Facts About the Duke Faculty Union Contract

Our members voted unanimously to ratify our contract in July 2017. The contract runs from July 1, 2017 to June 20, 2020. We are proud of our contract, and of the extent to which members regularly attended and participated in negotiations. Some of the key victories for unionized faculty and their students are summarized below.

Moving Past Contingency Duke Faculty Bargaining

  • We fought for greater job security so that professors can focus on teaching their students, as opposed to constantly searching for their next gig.
  • Under the contract, the University can hire Instructors to teach courses on a semester or 1-year basis to fill-in for professors who are temporarily unavailable. After 4 years, however, they must be offered a 3-year appointment and may be reclassified as Lecturing Fellows.
  • The University may also hire Instructors who do not teach separate courses but engage in instructional activities such as leading labs and discussion groups. After 3 one-year appointments, instructors are entitled to a 2-year appointment, then 3-year appointments thereafter.
  • Lecturing Fellows who teach and design courses drawing on their disciplinary or pedagogical expertise will receive initial appointments of 3 years. After the first 3 years, Lecturing Fellows will receive a 2-year appointment, followed by 3-year appointments thereafter.
  • Reappointment is presumed for unionized faculty on multi-year contracts absent one of four disqualifying events: poor performance, elimination or downsizing of department/program, replacement by regular rank faculty, or a serious financial change that threatens the viability of the program, department, or college.

Access to Computers, Teaching Supplies and Professional Development

  • Computers are an essential resource for college teachers in the twenty-first century. We need computers to submit grades, maintain course websites, communicate with students, and develop visuals to accompany lectures. Under the contract, unionized faculty appointed for 1 or more years shall be provided with computers and computer services on the same basis as other faculty.
  • Prior to the contract, faculty often paid for teaching supplies out of pocket. Unionized faculty will now be reimbursed for materials, supplies, computer software, books, music scores, and other supplies needed to teach courses.
  • We believe that effective teachers seek opportunities—such as workshops on pedagogy or professional conferences— to continually hone their craft and learn about new developments in their fields. There is now a $50,000 fund for unionized faculty for purposes related to pedagogy and course development. Individual faculty can apply for up to $1000.

Evaluation and Reappointment

  • In most cases, there was no formal process for evaluating the performance of non-regular rank faculty prior to the contract. We requested regular performance reviews to make the reappointment process more transparent. Additionally, we believe that receiving constructive feedback from other professors on a regular basis will make us even stronger teachers.
  • Under the contract, unionized faculty should be evaluated each year in the first 3 years of appointment and then in the penultimate year of subsequent appointments. Evaluations include classroom observation, a self-assessment, a departmental review of student evaluations, recent syllabi and a current CV.

Compensation and Wages

  • We as a union are committed to moving from the poverty wages that some members were receiving prior to the contract to fair compensation for all Duke faculty.
  • Under the contract, everybody in the bargaining unit received a raise. The least paid faculty won 46 % raises. Salaried faculty achieved an average pay increase of 12%.

Inclusion in the Life of the University

  • We believe that both instructors and their students benefit when faculty are included in the life of the university and provided with timely information about academic policies and programs.
  • Prior to the contract, unionized faculty did not receive any formal orientation. Going forward, unionized faculty will receive an orientation that covers, among other things, student affairs programs, instructional technology services, and campus safety. Departments will also provide program specific orientations.
  • Unionized faculty shall be invited to faculty meetings, included on listservs, and invited to departmental academic and social programming.
  • Unionized faculty may serve on undergraduate and master’s theses committees. They are also permitted to teach independent studies and serve as departmental advisors.