you're applying), then you are eligible to apply for the preferred hiring pool (PHP). The PHP status gives you seniority rights, a significant pay increase (approximately 25%), potential access to health benefits (if there are any slots open), tuition remission, and retirement (you need to teach a minimum of 13 units per year and no more than 24 units). (See the home page, the section on Preferred Hiring Pool.)

Q. Is it possible to get some kind of health insurance for me (and possibly for my spouse) through the USF-PTFA?  If so, what are the conditions? I have been teaching at USF, on and off, for about 6-7 years.

A. Kaiser Health insurance is available to part-time faculty who are in the Preferred Hiring Pool (PHP). If you have been at USF for 6-7 years and have never applied for the PHP, you should do so. Once in the PHP, you have increased pay, health benefits, life insurance, and retirement (beginning 2003). The PHP application deadline is February 15 of each year. You should contact your dean as soon as possible to find out how to apply. 

If any spaces are available after all PHP members have enrolled for the benefit, non-PHP USFFA-PT faculty with a minimum of one year of service and who have taught at least 16 units may also apply for this benefit. Available spaces will be filled by seniority and on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Q. I'm an adjunct, and am planning to apply for the PHP. I'm wondering if there is a way to access Blue Cross rather than Kaiser as the medical insurance. Currently I've only been teaching one class for USF, though I've probably taught 35+ units.

A. Kaiser is the only option available through the union.

Q. Whenever I brought up the issue of PHP placement with the dean, I felt like I was asking for something I was not supposed to ask for. Could you please share with me your experience with the application process of other faculty members? In general, do the deans consider the applicant a troublemaker who will cost them more money and, therefore, would rather disapprove the application?

A. I don't know whether or not they are going to think you're a trouble maker. You're entitled to apply for PHP. It's a right guaranteed by the contract, and it's very important to exercise this right.

Q. Is there such thing as seniority within the PHP? I'm in the PHP and a fellow teacher is also in PHP. She claims that she is "ahead" of me in the PHP because she was given PHP status before I was; this means that she has claim on courses before I do. My understanding is that all members of the PHP are theoretically equal and that there are no seniority provisions in PHP. Is this so?

A. No this is not so. There is seniority within the PHP, depending on when you received PHP status. Those put into PHP before others have more seniority. However, PHP 2 does not have seniority over PHP 1. Seniority depends on when you first received PHP status.

A list of PHP faculty and seniority dates is available on the private USF-PTFA members Canvas site.  Contact secretary [at] for instructions to access the site.

Q. What about payment for independent study. I have two students this semester: one as a favor to the dept. (my choice, I recognise) and another who, halfway through the semester, discovered an AP course exempted her from the class, but she still needed the credit hours to graduate, and could I help, etc.? You know the score. Should I receive pay for directed study?

A. You should be getting paid for independent studies (same as directed studies). It is in the contract, Article 19.8 (pg. 46).

Q. How many units can we teach by semester? I used to teach 10 units per semester but I was informed by the Dean's office that part-time faculty can only teach eight units per semester.

A. Eight units is correct. Or four classes in an academic year. Occasionally this requirement is waived by the Dean and exceptions are made. However, the general policy is eight units a semester. If you teach in a summer session, again the maximum is eight units, for a total of 24 units in a calendar year.

Q.  Why don't part-timers who have been teaching for many years get a substantial increase in pay?

A. Pay is negotiated with each contract and our increases have generally been correlated with full-time increases. So if they got 3% each year for the next three years, then that is what we have been able to negotiate. However, we always put higher numbers on the table and hope for the best.

Q. Shouldn't we get dental insurance after a certain number of years?

A. Part-time faculty only have medical coverage, not dental insurance. We've explored dental coverage with administration and, as yet, it hasn't worked out for financial reasons related to coverage providers.

Q. I wanted to go on leave of absence for the Spring so if things didn't work out, at least I could still work here. I was checking the contract, and it said I have to write a letter to the dean 45 days prior to the start of the semester. I was hoping there was a form to fill out so I'd know what to include in the letter. Do you have any ideas as to what I should put in the letter? Do I have to tell them why I'm taking the leave? Also, can I definitely retain my e-mail address and remote access? A. First, you must be a member of the PHP. Leaves of absence can only be taken when granted by the dean. Non-PHP faculty do not have a contract-guaranteed right to take a leave of absence. Nonetheless, should non-PHP wish to take a leave, such agreements can be entered into independently with your dean. 

A. There isn't a form to fill out. You need to write a letter. No specific explanation for the leave need be provided. However, it is a good idea to let your dean know that you will be doing something that will enhance your teaching competence. Unlike full time faculty, you are not paid when on sabbatical or leave of absence. Therefore, you are under no obligation to conform to university requirements for full-time faculty. 

Yes, you can retain your email address and remote access if you are in the PHP. (Check article 12.7 in the contract.) 

Q. How much time can I take off?

A. Normally, it's two years, as permitted by your dean, though ultimately the dean may extend the leave beyond two years.

Q. What benefit does the contract give us at the Koret Center? 

A. Part time factulty may join the Koret Center for $100 for umlimited use. In the past, use was limited to 6 AM and 6 PM weekdays, but recently that was expanded to all hours. Be sure to bring your ID or you won't be able to get in.

Immediate family members may not join the Koret at the reduced rate of $100/year. However, spouses could be eligible to become a member for $360 per year with unrestricted access (this amounts to $30 per month). Their dependents may become members by purchasing a family membership for $580 ($48/month). This pass encompasses the whole family, including the spouse and up to two children. Spouse and dependent memberships require proof of the relationship. Marriage Certificate or tax documentation are acceptable forms of proof. To sign up, spouses and/or dependents must accompany the faculty member and bring proper documentation and a valid photo ID. Registration hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. To arrange an alternate time, contact the Membership Coordinator at (415) 422-2943.

Q. How do I apply for tuition remission?

A. Contact