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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA adjuncts protest wages

Devon+Kehler%2C+a+graduate+associate+in+the+department+of+English%2C+explains+the+importance+of+good+working+conditions+at+the+National+Adjunct+Walkout+Day+outside+the+Administration+building+on+Wednesday.+UA+adjuncts+and+non-tenure+track+faculty+gathered+to+ask+for+improved+working+conditions.
Brandi Walker

Devon Kehler, a graduate associate in the department of English, explains the importance of good working conditions at the National Adjunct Walkout Day outside the Administration building on Wednesday. UA adjuncts and non-tenure track faculty gathered to ask for improved working conditions.

Adjunct and non-tenure track faculty members gathered Wednesday in the Alumni Plaza in front of the Administration building to gain support from students and community members and ask for higher wages and smaller class sizes on National Adjunct Walkout Day. 

According to Thomas P. Miller, professor of English and vice provost for Faculty Affairs, this is a national problem and the UA is and has been taking steps to limit the number of adjuncts and work on creating more career promotion opportunities for non-tenure track faculty.

“Over 40 percent of the faculty at [the] UA is non-tenure track,” said TC Tolbert, a non-tenure track adjunct lecturer in the English department. “We deserve job stability and support to give our students the best learning experience possible. We need your help, we need your critical thinking and reflection [and] we need to reprioritize education at the UA.” 

According to Aimee Mapes, assistant director of the UA Writing Program, contingent faculty teach over 2,500 students each semester in her program.

“I support the [UA]’s Never Settle plan to support student success, and this is a teach-in about conditions that matter to student success,” Mapes said.

Madelyn Tucker, a representative from Feminist Action Research in Rhetoric, a coalition of feminist scholars and activists of public rhetoric, said that most UA students have taken a class led by a graduate student, an adjunct or a lecturer.

“Contingent faculty are invaluable members of this campus community,” Tucker said. “… Without one-year contracts or guaranteed full-time employment, no health insurance is offered to adjunct faculty. The UA in particular lacks clearly defined paths for promotion and has failed to offer any raises in over 10 years, despite rising costs of living.”

Miller said UA Faculty Affairs worked with the Faculty Senate for the last three years to look at salaries for adjunct and non-tenure track faculty. He said what they have found is very uneven.

“The average salary for non-tenure track faculty at the university is $57,000,” Miller said. “That is for the 350 full-time non-tenure track faculty; that includes people who are associate professors and full professors, non-tenure track.”

Miller said many of the people speaking at the walkout are paid on a course-by-course basis.

“We need to do a better job of addressing the salary issues of the folks who are teaching in the writing program and also in several other programs,” Miller said.

Miller said he is working to review all non-tenure track faculty promotion options for each of the colleges. 

“I am working with the Faculty Senate to research, what is the course salary for every college on campus?” Miller said. “Within the next few months, we’ll have a much better sense of where strategic investments need to be made to bring people up to a more livable wage.”

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