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Are you concerned that a new audit shows faculty members at public universities in Kansas are making more money despite teaching less?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 14, 2004

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Photo of Jeff Morris

“No, I’m not concerned. I think they need to make more than they do now anyway. Children are our greatest asset. I think all teachers should make more money.”

Photo of Cassie Locke

“Yes, a little bit. If we are paying to go to school, they need to spend their time in the classroom and not in their office.”

Photo of Jesse Torneden

“Yes. That sounds unfair. I really hope there is a good reason why.”

Photo of Rebecca Bruce

“No. I don’t think they get paid enough as it is. I think it’s great if they are getting paid more.”


Haymaker 13 years, 4 months ago

Professors teach? Where? I thought that's what we paid GTA's $5-$7k per year to do.

lunacydetector 13 years, 4 months ago

Yes VERY concerned. Will anything be done about it? Nope.

Au_contraire 13 years, 4 months ago

Some of you sound like you work at KU Public Relations. Is there a kind of contingency plan for answering online questions like these? Many of you will make the Chancellor proud!

Richard Heckler 13 years, 4 months ago

How about paying public school teachers more...most seem to spend plenty of time teaching,grading, parent-teacher conferences and doing child discipline.

So long as the profs are making contributions to the classrooms somehow...I would like interviews on this matter. Some students would like to see the prof a bit more.

Christy_K 13 years, 4 months ago

It is very important to point out that for most faculty teaching is only PART of their job. Research and contributing to their discipline is another important part. Unlike grade school and high school teachers, university faculty are expected to not only know the material, but are supposed to be experts, stay up to date on the latest changes, and contribute to the future knowledge in their discipline. You can't do that spending all of your time teaching.

Yes, teaching is very important; but at the university level, faculty also contribute to the world's knowledge. That time they spend "sitting in their office" involves doing research, writing and reviewing articles and books, grading homework, researching better instruction techniques, etc. Trust me, the faculty are just as busy, if not busier than their students.

In addition, for tenure, faculty are expected to perform service to their university (committees) and service to their discipline (like nationwide organizations). They are expected to attend nationwide conferences (often on their own dime) and represent the prestige of the university with groundbreaking research and presentations.

For everything they do, faculty are often overworked and underpaid (like everyone else). They often do not profit from their own research, and sacrifice family time to meet grading, teaching and publishing deadlines. While you are enjoying the Christmas holiday they are grading finals, term papers and rushing to get grades recorded before the deadline.

Please do not claim that they are overpaid for less teaching, because teaching (albeit for many their highest PRIORITY) is only part of their RESPONSIBILITY to the university and their academic discipline. Many universities are judged not on what research their students do, but on the research their faculty do. Faculty are life long students who never stop learning, their job is to set the standard for their students by leading the way, not just talking about in a lecture.

Donna Potts 13 years, 4 months ago

Thanks so much to those of you who've supported faculty on this issue. Kansas professors are the most underpaid in the entire nation (when one considers reseach-level state institutions), and their raises do not even keep up with cost-of-living increases. However, as Kansas Universities get more top-heavy with administrators who get astronomical salaries and pay raises, though they teach very little (Pres. Wefald of KSU accepted a huge pay raise even while KSU was undergoing hiring freeze), they're counted as "faculty," making our average salaries appear to go up and our teaching loads appear to go down. Our primary responsibility is teaching, though, as someone else so eloquently pointed out, we are also expected to earn national and internation reputations as researchers, and to do service for the department, the university and the profession. I end up working many hours every day, including Christmas and all the other "holidays" just to keep up, yet my "merit" pay raises don't register anything. It would be nice if students recognized how hard we really do work.

badger 13 years, 4 months ago

Andalucia makes a good point. Often 'administrative faculty' make a great deal more and do a great deal less than 'functional faculty' but aren't separated out when salaries are averaged for 'faculty salaries.'

