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University misrepresents faculty workload

POSTED November 13, 2009 10:21 p.m.
As a faculty member in the Chemistry department at Cal State Stanislaus, I will miss teaching Winter term. Over the last 16 years, I have taught 14 winter term classes, including Wine Making, Environmental Chemistry and the Chemicals in Your Life. One very large point of misinformation presented by Provost Lujan must be clarified. In his letter to the editor, he stated “Faculty are not required to teach during Winter Term even though they are paid for 10 months of teaching. Less than five percent of the faculty teaches a Winter Term course, which means that 95 percent of the faculty receives 10 months of pay for only seven months of instructional work. Replacing Winter Term with a self-support inter-session and expanding the fall and spring semesters to 15 weeks means that professors will now be held accountable for teaching a full load.”
Winter term is only one month, thus the ratio of working for seven months and getting paid for 10 could be confusing to the general public. Second, my estimation of the percent of faculty who teach during winter term is higher than 5 percent. My department has five out of six full time faculty teaching this winter term. No part-time faculty teach during winter term, they are not on 10 month contracts, but they are being included in the “95 percent.”  The faculty in my department who do not teach during winter term have all taught an extra class during the fall or are scheduled for an extra class during the spring semester. Thus, we all teach the same amount of courses, how they are arranged throughout the year may be different.  
The other severe distortion is the assertion that faculty only teach classes — we do much more. In order to effectively deliver a high quality chemistry degree program, all of my colleagues and I engage in active research, this includes time spent working with students in the laboratory, studying the literature and wearing our fingers to the nub at our computers. We do this during the semesters between classes and grading papers, we do it during our holidays and weekends and we did it during Winter term.
— Koni Stone
Professor of Chemistry
CSU, Stanislaus

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