My university treats non-tenure track faculty very differently from the way in which it treats tenure-track faculty. In particular, it gives them twice the teaching load and does not permit them to participate in department governance. Given these structural limitations, what can I do (as chair) to counter this imposed class structure?
Strategize as best you can to treat non-tenure-track faculty as the full-fledged people they are. Here are some ideas. You can ask the non-TT faculty members individually what would make their work lives better, given the parameters of your institution. What matters to one person might not matter to another. For one person it might be a change of office, but others care more about the times of day they teach. For example, ask for their preferences for days and times to teach and for what their “dream” classes might be (even if realistically their choices get less weight than those of tenure-track faculty). If possible, ask these questions at the same time you ask the tenured/tenure-track faculty for their schedule preferences for the next year. Make sure that all faculty members get the same allotment of teaching assistants or graders (though if rules permit, non-TT faculty members in medium-large classes sometimes prefer to do their own grading in exchange for more paid units). Have an all-inclusive email list for all faculty for events such as lectures, parties, alumni gatherings, and so on. Invite them to receptions, dinner, or other social events before or after talks. Make sure that they are introduced as colleagues on all the usual occasions. Ensure that the office manager and other staff treat them well and do not slight them by giving them badly located mailboxes or the like. Discuss your plans with your TT colleagues and ask them to be sure to treat your non-TT colleagues as full-fledged human beings as well.
Institutionally, work through appropriate channels to improve working conditions. If you do not have a faculty union, then try to work in concert with other chairs (though don’t be surprised to meet resistance—some chairs seem to enjoy being “management”) to improve the work structure, salaries, and benefits for non-tt faculty. Increase their pay to the degree within your power and bend rules when it’s feasible.
They will appreciate your efforts!