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Adjunct Faculty Manual for Department Chairs


Dear Department Chair,

Adjunct faculty are valuable members of the academic community at SVSU. Some bring teaching experience or professional expertise to the classroom, while others are fresh out of graduate school and eager to begin their college teaching careers. Everyone at SVSU benefits when adjunct faculty instructors are well-prepared and feel welcomed in their departments. Consequently, apart of the CETL’s mission is to not only provide support services and professional development for the adjunct faculty at SVSU but to also support the departments that hire them. This manual was written with these goals in mind.

Feel free to stop by our office in Zahnow 231 any time to discuss concerns or questions you may have regarding your adjunct faculty or the information in this handbook. We are open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays and during intercessions. You can also contact us by emailing or calling us at 989-964-2622.

Thank you for helping SVSU’s adjunct faculty facilitate student success.


Erik Trump, Acting Director
Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning


Table of Contents

Welcome to the Adjunct Faculty Manual for Department Chairs. With approximately 400 adjunct faculty in the classroom each semester, the adjunct faculty at SVSU play a vital role in every department on the SVSU campus.

With that in mind, this manual has six goals.

  1. Process for Hiring New Adjunct Faculty: Provide an overview of the adjunct faculty hiring process. Although you are formally involved in only the first few steps in this process, understanding what happens after new hires leave your office should help you advise them accordingly.
  2. Policies and Procedures: Describe university policies that affect your department and its adjunct faculty.
  3. Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) Services: Outline the adjunct faculty services provided by CETL.
  4. Training Requirements for Teaching Online or Hybrid Courses: Review the required training for all faculty who teach online or hybrid courses.
  5. Providing Department Support for Adjunct Faculty: Offer some suggestions about how your department can support its adjunct faculty.
  6. Adjunct Faculty Benefits: Alert you to some benefits that your adjunct faculty may not know about.

If you have questions that are not answered in this manual, please reach out.

Section One: Process for Hiring New Adjunct Faculty

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The earlier you can begin the hiring process, the better. It can take six or more weeks to move from advertising a position to getting an applicant fully approved and processed. Remember that your faculty member will not have SVSU technology access (email, Canvas, etc.,) until they have completed their hiring paperwork with Human Resources (HR) and a background check has cleared them to work.

Step 1: Request that your dean post a position announcement

  • Provide the dean with a job summary, a list of minimum and preferred qualifications, and a list of requested publications for advertising (if required). Also provide names of those on the search committee and/or an inclusion advocate, if relevant. Your dean can provide a sample job description that you can modify to fit the position for which you are hiring.

Step 2: Screen and interview applicants

Step 3: Make a hiring recommendation to your dean

  • This recommendation must be made through a Dynamic Form, which can be found on mySVSU. Use the “Faculty & Staff” pull-down menu on the upper left and choose “Dynamic Forms.” The “Adjunct Faculty New Hire Form” is under CETL. The form will ask you to confirm the applicant’s qualifications to teach the course.
  • When you have decided whom to hire, let that person know that you will be recommending them, and impress upon them the importance of responding quickly to HR’s request to complete the hiring paperwork. 

Step 4: Contact HR to close the posting

  • Email a completed Candidate Interview Summary Sheet (available at the HR website) to HR will respond to the candidates who were not offered the position.

Step 5: HR takes over

  • Applicant will fill out employment forms provided by HR. A background check will be run. Once the background check is complete and all paperwork is turned into HR, they will be given technology access.

Step 6: New faculty member accepts the position

  • CETL sends a welcome letter with information about our office and the Fall or Winter Adjunct Faculty Orientation.
  • In the month or so before classes begin, CETL reaches out to all adjunct faculty with section assignments and gives them directions on how to “accept” their assignments through mySVSU. 


If you are filling a section with an adjunct faculty member who has taught at SVSU within the past year, you need only to ask your dean to assign the section to that faculty member. Similarly, if you have already identified an individual to teach a course, contact your dean.

In June of each year, you will be asked to review a list of adjunct faculty who taught in your department during the past year. Any faculty to whom your department does not plan to assign a section in the near future should be removed from this list.

Section Two: Policies and Procedures

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Adjunct faculty are hired on a per-semester basis and their responsibilities are limited primarily to those duties related to classroom instruction and student assessment. The following are some policies and procedures which might directly involve departmental action or oversight.

