Volume 16: Number 1, December, 2006 (labor donated)

Newsletter of the IFT Higher Education Council

Dave Delehanty (deledavi@isu.edu), Tony Roark (troark@boisestate.edu)

Randy Berriochoa (berrioch@csi.edu), Tom Flint (tom_flint@nic.edu),

Dale Graden (graden@uidaho.edu), Chris Norden (cnorden@lcsc.edu)

Nick Gier, IFT President (ngier@uidaho.edu), Susan Andrews, Vice-President


In this issue of Faculty Advocate

IFT Wins Two National Awards

Should Former Deans Retain Their High Salaries?

Solidarity Activist To Speak at BSU

IFT Wins Two National Awards

At an AFT State Federation Presidents meeting in Savannah, Georgia, the IFT was presented with two awards. The IFT won first place in percentage increase in new chapters, and it won second place in percentage increase in new members. The new chapter at North Idaho College has doubled its membership; the re-chartered BSU Federation has grown 63 percent; and the UI membership has gone up 24 percent.

Should Former Deans Retain Their High Salaries?

By Nick Gier, IFT President

Deans have the toughest job in today’s universities and colleges. Like their presidents, they are reluctantly spending less and less time on academic matters. Unfortunately, their institutions have gradually become corporatized, so it is only natural that they should act more like CEOs.

What makes deans’ jobs difficult is that they sit in an uneasy seat between their faculty and the upper administration. Do they represent the interests of their faculty, or do they do the bidding of the upper administration? Sadly, my experience is that they do more of the latter than the former.

American deans are appointed by higher administrators and they serve at their pleasure, but deans and presidents at European universities, following a tradition that goes back to medieval times, are democratically elected. Therefore, European university administrators are totally accountable to the faculty they represent.

While U. S. faculty are responsible for educating students for life in a democratic society, they themselves have little say in the governance of their institutions. In 1970 the American Association of University Professors reported the results of survey, which stated that the median participation of faculty in institutional governance was below “consultation.” In the 1960s there was a movement to give more power to the faculty, but it obviously did not go very far. I’m certain that a similar study today would give the same result.

Another sign that higher education administrators have become academic CEOs is their huge salaries. From 1982-2005, UI administration salaries have increased 251 percent, while full professor salaries have increased only 154 percent. (The CPI for that time period was 193.) Faculty don’t want their administrators to be paid less; rather, they also want to earn professional salaries that match their long years of training and hard work on the job.

In the old days, if new administrators were chosen from the UI faculty, they were given a 12-month salary and an administrative increment. That is not the case any more. When I started teaching in 1972, President Richard Gibb made three times as much as I did, but now President Tim White makes seven times more than new assistant professors. More and more deans are also hired on the open market at much higher salaries than before.

It was also understood that when administrators returned to teaching, they would receive a 10-month contract and lose their administrative bonus. But that has not happened for many years. In some instances, but not always, there is a “step-down” agreement with some reduction in salary.

There is one benefit that former deans receive that I believe is well earned. After grueling years straddling the fence between faculty and administration, former deans who stay on campus are given sabbatical leave so that they can retool for the classroom and restart research projects. Faculty, however, must take full-year sabbaticals at half pay, so there is no reason why former dean’s cannot do the same.

As I look at the faculty union’s salary surveys for the past five years, I note the following examples:

  • An associate dean of liberal arts earned $8,074 per month in 2005, but now she is back in her department at $9,090 per month. Her department colleagues make an average $5,239 per month.
  • The liberal arts dean recently resigned in disgrace, and he is now on sabbatical earning his dean’s salary of $137, 134. As in the case in private industry, there is no discount for poor performance. His salary will go down 15 percent at mid-year, but that was due to a prearranged step-down agreement.
  • An earlier liberal arts dean took a 6.43 percent reduction when he returned to teaching, but he is now making $10,669 per month as department chair in contrast to the full professor monthly average of $8,003.
  • The former dean of art and architecture makes $8,561per month, but the current interim dean makes only $7,708 per month. The other full professors in the college earn a monthly salary of $7,063.
  • The former dean of business experienced no step-down reduction and stays at $137, 322 per year.
  • In 2005, a former dean of engineering returned to the UI after five years in private industry at a monthly salary of $10,537. His successor was still on the faculty at $11,758 per month. That same year the average monthly full professor salary in their department was $8,413.

Exceptions to the rule are the following: The former education dean took a 14 percent reduction, and the former law dean went down 18.8 percent, placing him below many of his teaching colleagues.

This issue is especially crucial when 24 UI staff employees have been laid off because of funding cuts, and students are paying higher fees and walking into ever larger classes.

Administrators work very hard for their high salaries, but surely not any harder than their equally diligent faculty. Former deans return to their departments with tenure; they are awarded full-salary, full-year sabbaticals without competing for them; but there is no way to justify this huge salary advantage over their peers, on which they build financially for the rest of their careers.

Solidarity Activist to Speak at BSU

On Thursday, December 7th, at 12:00 noon in the Lookout Room, Konstanty Gebert will speak on the topic “Poland: From Solidarity’s Drama to Democracy’s Mess.” Gebert co-founded the Jewish Flying University (1979), the Polish Council of Christians and Jews (1980), and a white-collar trade union which merged with the Solidarity Movement (1980). Gebert is founder and editor of Midrasz, the first Polish-language Jewish periodical in post-communist Poland.

When Lech Walesa was the keynote speaker for the UI Borah Symposium in 2004, he was welcomed to campus with great fanfare. When Interim UI President Gary Michael made up his guest list for a banquet at the President’s Mansion, he neglected to invite any local labor leaders. Why is that the representative democracy of the union movement is OK abroad, but must be denied on our own campuses?

Join Us in Protecting Faculty Rights and Increasing Salaries and Benefits

Membership in the American Federation of Teachers and its local and state affiliates includes a $1,000,000 liability policy, access to legal and moral support, and national/state AFT publications. Dues are calculated progressively on the basis of salary, and they range from $5 to $13 biweekly. For an application form click here .