A Faculty Survey and Call to Reignite the Jesuit Social Justice Mission on Campus

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1 A Faculty Survey and Call to Reignite the Jesuit Social Justice Mission on Campus December 2015 "If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be 1

2 Executive Summary There are more than 218,000 students and 20,000 faculty members who study and work at 28 Jesuit institutions across the United States, including some of our nation s most prestigious universities. 1 The Jesuit mission, according to the Society of Jesus, today is the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement. 2 While Jesuit institutions strive to promote social justice, the everyday reality is that many Jesuit colleges and universities have moved toward a corporate model in higher education that has lead to a dramatic shift away from investment in educators and affordable, accessible college education. This report chronicles the Jesuit college and university faculty perspective and how a crisis in higher education is undermining the Jesuit tradition, as one survey respondent stated: I joined the [Jesuit University] largely due to the emphasis on Jesuit values. I have found that the leadership espouses them but does not live them. It has been a huge disillusionment for me. The survey shows deep misgivings about the future of higher education. Jesuit faculty are dedicated to the mission of higher education, often going beyond what s required of them. They are, however, concerned about the direction higher education on their campus and across the country. Of the hundreds of respondents, only 9 percent of faculty surveyed feels higher education in their state is moving in the right direction. One major reason is that once a middle-class job, many college and university faculty are now working part time for very low pay, isolated from colleagues, without job security, benefits or even office space. Full-time faculty are seeing their pay stagnate while administrator salaries increase. The Faculty Forward Network unites full and part-time faculty, students and allies in the fight against the corporatization of higher education and to remedy the disparities in higher education. At Jesuit schools, the Faculty Forward Network is coordinating actions across the country, raising awareness of the crises in Jesuit higher education, and holding administrators accountable to the social justice mission. 2

3 Methodology In August and September 2015, Faculty Forward Network broadly circulated a survey among faculty at Jesuit institutions across the country to assess faculty experiences with working conditions, student learning conditions, and the future of higher education. The survey generated 353 responses with faculty from 89 percent or 24 of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities participating. The demographics of the survey respondents are: 61 percent of the survey respondents are working as contingent faculty off the tenure track; 6 percent are on the tenure track, and 30 percent are tenured. Seventy-four percent of survey participants are employed at one institution with 50 percent working full time and 24 percent working part time. Sixteen percent are employed at more than one institution. Only 8 percent of respondents are traditional adjunct faculty members whose primary employment is outside of academia. The analysis will focus on results from the survey unless otherwise indicated. 3

4 Where s the money going? Over the last decade, tuition has skyrocketed at Jesuit colleges and universities. From academic year (AY) 2003/04 to AY 2013/14 the published price of tuition and fees increased 68 percent to an average of $37,031 at Jesuit institutions. 3 Students at Jesuit institutions are carrying a heavy debt load. In , a median of 65 percent of students graduating from Jesuit universities had debt, with a median average debt over $31, Despite the high price of tuition and the heavy debt load taken by students, Jesuit faculty are becoming an increasingly contingent and part-time workforce with low pay and little if any job security. In fall 2014, 57 percent of Jesuit faculty were working on a contingent basis with no access to tenure or job security. Although this is lower than the rate of 65 percent of faculty working on a contingent basis reported at all nonprofit colleges and universities in the United States, the rate of contingent faculty at Jesuit colleges and universities are quickly catching up to the norm. 5 In the last 10 years, the percentage of faculty working on a contingent basis has increased 23 percent at Jesuit institutions, while the percentage of faculty working on a contingent basis at all four year non-profit colleges and universities has only increased 7 percent during this time. 6 A greater percentage of faculty are working part time at Jesuit colleges and universities. Forty-one percent of all Jesuit faculty in fall 2014 are part time up from 34 percent of faculty in fall 2004 a 21 percent increase in rate of faculty working part time. They have exceeded the four-year nonprofit rate of 41 percent in fall 2014 and fall These trends aren t slowing down; 57 percent of the instructional faculty hired in fall 2013 were hired as contingent faculty. 8 4