Course Load

  • The maximum credit hour teaching load of an adjunct faculty appointee is normally eight (8) hours in any given semester and fifteen (15) hours in any given year (July 1 through June 30 of the following year).
  • Should a department wish to appoint an adjunct faculty member for more than eight (8) credit hours during any semester, written consent from the Faculty
  • Association must be obtained. Keep in mind that some adjunct faculty teach in multiple departments.
  • Adjunct faculty may be contracted to teach during the Spring and/or Summer terms only in cases of clear departmental need and only if this appointment does not displace a full-time faculty member from desired supplemental teaching.


  • Should an emergency or illness require an adjunct faculty member to cancel their regularly scheduled class meeting, they should contact their department or CETL at 989-964-2622 so that a cancellation sign can be placed on their classroom door. CETL notifies the relevant department chair when we put up a class cancellation sign.
  • A second option for an unexpected or planned absence is for the adjunct faculty member to provide students with an online learning activity. If that activity is synchronous, it should be scheduled during the regular class meeting time. Faculty may convert up to 5 hours of instructional time to an online format.
  • If an adjunct faculty member knows in advance that they will have to miss a class, and if the department is agreeable, they can arrange with Career Services to deliver a presentation to the class in their absence. Their number is 989-964-4954.

Jury Duty

  • If an adjunct faculty member is called for Jury Duty, they should first contact the department chair to let them know there is a chance they might miss a class. If they are seated on a jury and it conflicts with their class time, they should work with the department chair to find a substitute.
  • In order to continue receiving pay from SVSU, adjunct faculty must provide the Jury Duty form and the check or cash received from the court to HR.
  • Adjunct faculty may keep any mileage payout. Once the check/cash is received by HR, there is a Jury Duty Payment Sheet that will need to be completed. Any further questions can be directed to Human Resources at 989-964-4108. 

Course Cancellation

  • If an adjunct faculty member accepts a Section Assignment and signs the contract, and is then removed from the course due to course cancellation or the course being taught by a full-time faculty member and they are not given another course to replace it, they will receive a $75.00 honorarium.

Office Hours
For each course taught, adjunct faculty are required to schedule one office hour per week. 

In addition to office spaces controlled by your department, adjunct faculty can use any of the following offices maintained by CETL. Each of these offices has computers and printers, as well as classroom supplies. 

  • Science East 235
  • Curtiss Hall 324
  • Gilbertson South 225
  • Health and Human Services 21

Compensation Pay Scale:

  • Pay Scale One:
    • Degree Level: Bachelor's
    • Semester Experience at SVSU: 0-3 semesters
    • Pay/Credit Hour: $700
  • Pay Scale Two:
    • Degree Level: Master's or BFA
    • Semester Experience at SVSU: 0-3 semesters
    • Pay/Credit Hour: $725
  • Pay Scale Three:
    • Degree Level: All Bachelor's or Master's
    • Semester Experience at SVSU: 4-6 semesters
    • Pay/Credit Hour: $725
  • Pay Scale Four:
    • Degree Level: All Bachelor's or Master's
    • Semester Experience at SVSU: 7-9 semesters
    • Pay/Credit Hour: $775
  • Pay Scale Five:
    • Degree Level: All Bachelor's or Master's
    • Semester Experience at SVSU: 10+ semesters
    • Pay/Credit Hour: $775
  • Pay Scale Six:
    • Degree Level: Ph.D./J.D./M.D.
    • Semester Experience at SVSU: 0
    • Pay/Credit Hour: $800
  • Adjunct faculty hired to teach English 111 and/or 080, Category One, Category Ten, and/or Communication Intensive General Education Courses are compensated at the rate of $875/credit hour.
  • Adjunct faculty hired to teach General Education courses will receive an additional $75.00/credit hour to participate in course assessment
  • Adjunct faculty whose mileage from their home address to campus is between 50 and 75 miles will be additionally compensated $450.00

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CETL provides several services for all adjunct faculty. 

