A committee including members of the American Association of University Professors presented a survey about non-tenure-track faculty at Oregon State University on Wednesday. Instructional, research and professional faculty members who are not on track to gain tenure make up 68 percent of OSU’s faculty. It’s a group that’s traditionally been plagued by poor job security, inequitable pay, and a lack of respect from tenured faculty and administration.
The survey was completed by over 1200 faculty members, who expressed concern over one-year contracts that give little job security, workloads that don’t compensate faculty members for outside work, and a lack of uniform standards for expectations and compensation. Despite their high rates of post-graduate education, two-thirds of instructional faculty members are paidless than $50,000 a year. Armelle Denis, one of the survey’s creators, added that “there is a strong perception that wages are not determined in a clear and consistent manner.” Instructors often feel that their input is not valued at departmental meetings.
Kathleen Stanley presented the group’s recommendations that annual reports must be conducted, salary inequities addressed to reflect instructors’ qualifications and experience, and support provided for professional development. She also recommended multi-year contracts, and timely notification of contract renewal or non-renewal. Right now instructors sometimes find out whether they’ve been hired only shortly before the term starts.
Clarification of job descriptions, revision of the promotion process and including non-tenure-track faculty at all levels of governance is essential, according to Stanley. She emphasized the need for all faculty to be treated with respect: “We cannot live up to our potential if so many of our faculty members feel alienated and invisible.”
By Bethany Carlson