5 Faculty Survey Findings Jesuit college and university faculty feel increasing pressure and heavy workload. Faculty, both contingent and tenured, report a heavy instructional workload although some respondents view this positively because increased work means increased income, a necessity when pay is low. Despite the potential economic benefit for some, 58 percent of tenured and tenure-track respondents and 46 percent of contingent respondents feel that students are at risk of receiving insufficient support from their professors because their professors lack general availability due to work overload. Forty-four percent of faculty report an increase in their workload over the last five years. Tenured faculty attribute the increase in workload to an increase in the number of students per class and increased administrative duties. Faculty are retiring, but we have not had any new hires. Our class numbers are higher than they ever have been budget issues make it tough. Tenured and tenure-track faculty are more likely to report an increased workload than contingent faculty. Forty-nine percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty report their workloads have increased, while only 42 percent of contingent faculty report increased workloads. Contingent faculty may be less likely than tenured faculty to report an increased workload because of limits many colleges and universities have placed on the number of classes contingent faculty can teach in order to avoid offering health insurance benefits. [Jesuit University] has made a policy whereby we cannot teach more than 6 in a calendar year so they need not pay for benefits. Other faculty report they have lost work because of family obligations, I was teaching as an adjunct at four colleges (two courses per semester at each school, plus two summer courses and one winter course) until I had a baby three years ago. No maternity leave meant I lost my spot. I'm just coming back now but at a much reduced capacity. Although only 36 percent of respondents report the number of students per class has increased over the last five years, those that did expressed deep concerns as to how this trend affected students. I try to help students individually and do, but there is just too many and not enough time. It's a disservice to the student. Faculty strive to put students first, often at the expense of their own career development or personal life. Seventy percent of respondents report their workload did not interfere with providing effective instruction and 55 percent said they had sufficient time to advise students. In contrast, only 28 percent report having enough time to conduct research and 36 percent have sufficient time for professional development and growth. As one survey respondent states, I prioritize helping students over my research. This experience was echoed in comments provided by survey respondents. I can do research and scholarship, but not as much as I would like nor as well as I 5

6 would like. I don't have to time to do research or write with students. This type of mentoring is invaluable. Program assessment is always pushed to the back-burner. Contingent faculty repeatedly reported having to take up additional work outside of academia or take on too many classes in order to earn enough money to survive. I could and would do much more if I did not have to work other jobs to meet my expenses. I work as a part-time nanny to make enough income. I can give the students what they need, but I don't have time for research, service, etc. I tutor 10 hours a week in addition to teaching. I somehow make it work, but I teach 17 courses a year to make ends meet. Low pay results in poverty living conditions for many Jesuit faculty. Some Jesuit colleges and universities have lost sight of the Jesuit mission to respect the dignity of work through providing decent and fair wages and benefits. Only 23 percent of contingent faculty at Jesuit institutions report their compensation is fair and competitive. Tenured and tenure-track respondents were slightly more likely at 31 percent to report their pay was fair and competitive. Fifteen percent of contingent faculty respondents indicate they have had to rely on public assistance programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, earned income tax credit or unemployment. In many cases, tenured and tenure-track faculty report access to benefits, but these benefits are often not extended to contingent faculty. I have been without healthcare benefits for the first time in my life with my decision to teach. It is stressful. However, I know I have found my calling and passion and so continue to try to make it work financially and with lack of benefits. Many contingent faculty report they obtain healthcare through their spouse, insurance made available because of the Affordable Care Act, or they go without health insurance. My healthcare costs are CRIPPLING. I have insurance at my school but in order to keep my doctors I pay $500 a month as a single person for that insurance. I can barely pay that and my mortgage and loans. The ability to prepare for retirement differs for faculty depending on tenure status. Although most of the tenured faculty are saving for retirement through the retirement plans offered by their employer, some contingent faculty report their retirement plan involves, hoping and praying, and working for as long as they are able. This creates anxiety among contingent faculty, especially those approaching retirement age. We don't anticipate being able to retire until we are forced. We live as frugally as we can but 6

7 still live check to check. We haven't taken a family vacation in years. I am in my late 50s and my husband is in his 60s. Student debt is an additional stress in the lives of some faculty. Twenty-four percent of survey respondents report they currently have student debt, and nearly a third of contingent faculty report they carry student debt. Among faculty with debt, 62 percent report they worry about being able to afford their student loan payments. Jesuit university faculty report little job security, even for many tenured professors. Fifty-seven percent of contingent faculty report they do not have job security at their Jesuit institution. Contingent faculty report the lack of job security has serious implications to their ability to provide for themselves and their family, I could not get a home loan or a car loan because my income is considered part time and contractual even though I've been working there for over five years. The lack of job security creates intense stress and isolation. I cannot place roots down in my community, or invest in ways that would be beneficial in the long term to my devotion to service learning and community transformation. As a result, my spouse and I must live in a constant state of anxiety each fall as I apply for academic jobs around the globe. Faculty report they strive to not let their lack of job security impact their teaching. Notwithstanding these efforts, contingent faculty spoke of having to dedicate time to constantly look for work, I am always scrambling before the beginning of each semester to make sure I have enough classes to teach in order to earn enough money. Tenured and tenure-track faculty at Jesuit colleges and universities also feel the lack of job security. Close to 1 in 4 tenured and tenure-track faculty, or 24 percent, do not feel certain they have job security at their Jesuit institution. I worry about post-tenure review. I'm chairing a department, directing an interdisciplinary program, and teaching a full load. I worry that my lack of research productivity will be judged harshly during my next review. But I just don't have any more time. Faculty feel a diminished role in decision-making. Shared governance is a bedrock principle of higher education. When faculty are not involved in curricular decision-making, faculty evaluation and faculty hiring, the quality of education may suffer. Faculty at Jesuit colleges and universities overwhelmingly report their voices are not being heard at their institutions. Only 18 percent of respondents report their institution provides an opportunity for all faculty to have a voice in the decisions made at the institution. As an adjunct faculty who has taught continuously for over 30 years, I would expect to be more involved with decisions. Thirty-three percent of respondents feel the institution values faculty input on curriculum. I didn't realize how little a voice that faculty had in institutional governance or that there is a complete dismissal of ideas and suggestions from faculty. Only 20 percent of faculty feel the administration of their institution regularly consults with and responds to faculty concerns, needs and initiatives. I feel that my institution could do a far better job of integrating adjunct and visiting faculty into faculty governance as they now currently have NO voice in decision- 7