What I'd like to see would be a complicated graph, but it could be done by someone who has the data. I'd like to see professor salaries graphed as a function of average hours per week spent in the classroom or dealing directly with matters related to teaching students, meaning the X axis would be 'Hours per week, averaged over one year, spent teaching' and the y axis would be, 'Annual salary including merit bonuses.' Each professor would be plotted on there, with the untenured ones in red and the tenured ones in blue. Throw on graduate assistants in black, and I bet a very different picture of the 'elitist Liberal professors' would emerge, with the overall numbers skewed by a very few high-paid administrators balancing the majority of lower-paid working professors.

When it comes to salary vs work, scatterplot graphing is often much more useful than lump averages.

What's happening now is equivalent to the 'average administrative salary' at someplace like Sprint being used to justify grumbling at middle managers and administrative assistants because the CEOs and VPs skewed the 'hours worked vs. salary paid' numbers.

kansas 13 years, 4 months ago

mrcairo, I was under the impression that you were far more concerned with how much Coach Mangino weighs rather than how much he money he makes? Your prior posts about him seemed to suggest as much!

Au_contraire 13 years, 4 months ago

...coupled with the support staff working more and getting paid less...

redbird 13 years, 4 months ago

At the same university..........I have had only 2 raises in the last 5 years,eaten away by insurance,coupling that with the cutbacks in overtime for all kinds of events of sorts,I am making $3000 less than I was 5-6 years ago and working more with less help to boot,no GTA's for the working person...

craigers 13 years, 4 months ago

I would have to say yes. I am concerned simply because in college, the student takes more of the burden of learning since they don't go to class every day of the week. I went to a private university and I know that the faculty there didn't have teaching assistants that took care of class for them and the teachers themselves had to teach a full load of classes as well. From what I have been told the TAs do a lot of teaching and the professors are doing less and less, so I would have to say the professors definitely shouldn't be getting paid more for teaching less.

Bad_Brad 13 years, 4 months ago

I wonder what professors themselves think about this? Most KU professors are Liberal. They see themselves getting paid more for doing less, while at the same time, they see the working class (administrative and support staff, facilities and operations people, etc) getting paid less for doing more. The Liberal ideal says that this is not fair. On the other hand, professors probably like getting paid more for doing less.

In other words - to your typical KU prof, does self-interest win out over Liberal idealism?

mrcairo 13 years, 4 months ago

I am more concerned about football and basketball coaches making 6-plus figures. Add in the support staff and it dollars quadruple. What a waste.

Everybody in the State of Kansas gets paid less than their counterparts in other states. Go figure.

remember_username 13 years, 4 months ago

Wow, what a variety of commentary to another question poorly asked.

First: The puplic universities in Kansas have compensation far below the majority of other states. Therefore a leap in compensation only helps level the field and enables the universities here to recruit better faculty. An important consideration unless one is proud of a sub-average level of achievment for the Kansas population.

Second: Teaching load varies quite a bit between departments. In the sciences, at research institutions, it is very common to have TA's instruct at the undergraduate level. The professors instruct at the graduate and undergrad honors level courses. Therefore it does not surprise me that many of you describe a university experience with little professor student interaction.

Third: Small private universities rarely have graduate programs where the professor spends a great deal of time interacting with his/her graduate students. At many of the Kansas public institutions a professor may have several graduate students to occupy his/her time. And a graduate student takes much more time to nurture properly than an undergraduate - especially and undergraduate who spends little time coming to class.

Fourth: I don't know any professors who feel that the staff or graduate students are paid enough. In fact most do agree they are not paid enough. Increasing the compensation to both will provide a more competitive recruitment incentive. When both professors, staff, and graduate student compensation gets to the level of the peer institutions then the question of liberal self-sacrifice will have more meaning.

Last: The teaching load is another variable that research institutions use to attract research faculty. Yes, KU is attempting to become more of a research-oriented university. This, if successful, will provide much more benefits for the Kansas economy in the long run than if the state wished to remain an agricultural backwater. Some are clearly opposed to this happening but it has never been clear to me why.

mrcairo 13 years, 4 months ago

Mango has a fat wallet and a fat behind to carry it in.

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