Higher wages, more rooms, shared governance pushed
THE SANTA CLARA
January 29, 2014
An anonymous survey of Santa Clara faculty has determined that professors would like university administrators to address salaries, classroom shortages, research support and Santa Clara’s shared governance system above all else this year.
The Santa Clara Faculty Senate Council and Santa Clara’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors surveyed 262 professors across all departments to provide their input on what they would like the two organizations to address.
Salary sufficiency and benefits were the most pressing collective faculty concerns expressed in the survey, given the high cost of living in the greater Santa Clara area.
In response, Faculty Senate Council President and Associate Political Science Professor James Lai appointed a special Faculty Committee on Salaries and University Budget Priorities that is meeting with key administrators.
Lai said that data from studies on the matter tends to show a discrepancy between the rates at which faculty income and cost of living have risen in recent years.
“We have no authority in terms of making law or changes on campus, whether it comes to salary or benefits, but we can express the will of the faculty,” Lai said.
The survey also revealed faculty interest in reevaluating funding and resources provided to the faculty for studies, reviews and publications.
Steven Fedder, a senior chemistry lecturer in his sixth consecutive year on the Senate Council, said that research expectations for faculty have become more demanding in recent years.
“The focus is very much on teaching, but tenure is based both on teaching and research, and it seems like your ability to do research is being looked at more strongly,” Fedder said. “As long as we can get (professors) to come here, to do research and still be very good teachers, that model will continue.”
The balance of governance at Santa Clara was another concern expressed by faculty in the survey. Professor influence on the administration and university policy primarily stems from the AAUP and a variety of University Policy Committees, or UPCs, which tackle individual issues in greater depth.
Due to a rise in the student population, which is expected to hit 6,000 in 2020, classroom shortage has become a pressing issue that the Faculty Senate Council and AAUP hope to address.
Plans to construct a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics facility are in the works, but the faculty and administration are still seeking a temporary solution.
“It’s been an issue since the day I started here,” said “We can’t function if we don’t have enough classroom availability.”
English professor Diane Dreher, President of the Santa Clara Chapter of the AAUP, said that the survey results will help plan this year’s AAUP agenda.
“We will be working … within our shared governance system to move forward,” she said.
Contact Collin Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.