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AFT On Campus
September/October 2012

 

Feature Story
Dismantling the professoriate

Institutions' reliance on an under-resourced part-time workforce is selling education short.

CATHERINE BARNARD has been a college psychology teacher for 29 years, the last 16 of them at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan. When she started there, she earned $1,800 per three-credit course. Now, after her years of service, she’s worked her way up to $2,478 and holding—and holding and holding and holding.

About 13 years ago, she mentioned to the human resources director that she had completed her doctorate. That's nice, she was told, but don't expect a pay increase because of it.

The subject of relative pay for work actually has come up in Barnard's classes, she says, where "students have said, 'Hey, you get megabucks for helping us here. We only get minimum wage!' I can tell them that, for what I do—preparing for courses and class, teaching in class, grading—those in minimum wage jobs make more than I do.' If you’re looking at me as a highly esteemed faculty member,' I say, 'think again.' Their jaws drop."

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About AFT On Campus

AFT On Campus is the newspaper of AFT’s higher education division. It covers issues of interest to full-time and part-time faculty and academic staff at colleges and universities, as well as topics such as the academic staffing crisis, academic freedom, funding, federal legislation, and the advocacy and professional work of members. AFT On Campus is published five times a year and is mailed to all higher education members of the AFT as a benefit of membership. Single copies are free on request. Questions, comments and inquiries about AFT On Campus should be sent to its managing editor Barbara McKenna.  
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