|Competitive salaries for state college faculty
On August 27, you reported Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift's new focus on education in the Commonwealth. In the same issue are several stories on the skyrocketing cost of local housing. One connection between these stories is the ongoing struggle of state college professors to receive fair salaries.
As state college faculty enter their third year without a settled contract, pay raises for faculty continue at three percent or less while the salaries of administrators (typically at least two times that of a professor) increase by five percent or more.
Most junior faculty members with earned doctorates are paid less than $40,000. As currently structured, they can expect future increases of a few percentage points plus up to $4,000 for total lifetime promotions. Faculty keep teaching despite the low pay because they love what they do.
High administrator salaries are rationalized by the argument that administrators would not work for the salary levels paid to faculty. Dedicated faculty members are, in effect, punished for their loyalty.
If current trends in real estate and public higher education continue,
home ownership will be an ever-receding dream for faculty members. If Swift
is serious about being an "education czar," she can begin by ensuring competitive
salaries for those who teach many of the Commonwealth's working-class students.