When severe budget problems hit California during the Great Recession, layoffs were common, including at the massive California State University system and its 23 campuses. State funding has since picked up and is being used to pay higher salaries mostly to administrators, according to a recent report.
Low wages, fewer programs
Pay inequality has become the norm at the CSU system. Classroom lecturers are paid far less than those who work in administration. This disparity was described in a new study from the California Faculty Association titled “Race to the Bottom: Salary, Staffing Priorities and the CSU’s one percent.”
Reflecting the majority of businesses in the state, five years went by with no raises for faculty. When they did arrive, faculty received a ten percent bump over a period of ten years. During that same time, administrators were handed a 24 percent increase in compensation.
The average salary for a CSU manager/supervisor is now $106,149, while full-time professors earn an average of $64,479.
Long range plans for CSU’s 23 campuses includes elimination of 17 degree programs on the undergraduate and graduate levels. At the same time, the Board of Trustees wants to implement 29 new degree programs within the coming decade.
One example of what these new programs will look like? At Cal State Monterey Bay, the master’s programs will gain degrees in sustainable hospitality management, as well as programs in human development and family studies. However, this comes at the elimination of other degrees such as master’s programs in interdisciplinary studies and management along with information technology.
CSU’s response to the tight budget is to hire more part-time lecturers. Even though part-time lecturers sometimes teach up to five classes in one day, they earn far less than their tenured counterparts, have no benefits, and no contract extending beyond one year. The teachers also have no offices on campus and no other duties beyond teaching that class. They do not have job security or the ability to plan for their finances beyond one year.
Part time lecturers comprised 35 percent of the CSU faculty in 2004. During 2014, that number grew to 45 percent.
Over the past ten years, 20 out of 23 campuses lost tenure-track faculty and added managerial positions. The recent study also found that as the number of students increased, the number of tenure-track faculty positions remained the same or decreased.That means students attend larger classes, and fewer students are able to get into required classes. And as tuition rises and students take longer to complete their degrees, costs continue to go up. Not only does it cost more – the delay may add years to the completion of a degree.
This post was contributed to GoodCall by Joan Trossman Bien. Joan is a freelance journalist with one child who graduated from a University of California school and earned a Master’s from a Cal State University school.