American Association of University Professors
University of Delaware Chapter

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AAUP Voice

May-June 2006

“ General University Expectations” and Faculty Workload

Issues involving the composition of workload for both academic units and for individual faculty members are crucial for the annual evaluation of individual faculty members, for promotion and tenure decisions, and for designing and implementing administered workloads. One theme that cuts across these issues is the relationship between “general expectations of faculty” and workload policy. This theme is central to many of the concerns that surround workload complaints and potential grievances.

In “Personnel Policies for Faculty,” the University of Delaware Faculty Handbook specifies the components that constitute the workload agreements for academic programs. Depending on the responsibilities of the units and the categories of faculty that compose them, workloads will “vary in the relative balance of teaching, research and service assignments to faculty.” Whatever the specific components of a unit’s workload, however, all faculty members are required to meet “general University expectations” that include the following:

*Regularly scheduled undergraduate and/or graduate instruction;

*Advisement, mentoring, and academic supervision of students;

*Faculty governance and the development of effective conduct of the academic program as defined by departmental and college by-laws;

*Other responsibilities expected of all faculty on the basis of approved departmental and college by-laws or as set forth by the College or the University Faculty Senate or as otherwise stipulated by University policy.

Since most non-tenure faculty are fully engaged in instructional activities and since most non-tenured track faculty do not have administered workloads, the AAUP and the Administration have agreed that these general University expectations must be specified and agreed to on a unit-by-unit basis as they apply to non-tenure track faculty. For tenure-track faculty, the components of a unit’s workload should fulfill the general expectations of faculty.

For the most part, expectations regarding instruction, mentoring, and advisement of students are well understood and do not raise workload issues within units or between administrators and faculty. General expectations regarding responsibilities for governance and for other service commitments, however, are less clear. There is considerable variation in the degree to which workload policies of different units provide specific guidelines for the basic requirements that faculty members must meet regarding, for example, participation on departmental committees and service to their respective colleges, the university, and to their profession.

Given the variation in the missions of different academic units and the role of faculty members in formulating workload policies, it is reasonable that workload policies dealing with governance and service are not uniform. Should faculty members believe, however, that service expectations for their unit are unreasonable, they should compare them with the workload policies of other units. All workload policies are posted on the web. Should faculty members want to consider changing the service component of their unit’s workload policy, they are welcome to contact t

Part-Time Faculty in Higher Education: A Significant Trend


In the national AAUP’s 2005-2006 report, The Devaluing of Higher Education: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, a section is devoted to analyzing the implications of the increasing percent of part-time faculty in institutions of higher education. The union’s analysis shows that, at a time “when groups throughout society are demanding that higher education prepare ever more students for what many call a “knowledge-based economy.” higher education administrators’ decision to increasingly rely on part-time faculty reflects a mindset which will lessen, not strengthen, higher education’s capacity to meet coming challenges.

Below is a slightly edited version of the report’s section on part-time faculty.

Part-Time Faculty

Since 1971, the proportion of faculty teaching part time has doubled, from 23 percent in that year to 46 percent in 2003. With almost half of the faculty members in the United States in part-time positions, consideration of the economic status of the profession is incomplete without an analysis of the pay of part-time faculty.

Part-time faculty are a demographically diverse group. Some have other full-time employment and teach part time because they enjoy teaching. Others derive all their income from multiple part-time academic assignments but would prefer a single full-time academic appointment.

No matter why faculty members may teach part time, however, the adequacy (or inadequacy) of part-time faculty salaries affects the quality of education our institutions can provide. Table D shows the distribution of part-time faculty pay using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s 2004 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF). Because of how NSOPF data were available at the time of this report’s publication, the table shows two different rates of pay for two different groups of part-time faculty: those who are paid on a per course basis and those who are paid on a per-credit-hour basis.15 Per-course pay varies substantially by institutional type, with doctoral universities typically paying their part-time faculty 50 percent more than public associate colleges. Per-course pay also varies considerably within institutional types. The per course pay difference between the twenty-fifth and ninetieth percentiles ranges from 100 percent for private master’s institutions to more than 160 percent for private doctoral universities.

