Chickens, Eggs, and Turnovers (and Bargaining)
You've probably seen the flyer that shows how much excess money Lecturers make for UM, and how little of that it would take to provide us with professional, respectable salaries. The info came from a report produced with data provided by the University of Michigan and analyzed primarily by Howard Bunsis.
In addition to information specifically about financials, something else strikes me as really important. Turnover. Not apple or other kinds of delicious fruit turnovers. Lecturer turnover. The high rate of turnover of Lecturer Is, across campuses, can be related to all sorts of things, not least of which is the huge number of Lec Is compared to IIIs and IVs. This may be a kind of chicken-egg scenario: few Lec III jobs exist, therefore there are lots more Lec I jobs, but also the lack of consistency and retention in the Lec I ranks results in fewer moving into Lec II ranks and therefore less pressure for more Lec III positions. Although most Lec III positions are posted and hired separately from the promotion process, it is nonetheless feasible for Lec IIs to be hired into Lec III positions, and does in fact happen on occasion.
Here's the graph about turnover:
If Lec Is teach a large number of credit hours on campus, which they do, and high turnover can result in reduced quality of undergraduate education and reduced faculty morale -- as described in this report -- then the administration is not in fact creating a climate of excellence for it students or faculty. And if they have the tools and the means to combat high turnover, than it seems like they have a responsibility to do so because of their claims about excellence.
As LEO members preparing to enter into contract negotiations with the administration, we have the opportunity to hold them accountable to their own claims. Excellence isn't just a marketing slogan (or is it?). And it can't be advertised if the faculty teaching, on average across campuses, 50% of the credit hours are not being respected for their excellence nor given the pay and resources to do excellent work.
We are LEO. We can demand more, in order to do our jobs better. And we can demand more for our students, who deserve more than marketing slogans.
Make sure to take a look at the Bargaining Platform. Reach out to an active member or organizer to see how you can get involved. And show up to bargaining and related events. We are all LEO and our power is in our numbers. And remember, in the words of Bill and Ted, we should strive for excellence but also...
*The above info comes from the Fact Sheet produced with data provided by the University of Michigan. Thanks to Sascha Matish for help in acquiring these data sets used in this analysis. The data were analyzed by Howard Bunsis (Professor of Accounting, Business School Eastern Michigan University), Ian Robinson (Lecturer, Sociology & RC, UM-AA), and Joe Walls (Lecturer, Ross School of Business, UM-AA, Retired).