FT Bargaining Update – 7.7.15

At our most recent meeting on June 22, we presented our framework and goals for negotiations with the Tufts administration. An outline follows — along with our presentation and documents related to governance.

We are part of one faculty, in which teaching and research are the twin pillars of our students’ educational experience – and our academic mission – at Tufts. These pillars must be equally supported to achieve the best outcomes for our students. To achieve this balance, Tufts needs to value and invest greater institutional support in teaching and learning so that it is of equal importance to research..

Full-time Lecturers are scholar-teachers with terminal degrees who continue to engage in research, scholarship, and artistic practice as part of our contribution to our students’ learning. We must stay current and connected to our respective disciplines and areas of scholarship in order to keep the content of our courses relevant and to advise and mentor students during their time at Tufts and in their post-Tufts lives.

Likewise, tenured and tenure-track faculty are not just research faculty, but are also teachers who are committed to student learning. The University needs to understand our roles and relationship to each other and our students as interconnected and interdependent.

We are currently limited to 3-year appointments. While re-appointments often seem pro forma, the limited duration reflects a view that teaching at Tufts is a temporary stop and not a long-term commitment and career. Longer or continuous appointments would mean a reciprocal commitment from Tufts to full-time lecturers translated as greater investment in our professional development, promotions, and increased compensation. Brown, Brandeis and Boston University provide longer appointments of five or more years and full-time lecturers at UMass are eligible for continuous appointments after four years of teaching.

We agree with the University administration’s current effort to develop a fair accounting and valuation of all expected and necessary faculty work. It is important, in developing this set of guidelines, that they:

  • not be overly prescriptive, allowing lecturers and departments to make decisions by mutual agreement
  • do no harm to those with current course or service releases as well as those willing to shoulder  additional responsibilities
  • ensure items are administratively easy to interpret and implement

We are proud of our current role in governance in our departments and in the Arts and Sciences Faculty. We fully anticipate continuing in our current roles and expanding opportunities for increased participation. Click here for a summary of our current role in faculty governance.

Our students and the Tufts intellectual community benefit when full-time lecturers engage in ongoing scholarship and are part of our respective disciplines. It maintains currency in our classroom and allows us to better advise our students.

Tufts needs to commit greater resources in support of our research, artistic practice, civic engagement, and other forms of ongoing scholarly work. This could include paid sabbaticals, committed travel and research funds, reinstated eligibility for FRAC grants, and support as principal investigators on research grants.

About 80% of full-time lecturers, including senior lecturers, earn less than the lowest paid assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences regardless of years of service or discipline. If teaching and learning are to be given equal value to research, then the minimum pay for lecturers and senior lecturers should be equal to the minimum pay for assistant and associate professors, respectively. Additionally, general pay increases should be agreed upon for all lecturers each year as well as continuing to provide equity increases.

The Tufts administration was open to many of these ideas and agreed that we should focus on professional development and governance at our next negotiations on July 22nd. There will no doubt be some difficult issues ahead but the tone and discussion is respectful, open and positive. View our full presentation above.