Tenure track and non-tenure faculty face different paths to promotion, pay raises

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Photo Credit: Emma Overholt | Daily Texan Staff

Since 2003, tenured faculty have seen a consistent rise in their yearly salary, while lecturers’ yearly salary has decreased by 0.4 percent and hovered generally around $60,000.

Non-tenured faculty positions, such as lecturers, take on more coursework to help tenured professors, who are required to do research. Slavic professor Thomas Garza said he noticed a large disparity in pay based on rank, while acting as the director of the Russian and East European Center from 2001 to 2009.

“These salaries … haven’t gone up substantially in the last decade,” Garza said.

English professor Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, who is married to Thomas Garza, was a member of the president’s ad hoc Committee on Non-Tenure Track Faculty, studying the conditions of non-tenure faculty from 2000 to 2003. Richmond-Garza said the variation in pay structure across campus was their first obstacle.

“There isn’t a single profile of what, say, a clinical assistant professor non-tenured track looks like in nursing versus, say, someone who is a senior lecturer teaching Italian,” Richmond-Garza said. “Those two profiles were different as they could be.”

One goal of the committee was to increase job security for non-tenured positions by introducing a career ladder, with more ranking positions offering the possibility of promotion and to establish specific descriptions of each position, Richmond-Garza said.

 

Janet Dukerich, senior vice provost for faculty affairs, said faculty salary is determined by each college or department.

The faculty hiring process begins with the department making a request to their respective dean, who then contacts the provost. If approved, the department can post an advertisement and search for a candidate. Tenured faculty have more responsibilities than non-tenured faculty, Dukerich said.

“Tenured faculty have a responsibility to engage in research as well as teaching and service, whereas non-tenured faculty … their primary focus is on teaching … it’s more limited,” Dukerich said.

Dukerich said there are a limited number of tenured-track positions, because the University deals with severe budget constraints and is “fighting for talent” in a highly competitive job market.

Tenured faculty are expected to do about “60 percent research, 20 percent teaching and 20 percent service,” both Garza and Richmond-Garza said.

“The only way to come up for promotion is to write a monograph, to write a single author book (in humanities),” Richmond-Garza said. “Administrative work … does not lead to promotion.”

While service or administrative work often comes with a salary increase, it also brings the burden of more work, Richmond-Garza said.

“I think the amount of labor being requested and required, at the moment, of single individuals is unreasonable,” Richmond-Garza said. Garza said the University has a “top-down” power structure in the administration, which he said is problematic.

“If we, students, faculty, staff, all agree that lecturers should be made into a true-tiered position … if it goes up the ladder, and provost and president don’t agree with that, it doesn’t happen,” Garza said. “It’s not going to happen, no matter how much we want it to.”

Garza said research too often takes precedence over the importance of teaching. When lecturers don’t have enough time to conduct research, it becomes extremely difficult to find a tenured position because they’ve “just been teaching.”

“It becomes … a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Garza said. “You’ve been put into a position where you’re being told to ignore your scholarship.”