One way to evaluate the adequacy of salaries for part-time faculty might be to ask how much a part-time faculty member would earn if he or she taught on a full-time schedule (that is, if the instructor combined multiple part-time appointments). According to the poverty thresholds computed by the U.S. Census Bureau, one person living alone in 2003 with an annual income of $9,573 or less would have been classified as living in poverty.16 Using the median per-course pay rate in table D, and assuming an eight-course annual load, a part-time professor at a public associate college would have earned 140 percent of the poverty level had he or she taught full time. A part-time instructor at a public master’s university would have earned 150 percent of the poverty level, and a part-time professor at a private baccalaureate college or master’s university would have earned between 163 and 178 percent of it. The highest-paid part-time faculty members—those teaching at doctoral universities—would have earned between 245 and 251 percent of the poverty level for a household of one in 2003 if they had taught full time at their part-time rate of pay. Part-time faculty members with families to support would find their incomes closer to, or even below, the poverty level, which was $12,015 for a family of two in 2003 and $14,680 for a family of three.

The 2004 NSOPF per-credit-hour rates of pay for part-time faculty also vary substantially across institutional types. Private doctoral universities pay the highest per-credit-hour rates for part-time faculty; their median per-credit-hour pay is $150 higher than at corresponding public institutions. Their median pay rate is 80 percent higher than at public two-year colleges, which offer the lowest median rate of pay to part-time faculty members.

Median hourly wages, computed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are another benchmark for evaluating part-time faculty pay rates.17 As a conservative estimate, let us assume that a professor spends two hours preparing for each credit hour of teaching. Each single credit hour should thus result in about three hours of work each week. Over a fourteen week semester, the professor would spend a total of forty-two hours for each credit hour. Dividing per-credit pay by forty two thus produces an estimate of the hourly wage of part-time faculty members.18 Computed this way, median hourly wages for part-time faculty in 2003 range from a low of $11.19 at public two-year colleges to a high of $20.24 at private doctoral universities. By comparison, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the median hourly wage for medical secretaries in fall 2003 was $12.53; for bookkeeping clerks, $13.45; for auto mechanics, $15.18; for paralegals, $18.48; and for registered nurses, $24.53. Without doubt, part-time professors who expected that their advanced educations would permit them to earn at least what they might have earned working in occupations requiring four years or less of college have been bitterly disappointed.

One justification for lower pay for part-time faculty is that they do not have the same scholarship or service demands that full-time faculty face. It is, however, hard to classify the economic status of the profession as healthy when a substantial proportion of faculty members receive such extremely low pay. Most part-time faculty are professionals with graduate training. Many of them probably expected to compete for full-time faculty positions based on their academic qualifications, and they do much the same work as that done by similarly qualified fulltime faculty. Yet if they attempt to remain in academic employment by piecing together the equivalent of full-time teaching jobs at part-time rates, they face the prospect of incomes close to the poverty level and similar to those earned by workers with substantially less education. That so many graduates of our advanced degree programs are confronted with this problem does not bode well for the future of the faculty or of higher education as we know it.

The Search for a New UD President

With his announcement that he plans on retiring at the end of the 2007 academic year, President David Roselle will both be ending a crucial era in the history of the University of Delaware and setting the stage for new departures based on his legacy. President Roselle’s tenure began in 1990 with a long and contentious contract negotiation with the AAUP. The negotiations began in the spring of 1990, proceeded through the summer months, and concluded in November. The negotiations hinged around such key issues as salary equity with comparable institutions in our region, salary equity for women faculty, and a stable benefits package. These negotiations resulted in a framework and a set of commitments for subsequent bargaining between the AAUP and the University that carried through to this very day. In addition, the leaderships of both the AAUP and the Administration established respectful and collegial working relationships that have been strengthened over the years.

