MSCA Perspective - February 2001

A Note from the Editor...
On Campus Activism, Salaries, and Your Perspective

Patricia Johnston
The MSCA Perspective is our newspaper. It must address our concerns not only as union members, but as teachers and scholars. And it must convey our views on crucial issues our mission, workload, and professional development to our many constituencies outside the membership. The Perspective is read by administrators, trustees, and legislators as well as faculty and librarians. It needs to be a forum where the crucial issues of our profession are explored and debated.

The lead story in this issue of Perspective is the recent campus activism across our campuses. At every college, faculty members have been working together to get the message to the Board of Higher Education that we care deeply about the quality of education that we provide and that we should be fairly compensated for our work, training, and experience. We would like to feature more stories of activities on our campuses, and to this end we are instituting an editorial board made up of a contributing editor from each chapter. The contributing editors will send in regular, brief updates about activities on their campuses. We also want to feature your writing on issues that are important to you professionally. We are looking for essays and book reviews on pedagogy, labor issues, or developments in your discipline that are of broad interest to the membership. Please don't hesitate to contact your campus contributing editor with suggestions about article ideas for the Perspective, or write to me directly at the email address in the masthead.

This issue also features the new salary worksheets. With our three percent raise in place, we have made some small progress. But there is still far to go to reach comparable pay with our peers at state colleges across the nation.

A recent study of high school teachers in Massachusetts proves what many of us have suspected for quite some time that with our education and experience, we would be more fairly compensated if we were to teach K-12. This study illustrates, for example, that a teacher with a masters degree and thirteen years of experience earns $60,101 in Wellesley and $61,291 in Newton. With a doctorate, that teacher would make $70,890 in Lexington, and $78,019 in Wayland.

Here at the state colleges, an Associate Professor with a doctorate (typically 8 years of graduate school) and seven years of experience earns $41,470 and a Full Professor with a Ph.D. and thirteen years of experience earns $47,756.

K-12 teachers start at lower salaries than state college faculty, because they typically begin their career with only a B.A. or B.S. degree. But the salary gap between one of our graduating seniors, often a 23 year-old with no teaching experience, and a new faculty member at the state colleges has shrunk over the years. While our students may expect to enter public school teaching at a salary of $31,967 in Belmont, or $33,349 in Wayland, our contract declares that a new Ph.D. recipient, who has just completed several years of graduate training, will begin a career at a state college as an Assistant Professor at $36,884. And as demonstrated above, the public school salary quickly outpaces ours. This is a message that we need to get out to the Board of Higher Education, to our legislators, and to the public.

Upcoming issues of the Perspective will focus on workplace issues such as tenure and workload. If you have any personal stories you would like to share with the membership about how tenure has protected your academic freedom or affected your academic life, or if you would like to share some insights into your work life, please email me. I look forward to working with you all during my term as Perspective editor.