Teaching more classes for same pay in semesters

As some laboratory classes were reclassified as activity courses in the change to semesters, the units changed and so did some professors’ pay.

People still have mixed feelings about semester conversion. Love it or hate it, unforeseen circumstances have required some professors to work more and teach more sections of classes in order to earn the same amount of pay as they did during the quarter system. 

An anonymous instructor from the Cal Poly Pomona campus said the news first came during spring quarter 2018. Classes considered laboratory courses were converted to activity courses and as a result, units for classes originally weighted at 1.5 units decreased to a weight of 1.33 units. A difference of 0.17 may not seem like much, but the instructor said it did cause some to be upset.

“They [the instructor’s department] said the faculty will have to work a lot harder, meaning teach more classes, in order to keep the same amount of pay,” the instructor said. 

According to the instructor, nothing can be done to rectify the situation, so it’s up to the individual to decide if he/she wants to teach more during the semester system to maintain the same amount of pay as during the quarter system.

“It has been pretty disappointing to see a significantly lower paycheck monthly,” the instructor said. 

Weiqing Xie, president of the Pomona chapter of the California Faculty Association (CFA), said individual departments of the university should have factored in workload issues during reclassifications for the conversion process. 

According to the Cal Poly Pomona website, the purpose of classifying and reclassifying is to provide a clear course of action and purpose for employees. In this case, laboratories were reclassified into activity classes.

The situation doesn’t affect all departments. Alex Small, professor for the physics department, schedules the classes and reports teaching loads to department staff. He said he wasn’t aware of anything like class conversion happening in his department. 

“It may be that I’ve made the occasional mistake and dropped a number (when weighing units) by accident, but nobody has reported that to me or asked me about that,” Small said. 

Xie said the workload issue is one of the ongoing problems the CFA addresses, and that there have been complaints the CFA has responded to. She said some complaints could be related to semester conversion but cannot comment about staff being paid less. 

The CFA website has a formal and confidential process for faculty to file complaints about an issue. Xie said faculty can reach the Faculty Rights Team at facrightschair.po@calfac.org.  

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