Editorial: Support full-time faculty

by Editorial

The California Faculty Association was in negotiations with California State University management to increase faculty pay, but their requests were denied one day after the Board of Trustees voted on a 2-percent salary increase for all executive employees. San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman, the highest-paid president in the CSU system, will now bring home $420,240 a year.

While there is little debate that Hirshman has done great things for the university, increasing faculty pay needs to be a priority since it directly affects students. Because SDSU prides itself on being a leader in state higher education, it is imperative that the president supports the CFA and encourages system-wide full-time faculty raises.

CSU executives including Hirshman already received a 3-percent raise in November. Though the lowest paid CSU president makes $262,650 a year, CSU executives say they make less than the market rate for their positions.

What’s concerning is that faculty salaries are lagging behind, and most professors don’t already make six figures or live in university-provided housing.

When professors are forced to divide their attention between other jobs or teaching positions at other colleges, it takes away from the time they are able to dedicate to students at SDSU.

Permanent CSU faculty are among the lowest paid in the state’s higher education system, according to a report from the CFA.

The association also found that CSU faculty pay rates over the last 10 years have not increased enough to keep up with inflation, nor workload.

Given that within the past decade, class sizes have increased by 58 percent, and as a consequence, have doubled the student-to-teacher ratio from 18.9-1 in 2006 to 30-1 in 2014, it should be expected that the faculty should receive a pay raise in line with an increase in workload.

However, the reality is that SDSU faculty average salaries show a $7,000 loss in real dollar value over time, while CSU executive salaries have nearly doubled in the past decade.

While SDSU has brought on part-time faculty members to make up for those lost during the budget cuts of 2008, it is important to not overlook the treatment of the faculty that are already hired on. In other words, we should value quality over quantity. 

The quality of education a student receives depends in part on the time and attention a professor can dedicate. If SDSU wants to continue improving its reputation and set the standard for state higher education, Hirshman must advocate for system-wide faculty pay increases.

The value of a degree from SDSU is important, but even more critical is the quality of the CSU system and public education in general.