  • Walk-In Support (Z 231)
    • Photocopying - Faculty can send copy requests to or drop them off in Z 231. These copies are made by the graphics center and billed to the department. The turnaround time is a day or two.
    • Supplies - Adjunct faculty in need of supplies like dry erase markers, pens, pencils, notebooks, and highlighters can come to Z 231 to get what is needed.
    • Technology –CETL has several laptop computers that adjunct faculty may use in our Z 231 office.
    • Mail – Our office notifies adjunct faculty when they receive mail.
    • Canvas – CETL hosts a Canvas site with teaching resources. It also sends announcements to your faculty, including letters offering instructions for the beginning and ending of each semester.
    • Break room – adjacent to our office, we supply a break room with coffee, a microwave, and a refrigerator (Z 217). Our main office has a water cooler.
  • Adjunct Faculty Orientations
    • An orientation is offered each fall and winter. The day-long fall orientation (open to all adjunct faculty) includes Canvas training, meetings with colleges/departments, dinner with department chairs and deans, and break-out sessions on teaching and learning topics. A smaller winter orientation is offered for newly hired adjunct faculty. Adjunct faculty are compensated $100 for attending an orientation.
  • Adjunct Faculty Handbook and Other Resources
  • Canvas Course
    • CETL maintains a Canvas Course with teaching resources. 
  • Workshops, Symposium, and Faculty Fridays
    • Adjunct faculty are invited to attend all CETL events, and those who attend are compensated for their time. Short events are compensated at a rate of $50.00 up to five a semester. Longer events are compensated at a rate of $100.00. CETL processes these payments.
  • Technology Support
    • The CETL office helps adjunct faculty file IT Tickets. Technology training sessions from IT can be found on the workshop schedule linked to Adjunct faculty are compensated for attending those workshops. One-on-one scheduling for technology assistance is also available. 
  • Adjunct Faculty Funding Plan
    • The Adjunct Faculty Funding Plan provides funds to adjunct faculty to attend conferences, workshops, meetings, presentations, etc. to further develop their substantive discipline area and teaching experience. More information about this plan is available at
  • Online/Hybrid Teaching Certification
    • If your adjunct faculty member will be teaching an online or hybrid course, they will likely need to be certified. See Section Four.

Section Four: Training Requirements for Teaching Online or Hybrid Courses

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SVSU has always required full-time and adjunct faculty who wish to teach online courses to receive additional training. CETL offers this additional training to satisfy Higher Learning Commission requirements that the university maintains authority over faculty qualifications to teach courses.

Please contact Anne Huebel, CETL’s Instructional Designer, if you have questions about the training process: 989-964-2130 / 
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions that we hope can help Department Chairs as they direct their adjunct faculty toward the appropriate training. 

Do all “hybrid” courses require instructor certification?

Not always.

  • Some courses listed as “hybrid” do not actually have an online teaching component. Rather, they are hybrid in the sense that students meet on campus part of the time and complete their other contact hours in the community.
  • In some hybrid courses your department might be hiring an adjunct instructor for the in-person component of the course, rather than the online component.
  • Sometimes (such as in field placement situations) the adjunct faculty member may be using Canvas only as a mechanism for making announcements. In such cases, Canvas is not being used for instruction.
  • If you’re uncertain about a specific course, please reach out to CETL. 

How can my adjunct faculty become qualified to teach online or hybrid courses?

  1. By taking CETL’s Online/Hybrid Course Design and Teaching Certification course (known as the Designer’s Course).
  2. By taking CETL’s Online/Hybrid Facilitator Certification course.
  3. By having their department chair present CETL with evidence that they have received similar qualification elsewhere.

Which of the two CETL certification courses is right for my faculty?

  • If your faculty member will be developing a Canvas course largely from the ground up, the Online/Hybrid Course Design and Teaching Certification course (known as the Designer’s Course) is required. The department might provide the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) and even a syllabus for  such a course, but the adjunct faculty member is considered the “Designer” if they are the instructor  ofrecord and make decisions about course organization, assignment design, class interactions, and so forth. 

Do the CETL certification courses teach faculty how to use Canvas?

  • Not exactly. The CETL courses are taught via Canvas and require faculty to design work in the Canvas learning platform. However, the courses emphasize excellent online course design, rather than proficiency with specific Canvas teaching technologies. Both courses employ the Quality Matters Higher Education standards to ensure that faculty are creating Canvas courses and activities that conform to nationally-recognized best practices. To learn more about specific Canvas tools, adjunct faculty can take any number of ITS workshops.
  • The bottom line: if you are hiring an adjunct faculty member who has never used Canvas (or a similar online learning platform), they will need more than a CETL certification course to be ready to teach effectively in an online environment. Departments can assist adjunct faculty by identifying learning tools that students are familiar with. 

What kind of evidence will exempt a faculty member from taking a certification course?

