Friday, March 27, 2015

HSU Has the State's worst Faculty Tenure and Salary Numbers

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 10:53 AM

  • Courtesy HSU
A new report released from the California Faculty Association indicates Humboldt State is among the worst schools in the California State University system when it comes to a growing salary disparity between professors and administrators.

The CSU faculty's labor union report notes several alarming trends between 2004 and 2014:

  • Humboldt State lost 25 percent of its full time, tenure track employees, more than any other CSU school. Meanwhile, the university’s full-time student enrollment went up 13 percent.

  • Humboldt State’s average salary for managers and supervisors rose by 42 percent, while the average salary for full-time faculty rose only 1 percent. The president’s salary rose by 29 percent.

  • The average inflation-adjusted salary for HSU’s full time faculty dropped by more than $14,000, the largest decline in any of the 23 CSU schools.

  • Tenure-track faculty positions have dropped by 31 percent.

The report is one in a series being released by the California Faculty Association, and while the report admits the reasons for the shift is complicated, it notes a general management position that led to the “shocking” results at HSU:

“The pattern in the CSU over the last decade could hardly be clearer. In salaries, positions, and expenditures for faculty and administrators, the CSU as a system and at each campus has focused on those at the top.”

Dwindling tenure-track positions was one of the concerns that Unified Students raised during its 35-day occupation of the Native American Forum at HSU earlier this year.

An HSU spokesperson directed questions about the report to the CSU chancellor’s office, but a call placed to its representatives hasn’t been returned. The office did issue the following statement in response to the report:

The CSU deeply values its faculty and is committed to investing in faculty compensation. Our dedicated faculty deserve it and our mission of serving students requires it. As soon as the state began to reinvest in the CSU, the university prioritized improving employee compensation. For the last two years, more than $129.6 million has been invested in employee compensation increases—more than half going to faculty—with another $65.5 million slated for 2015-16. The CSU stands with the California Faculty Association in advocating for additional resources from the Governor and Legislature.

In an outgoing interview last year, former HSU President Rollin Richmond told the Journal, "... Frankly, we don't have all that many administrators here. It's not all that bad. It really isn't."

Michael Camann, a biology professor and the Vice President of the Humboldt CFA chapter, says he doesn’t know why the effects are so pronounced at HSU.

“I obviously wasn’t privy to the administrative decisions that led to those numbers,” he said. “I can’t account for why decisions were made. What we’ve seen over the last 10 years is the CSU management re-envisioning itself as a profit-making corporate entity.”

That focus, crystallized under former Chancellor Charles Reed, created a “rapacious” managerial class, Camann said.

HSU’s biological sciences department has seen about a 33 percent reduction in tenured professors, Camann said. The adjuncts that fill those positions are qualified — “they have advanced degrees, went to school for 10 years plus, speak multiple languages” — but they work semester to semester with no contracts and low-level pay. “They don’t participate — because they're not paid to participate — in the broader academic system,” Camann said, meaning they’re not developing curriculum or mentoring students outside of class.

Camann said local administrators have expressed embarrassment to him over the trend in CSU management, but that “this change has been largely driven with top down management decisions. At this point either the faculty — which means the faculty union — has to push back or the administration itself has to change course. Historically we don’t see that happen very often, particularly when they commit to enriching the managerial class.”

Read the CFA report here.
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Grant Scott-Goforth

Grant Scott-Goforth has been an assistant editor and staff writer for The Journal since 2013.

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