Donna Castellano

Looking back, my 17 years working as an adjunct professor at SUNY Westchester Community College has been one of great satisfaction with my chairpersons and students. The Medical Billing and Coding Program was originally located in the Office Technologies Department under Janet Ranucci.

Under Professor Ranucci’s leadership and guidance, I worked uninterruptedly for 15 straight years. I was given the opportunities to participate in a presentation to students from Gorton High School during our program’s Health Care Administration Day, which was such a satisfying experience. I was also fortunate to get into the very important ARRA HITECH federally-funded program for the early stages of the electronic medical records implementation. Under Jeanne Maloney and Donna Sorkin, this program helped train many unemployed students and gave them the hope that this new area of health care would offer them a new career path.

I found all these years gratifying, and under Dr. Hankin we all thrived in our positions as adjuncts. In the past two years, I have been challenged by not being assigned classes since the move of the Medical Billing and Coding Program to another department. I find this especially challenging and unacceptable because of my rank as a senior adjunct. The reality is that I have only been assigned two classes over the last eight semesters while all the junior faculty have been working steadily. I find this very troublesome.

I have taught online classes since I took the initiative in 2011 to get certified as an online instructor because WCC was trending increasingly to online instruction, but the hybrid format seems to have replaced the entirely online class. This has been the biggest challenge in my career as a senior adjunct and one I am working to resolve.

Overall, I have had a satisfying career as an adjunct professor at WCC but have become aware of the struggles of most other adjuncts, who in many cases have advanced degrees. Something really has to change.