  • Proof of having completed a similar course at another university. We routinely, for example, recognize Mott Community College’s [MAGNA] training course. If we are not familiar with the course, we will reach out to the provider to get a description or ask the faculty member for a syllabus or other evidence of topics covered. Other universities contact us for the same reason. A degree, certificate, or specialization in instructional design.
  • A statement from the department chair and college dean attesting to equivalent training that is not easily perceived on the faculty member’s vita. For example, a graduate from SVSU’s College of Having taught online elsewhere may be, but is not always, adequate qualification. SVSU’s expectations for a quality online educational experience are high, so we would seek to review that faculty member’s prior course to assure that it meets the Quality Matters course design standards.
  • In cases where determining equivalency seems especially complicated, we encourage you to open a conversation with CETL.

I’m hiring a faculty member a few days before classes start. Can they begin teaching before they finish the certification?

  • If they need to take only the Facilitator’s course, yes. This course is short and should be completed within the first week of classes. In other situations, please contact CETL to work out a solution.

Are adjunct faculty members compensated for completing a certification course?

  • Yes. The compensation is $100.

Section Five: Providing Department Support for Adjunct Faculty

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When it comes to how departments can support adjunct faculty, one size does not fit all. Different departments have different levels of interaction with their adjunct faculty, depending to a large degree on the number of adjunct sections taught in that department. Nonetheless, there are a few best practices that all departments can employ, and there are additional support mechanisms that you may wish to implement. The suggestions that follow are drawn from actual practices at SVSU. 


  • Once your adjunct faculty members have received their SVSU login credentials, you can do a few things to help orient them:
    • Point out CETL’s Adjunct Faculty Handbook
    • Provide teaching-related materials (see separate section below)
    • Introduce your faculty secretary
    • Identify office or lounge spaces they can use
    • Show how to get copies made
    • Give contact information for yourself and any other support people
    • Explain how to get a classroom unlocked (call 989-964)
    • Help with book orders (if needed)
    • Alert to training dates (including Canvas)
    • Show them how to use mySVSU to get their course rosters and post their grades.
    • Ask them to provide you and the dean with a copy of their syllabus before the semester starts

Teaching Materials and Guidance

  • Most departments provide a sample or “shell” syllabus; others require adjunct faculty to teach to an established syllabus. The CETL Adjunct Faculty Handbook outlines the syllabus components required by SVSU, including policies language. In addition, many adjunct faculty may find examples of assignments or in-class exercises helpful. Those examples can clarify the appropriate level of challenge that the department expects.
  • Give some time to describing what kind of student preparation should be expected. Will the adjunct faculty member be teaching a course that enrolls many first-semester students? Is the course a gateway for specific majors? Knowing something about the students will help adjunct faculty prepare their teaching materials accordingly.
  • Some departments have developed their own Course Guides, which detail expected Student Learning Outcomes and offer extensive suggestions about effective teaching.


  • If the department selects the books, ordering these in advance (and securing desk copies) will make life easier for your adjunct faculty. If your faculty choose and order their own books, consider asking the department secretary or other faculty member to assist in the process. 


  • Although CETL can process adjunct faculty photocopy requests, your faculty will usually get their materials more quickly by working with your department secretary. If your faculty teach evening classes and can’t make it to the CETL office before 7:00 pm, we can arrange to leave copied materials in one of the satellite offices, which can be accessed 24/7. 

Canvas Training

  • If your adjunct faculty plan to use the Canvas learning platform, provide models and guidance for effective design. If they would benefit from specialized training, ITS offers numerous workshops, and faculty are compensated to attend those. (See page 12)

Course Evaluations

  • If your department prefers paper evaluations, ask your secretary to make up packets for the adjunct faculty. Completed evaluations will go to the Dean’s office first, then to the department chair. Try to share the course evaluations with the faculty member as soon as possible. If you have already established a mentoring/evaluation relationship with the faculty member, the evaluations offer a good opportunity for an ongoing dialogue about teaching.
  • If an adjunct faculty member uses Electronic Evaluations (Canvas), the Dean will review these and release them to you. Although the faculty member has Canvas access to these evaluations, you still might want to forward them with a note of appreciation.

Accessibility Resources & Accommodations (ARA) Letters

  • Prepare adjunct faculty for the kinds of accommodations they may have to make so that they are not surprised by an ARA letter. If faculty are teaching courses where the department has established policies for meeting common accommodations, share those policies or practices. For example, if your faculty administer exams in a laboratory setting, help them anticipate how to accommodate a student whose ARA letter provides for extended or private testing time. If you have questions about an accommodations request, reach out to ARA Office at 989-964-7000. 


