Barnard President Debora Spar sent an email to the community this evening informing them of the details of the contact made between Barnard College and the contingent faculty union, BCF-UAW 2110. This announcement follows an email sent on Thursday informing students that an agreement had been made while not supplying details. The announcement of the agreement came mere days before the strike deadline, and purports to tackle some serious concerns of contingent faculty. The contract is pending formal ratification by the union. Full details of the agreement are available on Barnard’s website.

The announcement from President Spar continues congratulatory assertions which Barnard has made in the past. It puts forward that Barnard negotiated “respectfully and in good faith,” and that promoted the College’s “deep respect for the union members’ significant contribution to our community.” In her email, Spar promotes wages, healthcare, and job security as the core tenets of the new agreement. Wages for contingent faculty will raise over five years, the first raise for contingent faculty in over a decade. Barnard will subsidize healthcare by 50% for full-time, “half-time,” and “third-time” contingent on the number of credits taught. The agreement also provides severance packages for contingent faculty who teach classes in seven consecutive semesters.

While the full details of the contract are not yet available, it does answer many concerns of BCF-UAW 2110. Current announcements do not state whether or not the agreement will take any steps on the issues of maternity leave or gendered wage gaps, two key components of claims of gender discrimination against the College. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for coverage on more specifics on the negotiations and the agreements reached.

Full text of Debora Spar’s email to Barnard:

Dear Members of the Barnard Community,

Barnard is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the Barnard Contingent Faculty Union (BCF)-UAW that reflects our deep respect for the union members’ significant contribution to our community. In keeping with our core goals of bargaining respectfully and in good faith, celebrating the contributions of our contingent faculty, and preserving the integrity of our academic programs, we have reached an honorable agreement that that both negotiation teams can celebrate.

When formally ratified by the union, this agreement will push forward substantive changes in wages, benefits, and job security for adjunct faculty that recognize their commitment to our students:

Wages. We will boost the minimum wage for adjunct professors to $7,000 per three-point course and increase it to $10,000 over the next five years—a sizable wage increase in total for the majority of adjunct professors. Barnard’s per-course wages are now among the best in New York City, and among elite, urban colleges and universities nationally.

Healthcare. With our new healthcare agreement, Barnard is among the few colleges in the nation to offer access to healthcare to all its part-time adjuncts, as well as College-contributed subsidies to those teaching a specified number of courses. Beginning in the first year of the new contract, adjunct faculty teaching half-time or more will be eligible for a College-subsidized plan at a rate equivalent to one-half of the subsidy provided to our full-time faculty. By the third year of the contract, and in the interest of providing a subsidized option to greater numbers of adjunct faculty, this same subsidy will apply to those faculty teaching one-third of a full-time course load or more.

Job Security. Barnard has addressed the union’s concerns around job security by providing multi-year appointments or severance pay to adjunct faculty with longer terms of service. This approach supports job security in a way that does not compromise our discretion in course selection and hiring, and that preserves the integrity of our academic program.

For further details about the contract, visit

We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support and input from different groups, including the assistance of federal mediation, in achieving a fair deal for BCF-UAW members. Barnard looks forward to building an even stronger partnership with our contingent faculty to the benefit of our students, the academic program, and the community that defines us.


Debora Spar

Image via Bwog