By Taniya Harwell |Staff Writer|
The California Faculty Association (CFA) has released the first document in their “Race to the Bottom” series, exposing how the Cal State University (CSU) system has failed to support its instructors.
The “Race to the Bottom” series is a compilation of evidence by the CFA documenting the lack of wage increases for CSU instructors in the last 10 years.
“It’s time at long last for the university to fix 10 years of problems,” said Lillian Taiz, a CSULA history professor.
The expose shows how, in comparison to other higher education systems, CSU management has failed to invest in their faculty.
For example, over the last 10 years, the average faculty salary on each UC campus has increased. At UC San Francisco, the average faculty salary between 2004 and 2013 has risen to $16,000 while at San Francisco State, the average faculty salary has lost $9,000, according to calfac.org.
The mission of the CSU, as stated in the California Master Plan for Higher Education, is to provide quality education to every student. The CFA said that CSU has failed to complete this mission by neglecting the faculty.
“I’ve had to work extra, teaching two courses every summer for the last 18 years to make ends meet,” said Dr. Darel Engen, a CSU San Marcos.
Engen explained that when professors have to take on extra work students are not getting the most out of their learning experience, saying professors “can’t prioritize the quality of teaching.”
Engen said professors are losing the time needed to create new and engaging lectures, meet one-on-one with students, and give students feedback needed to succeed by taking on extra work.
The average salary for a CSU faculty member is $55,000 per year, according to calfac.org.
“This pushes us out of middle class,” said Dr. Jennifer Eagan, a CSU East Bay professor and CFA chapter president.
Eagan said this discrepancy in wages from UC to CSU started before the financial crisis of 2008.
The paper includes an in-depth examination of the wages for CSU faculty and compares it to other California vocations, which includes fire fighter, car sales representative, and truck driver. All of which make more than or equal to the average wage of a CSU faculty member, most of whom have advanced degrees.
Most UCs raised tuition prices in hopes of attracting new staff, CSU’s have used their budgets to fund technology and new buildings, according to Engen.
The CFA does not think, however, that student fees being raised is the answer to this problem.
The association expects that by publishing the papers, university officials will take a deeper look at key budgeting decisions being made.
“We hope [the chancellor] will be more reasonable or understanding,” said Taiz.