The overall relationship between the AAUP and the Administration during President Roselle’s tenure has been excellent. The relationship has been based on mutual trust and openness in both contract negotiations and in addressing problems that confront the faculty and the University through the Collective Bargaining Agreement and through core commitments to academic freedom, equity and diversity. To be sure, we have not resolved all of the problems that confront us. Yet the thorough acceptance of collective bargaining by the Administration and the mutual respect and trust that have characterized our dealings with one another have not only contributed to the success of the University of Delaware, but also serve as an exemplar to other research universities around the nation.

For these reasons, it is especially important that the leadership of the AAUP and the faculty take a keen interest in the search for our new president and participate fully in the selection process. We believe that the University has assembled an excellent search committee under the very able leadership of Howard E. Cosgrove, chairman of the Board of Trustees. In a recent letter to Chairman Cosgrove, AAUP President Linda Bucher urged the search committee to seek out candidates who are familiar with and who support collective bargaining. The importance of faculty collective bargaining as a feature of the campus culture and governance of the University should be recognized and supported by anyone who would serve as president.

2006 AAUP Student Award Winners

The winners of the AAUP’s annual student awards have been announced. They are Liang-Kang in Biology and Vivek P. Patel in Neuroscience

Liang has a 3.93 gpa. She will graduate with an Honors Degree with Distinction and plans to obtain a combined MD/PhD degree in medicine. Since her sophomore year, Ms. Kang has been active in research on the role of the cell adhesion molecule JamA in the functions of the eye. She has presented her work at professional research conferences and is writing a manuscript with her professor-collaborator for which she will be first author. Liang has both a Barry Goldwater Scholar Award and a Beckman Scholar Award, and the biology department’s Richard Johnson Award given to the junior biology major “who best exemplifies the ideas of sound scholarship and intellectual leadership.” She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and several other honor societies. Liang has volunteered at Shipley Manor and Union Hospital, and is a Senior Fellow for the Honors Program for which she planned many activities for Honors housing residents.

Vivek P. Patel, a Neuroscience major, has a perfect 4.0 gpa. He plans to obtain a combined MD/PhD degree in medicine. He has been active in innovative research since his freshman year and has developed a sophisticated time-lapse microscopy system to record brain tumor cell behavior, for which he is completing a senior thesis. Vivek has presented his research at various local and national conferences, and is to be co-author on three manuscripts concerning cell migration. He has received numerous scholarships and awards, including several Ronald McNair awards. In addition, Vivek has volunteered at Union Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and the Ronald McDonald House.

The AAUP’s Vision of Member-Based Unionism


As noted in the previous newsletter, in November 2005 the National Council of the AAUP endorsed the Collective Bargaining Congress’ adoption of a statement of principles that defines faculty unionism as it is understood and practiced by the AAUP.

The following excerpt from that statement focuses on the union’s support of member-based unionism.

Member-Based Unionism

The AAUP is well suited to provide support in organizing and operating academic unions because our base is located exclusively in higher education. Having framed and promulgated the classic statement on academic freedom in the United States, the AAUP has remained the primary defender of this foundational principle ever since. The AAUP’s knowledge, experience, and influence come from our focus on colleges and universities. Since 1915, we have investigated violations of faculty rights and formulated policy based upon these investigations. Because of the Association’s insistence on individual responsibilities within academic communities, our chapters have developed expertise on professional principles and a model of member-based, democratic organizing whose emphasis on participation grows out of the academy’s bedrock commitment to collegial decision making. AAUP collective bargaining chapters believe, accordingly, that unions best serve their members by promoting local initiative and cultivating rank-and-file activism. While we of course advocate efficient management of collective bargaining chapters, we warn against the growth of bureaucracy that can dilute the role of the membership in shaping the direction of the chapter.