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Higher Education Faculty and Staff Are Worth Professional Pay

Anxious parents might bemoan the cost of college tuition, but it's clear that the solution to higher education affordability doesn't lie in the salaries of faculty who teach students or the support staff who keep campuses running.

According to NEA research, faculty salaries decreased by 1 percent in 2004-05, the second straight year that increases did not keep pace with inflation. In addition to watching their purchasing power shrink, faculty must contend with increasing workloads, pay inequity across disciplines, and complex compensation issues related to intellectual property they develop and online courses they teach.

For contingent faculty, part-time and full-time temporary faculty hired without the chance for tenure, the picture is far worse. They teach the lion's share of courses, yet contingents are paid substantially less than tenured or tenure-track faculty, and they have few rights or benefits. Many contingents cobble together a living by teaching for two or three different institutions, spending more time in their cars than on campus interacting with students.

For education support professionals who work in higher education institutions, low pay has long been an issue, as has pay equity for female support staff. At the University of Maine system, for example, the 86-percent-female support professionals are among Maine's working poor.

NEA's salary initiative aims to improve pay for higher education faculty and support professionals.

Take the pledge, learn the facts, and find out how you can get involved.

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