Mailbag: Survey says: OSU underpays instructors

February 5, 2020 – Original Post Here

Every 10 years, OSU surveys non-tenure track instructors to identify the obstacles we face in our work. The results from the 2004 and 2014 surveys are virtually identical. Despite clear data, as well as emphatic Faculty Senate recommendations, very little has changed.

The latest survey — completed by 46% of instructors — reports grave and persistent concerns about our compensation (which the Chronicle of Higher Ed describes as “far below the median”); our job security (with far too many on nine-month or even term-to-term contracts, including folks employed here for 20-plus years); and our promotion process (currently an unclear, burdensome one that is haphazardly available and unevenly applied).

Doing so little to improve the working conditions of instructors comes at an incalculable cost. It diminishes morale, heightens turnover and destabilizes the lives of critical OSU employees and by extension the well-being of their families. Moreover, the administration’s ongoing disregard for those who do the bulk of teaching at OSU negatively impacts student retention and learning, weakens OSU as an institution and fails the Oregon communities in which the university functions.

There is no justifiable reason for paying instructors so little while administrators make so much, for withholding multiyear contracts from people who have demonstrated their effectiveness in the classroom and commitment to the OSU community, and for suppressing viable paths to promotion for those same accomplished and dedicated people. OSU can do better. Indeed, it must. We don’t need more time or more surveys. We need leadership to do what’s right.

Amanda Granrud

Corvallis