US: Seeking tenure 'conversion'

In discussions about the use and abuse of adjunct faculty members, 'conversion' is a controversial topic, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. Typically it refers to a decision by an institution to convert a number of adjunct positions into a (usually smaller) number of tenure-track positions. The idea of conversion has been key to reform proposals of national faculty groups. Some colleges have bucked the trends and converted slots to the tenure track in various ways. Last week the American Association of University Professors entered the conversion debate in a significant way with a new draft policy on the treatment of adjunct faculty members.

A cursory look at the draft might suggest that it is just another statement from a faculty group calling for better treatment of adjuncts and the creation of more tenure-track lines. But it actually reflects an attempt to shift how conversion might take place - by calling for a switch not of slots, but in the status of those currently working as adjuncts, whom the AAUP wants tenured (or converted). Specifically, it calls for these faculty members to be considered for tenure based on their teaching contributions (assuming that like most adjuncts they focus on teaching), even if they are at research universities.
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site