Sessional Faculty are faculty hired primarily to teach courses, though we may also perform administrative service and are often encouraged to invest in professional and intellectual development (we are eligible to apply for federal research-funds and do have professional-development funds, for instance). Sessional faculty are faculty in charge of their own courses and are usually either finished their graduate degrees or very close to it.
Sessional faculty appointments fall into two main types: “Over 50%” and “Under 50%”. The percentage describes how close an appointment is to the designated full-time load in your given faculty. You may be hired to teach a single course or a slate of courses in any one term or appointment. Course-loads over 50% of “full time” give sessional faculty access to a different range of benefits than course-loads falling under 50% of full-time. Sessional faculty may also hold appointments in more than one department, unit, or even institution at a time; your accumulated total course-load at UBC determines whether you are over or under a 50% appointment.
Full-Time Load Standard: By Faculty (Sept- April)
Key Procedures and Processes
Available sessional positions at UBC must be posted publicly by the program, unit, or department hiring; anyone may apply and should be considered. Departments must advertise the requirements and procedures for hiring, most of which are governed by the rules of Part 7: Conditions of Appointment for Sessional Faculty Members. Positions are generally for four or eight months, and may be either part-time or full-time.
Appointments often officially begin September 1st or January 1st and end at the end of the exam-month (December or April). Summer-teaching appointments are also available in many departments. Part 7: Conditions of Appointment for Sessional Faculty Members does specify how appointments should be assigned, with qualifications, experience, seniority and performance being the four factors which must be weighed. Your official Letter of Appointment from the UBC President’s Office often takes a long time to get to you and does not specify your place on the salary or experience-scale, so do insist upon a formal letter of offer from the departments or units hiring you, and ask that the letter spell out your course-load and placement on the minimum salary scale.
Sessional Faculty are appointed on four to eight-month renewable contracts. You can expect to be reappointed subject to:
- teaching performance;
- availability of courses or sections.
Sessional Faculty also have the right to first consideration for additional work that becomes available, subject to qualifications. All available sessional positions must be posted, so enquire with the Department as to where postings are to be found, and check back regularly for additional employment opportunities.
How Continuing Status is Acquired
If you teach the equivalent of thirty-six full-time months in a six-year period, you are eligible for “continuing status” – which provides additional benefits. In calculating your eligibility, all UBC teaching (including evening and summer courses) should be counted, not only that achieved in any one Department or Faculty. If you think you have or will soon achieve “continuing status,” inquire with Faculty Relations or, if you’re at our Okanagan Campus, contact Human Resources.
A Continuing Appointment entitles the faculty member to earn additional benefits (i.e. an annual professional development reimbursement entitlement). Continuing Sessional Faculty also have the right to be assigned courses at the same time and in the same process as their professorial colleagues in the Department. Continuing Faculty whose appointments are not renewed due to cancellation or lack of funding are entitled to severance pay or recall rights – the choice belongs entirely to the Sessional Faculty member.
If you have further questions about your appointment, please contact the Association.