  • If your department has a system for evaluating and mentoring adjunct faculty, share the details of that system before the semester begins so that the faculty member can plan accordingly.
  • Department members can:
    • Visit adjunct faculty members’ classrooms to provide feedback about their teaching practices
    • Review syllabi or assignments and make recommendations
    • Review their Canvas course sites and make recommendations
    • Assist faculty in developing assignments
    • Invite faculty to lunch or coffee to talk about teaching
    • Offer career advice


  • CETL reminds adjunct faculty about important beginning and end-of-the semester responsibilities, but departments offer other forms of regular communication:
    • Personal email or face-to-face communications
    • Regular email departmental “newsletters”
    • Social media
    • Departmental Canvas site


  • Adjunct faculty greatly appreciate being included in the scheduling process. If you can, check with them about their available or preferred days/times as the department develops its schedule for the next year. Keep them updated as the schedule is approved and if any of their courses end up getting dropped later.

Assessment & Department Mission

  • If your department asks adjunct faculty to collect materials or data for assessment purposes, provide some context. Help the faculty appreciate the department’s goals and challenges regarding retention, recruitment, and so forth. More broadly, consider the vital role that adjunct faculty may play in your department’s overall success. They may, for example, teach many of your first-year students, making them a critical point of contact. Do you hope to recruit majors from their courses? Does the success of students in those courses affect other programs? Will an accrediting body be seeking information about your adjunct faculty and their role in the department? Consider how steps you take to support adjunct faculty could support the department itself.

Office Space and Supplies

  • Ideally, you would like to be able to interact with your full-time and adjunct faculty colleagues on an equal basis. Being able to provide a nearby office allows adjunct faculty the space to concentrate on their work, prepare for class, grade papers, or meet with their students, all while being able to associate with their department colleagues.
  • If space is not available through your department, CETL maintains several offices that are fitted with computers, printers, and other supplies. These offices are accessible via keypad 24/7.
    • Science East 235
    • Curtiss Hall 324
    • Gilbertson South 225
    • Health and Human Services 211

Community Building

To help your adjunct faculty feel like they are welcome and valued members of your department, consider the following:

  • Invite them to events such as graduation receptions or student showcases.
  • Invite them to share their expertise via faculty panels, student clubs, and so forth. Nominate them for the Anderson Award for Adjunct Teaching (contact CETL for details).
  • Create your own department awards to recognize faculty for their service, excellence, student mentoring, or accomplishments.
  • Encourage them to attend CETL and ITS workshops.
  • Include in department curriculum discussions.
  • Ask University Communications to feature them in publicity.

Crisis Situations

  • Teaching can be challenging and stressful, and sometimes we all need support beyond white board markers and photocopying. Like all SVSU employees, adjunct faculty do have access to the SVSU Employee Assistance Program, which has a “Life Advisor” benefit that offers crisis intervention 24/7 (800-448-8326).

Section Six: Adjunct Faculty Benefits

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When you hire a new adjunct faculty member, alert them to the benefits that come with their status. Additional details are available in the Adjunct Faculty Handbook maintained by CETL.

The SVSU I.D. card gives faculty access to several benefits:

  • Athletic Events Passes
  • Ryder Fitness Center
  • Bookstore: 15% Discount
  • Tax-Free Food Purchases On-Campus
  • Library Borrowing Privileges

Office 365 Software
Faculty can load this software on their home computers for free.

Adjunct faculty are eligible to participate in the Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity plan (GSRA) offered by TIAA-CREF. 

Parking Permits 
One free parking permit each academic year. 

Tuition Discount 
Adjunct faculty can receive a 50% discount off the regular tuition rates for SVSU classes in any semester during the academic year in which they teach. 

Commencement Regalia
Provided free for faculty who attend

Some Final Words

Some of the content in this manual emerged after conversations between CETL and academic departments across campus, including at a Deans and Chairs meeting. Many of the suggestions in Section Five came directly from feedback on a departments survey CETL conducted in the fall of 2022. 
Several chairs gave generously of their time and provided detailed feedback on drafts of this manual.

No doubt, however, there is still room for improvement. If you spot any oversights, or if you have suggestions for how CETL could help you or your adjunct faculty, please let us know.