Levy: CC profs are overpaid

College professors aren’t working very hard at community colleges and universities that focus on teaching rather than research, argues David C. Levy in a Washington Post commentary. Now  president of the education group at Cambridge Information Group, Levy is a former university chancellor.

For example, Maryland’s Montgomery College (an excellent two-year community college) reports its average full professor’s salary as $88,000, based on a workload of 15 hours of teaching for 30 weeks. Faculty members are also expected to keep office hours for three hours a week. The faculty handbook states: “Teaching and closely related activities are the primary responsibilities of instructional faculty.” While the handbook suggests other responsibilities such as curriculum development, service on committees and community outreach, notably absent from this list are research and scholarship.

Faculty members teaching 12 to 15 hours per week for 30 weeks spend 360 to 450 hours per year in the classroom and perhaps an equal amount of time preparing for class and grading papers, Levy writes. That puts their workload at 36 to 45 percent of the hours non-academic professionals.

If the higher education community were to adjust its schedules and semester structure so that teaching faculty clocked a 40-hour week (roughly 20 hours of class time and equal time spent on grading, preparation and related duties) for 11 months, the enhanced efficiency could be the equivalent of a dramatic budget increase. Many colleges would not need tuition raises or adjustments to public budget priorities in the near future.

“Montgomery College’s dedicated faculty members . . . mentor, counsel, advise and more,” responds DeRionne P. Pollard, president of Montgomery College, in a letter to the editor. ”They spend untold hours preparing lessons, addressing the different learning styles of students, developing and measuring learning outcomes, and updating and revising curricula to ensure a meaningful learning experience. … Judging them merely on the number of hours they spend in the classroom is like judging surgeons on the number of hours they’re in the operating room or judging attorneys on the time they spend in the courtroom.”

Professors spend three hours preparing for one hour in the classroom, plus extra hours advising students and serving on committees, claims Marybeth Gasman, a professor at a research university.

Is this the norm for community college professors?

 


POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON April 4, 2012

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[...] College professors get full-time pay for part-time work at colleges and universities that focus on teaching rather than research, argues David C. Levy, a former university chancellor. Faculty members teaching 12 to 15 hours per week for 30 weeks spend 360 to 450 hours per year in the classroom and perhaps an equal amount of time preparing for class and grading papers, Levy writes. That puts their workload at 36 to 45 percent of the hours non-academic professionals. [...]

LSquared

The official policies at most places are that students are expected to spend 2 hours out of class for every hour in class, and while I don’t know if the students are putting in that time, I know most of the professors are (plus 5 office hours per week). I’m not a CC prof, but several years back the university I worked at surveyed all of the professors for find out how much time they spent on teaching, research, committee work, etc, and I thought “I wonder if I really do spend a full 40 hours a week on work every week”, so I decided to log my hours for a while. After a few weeks of consistently logging 50+ hours (during the calm part of the semester) I gave up logging my hours–too depressing to think about how much time I was pouring in to those 12-15 hours worth of class-time classes. It’s better not to think about it and just focus on getting the work done.

Renee / @TeachMoore

I think Levy is speaking more from his university level bias towards community colleges than from actual research or facts. I now teach full-time at community college, and part time at high school. I and most of the CC faculty I know carry 6 – 8 classes per week. That’s 18-24 classroom hours, not counting advising, preparation, committee/administrative work…and, oh yeah, community college instructors also do research, publish, and participate in professional organizations, even though it is not required by policy or rewarded at most of our community colleges.

Sadly, Levy, like many from the higher ed world, appears to underestimate the value and the complexity of teaching, which is our primary focus. Perhaps what he has noticed is that more and more students are entering post-secondary education via the community college, rather than the traditional universities which are beginning to feel the financial effects of that shift.

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