Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today's Clarion Article Misrepresents Key Data

An article that appeared in today's MATC Clarion mostly gets it right with a couple of exceptions.  Apparently the administration supplied data that misrepresents key points of contention in the P/t Union contract negotiation.
*1.) Gwen Torkelson is quoted as saying that 77% of the part-time faculty have a seniority level of three years or more. This is categorically untrue. [We] have the raw employee data from the past school year that lists the seniority level of each teacher who was assigned a course. This data was provided to us by the college's payroll department. The breakout is as follows:

0 to 6 semesters seniority- about 63%

7 to 13 semesters seniority- about 15%

14 to 20 semesters seniority- about 7 %

21 + semesters of seniority- about 15%

One of our main messages all along has been that we want to improve part-time instructor retention.  This would save in both training & recruiting costs and provide a better education from more experienced teachers.
*2.) [The Clarion] was provided with "data" that was incorporated into your chart on page 4, and it was presented in such a way as to make the result grossly misleading. The averaging salary for a newly hired full time instructor between 2006 and 2009 was $70,070, plus benefits worth $37,357 per year. That instructor, if teaching a full load will spend 500 hours in the classroom. The part time hourly figures you were given apply only to classroom hours. We are not paid for any work outside the classroom, even though it is expected and necessary (preparing for lecture, grading, etc.). The full time compensation model assumes that over an hour is spent outside the classroom for every hour spent inside the classroom. Only 15 hours of their work week, maximum, is actually spent in the classroom.

In addition, bear in mind that the starting salary average has been increasing , even the $70,070 figure is significantly lower than the average 2009 starting salary.

If you take that $70,070 and divide it by the number of hours the full time teacher spends actually physically present in the classroom, the hourly rate is $140.14/hr. With benefits, it is $214.85/hr. If part time faculty members were paid for time spent outside the classroom, then your comparison might be valid. Perhaps another way to look at it, if you want to use your numbers, is that full time faculty are paid for 2-3 hours of work for every hour spent in class, while part time faculty are only paid 1 hour for every hour spent in class.
We spend just as much time preparing outside of class as full time instructors, so why aren't we compensated as such?
*Note:  Retort data complied by P/t Union President Mike Kent.

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