8 making processes. Twenty-four percent of respondents feel their institutions internal governance provides for the appropriate participation of its students and faculty, promotes communications, and effectively advances the quality of the institution. I thought a liberal arts college and a Jesuit institution emphasizing social justice would value me and my discipline more, seeing us as essential to the college's mission. Most are frustrated with limited faculty evaluation and lack of transparency in hiring. Forty-four percent of respondents report they do not receive multiple forms of feedback and evaluation. At many institutions the only evaluations faculty receive are student evaluations, which one respondent called a student popularity contest. Less than 30 percent of respondents feel their institution s hiring practices are transparent. Faculty often feel left out and in the dark regarding hiring and promotion practices due in part to an inadequate evaluation system at their institution. Professional development opportunities are lacking, especially for contingent faculty. Jesuit faculty respondents reported a lack of opportunities for professional development, although more opportunities appear to be available for tenured and tenure-track faculty than for contingent faculty. Forty-two percent of faculty report their Jesuit college or university does not provide them with substantial and equitable opportunities for continued professional development throughout their career. Further, only 23 percent of contingent faculty report they have access to substantial and equitable professional development throughout their careers. The absence of professional development opportunities may, in part, be attributed to the lack of integration of contingent faculty into the campus community. Only 26 percent of respondents report their institution integrates all faculty, including part-time and contingent faculty, into the campus community in a way that provides access to support, resources and development opportunities. Isolation is pervasive among contingent faculty at Jesuit institutions. Faculty repeatedly pointed to isolation as one of the most challenging aspects of their position. I can't establish a meaningful relationship with students, colleagues and the institution in general. I feel devalued, exploited and destabilized. The feeling of isolation is cited most frequently by contingent faculty and by online faculty. As one survey respondent stated: Feeling invisible is the most challenging aspect of my position. I teach online, full time, but because the university has no strategic plan for nontraditional teaching, online faculty don't count. 8

9 1 in 3 faculty at Jesuit institutions do not feel supported or valued. Thirty-seven percent of respondents more than 1 in 3 feel their college or university does not support and value their teaching and/or research. This was consistent with contingent and tenured faculty. Contingent faculty often commented they did not feel they were valued as part of their college community. For the most part, I am a body in the classroom. Tenured faculty were more likely to comment about the high expectations coupled with a lack of support they feel from the university. The high research expectations are not compatible with the heavy teaching load (I refer more to class size than to number of courses taught). There is also not adequate funding for research and travel. Fifty-three percent of respondents feel their experience in higher education does not match their expectations. My experience has been one of professional instability cobbling together a couple of classes and commuting between various jobs. My expectation was one of greater stability, allowing for more concentration and focus on research, service and teaching. The low pay, high workloads, and the disappearance of job security are widely cited explanations. I didn't know I'd be living in poverty while commuting between three part-time college positions. Not surprisingly, only 28 percent of respondents would recommend a career in academia to their students. As one respondent explained: Not because I don't like the profession. I would discourage them because there are no jobs. I've gotten a job, but I'm the exception, not the rule. Survey respondents point to a disconnect between the Jesuit values that form the mission of their institutions and the actual employment practices in place at their institutions. I'm a tenured faculty member, and while I have my complaints, I have it pretty good. But I work at a Jesuit university. that bases its claim to Jesuit identity in large part on a strong core curriculum that is handled by grad students and adjuncts. The adjuncts are exploited, but so are the grad students, who are being trained for careers that no longer exist because the kind of universities where we might hope to place them are using adjuncts. The whole system is unjust and unsustainable. 9

10 Reigniting the Mission At dozens of Jesuit colleges and universities around the country, faculty are uniting to take on the trends that have marginalized the profession and to transform Jesuit higher education employment from one that is low paying and contingent to one that protects the dignity of work. The Faculty Forward Network is raising awareness of the national crisis in higher education and holding our administrators accountable. We call upon Jesuit universities and colleges across the country to immediately implement a Jesuit Just Employment Policy, recognizing all campus workers right to a living wage, fair and equitable pay and benefits, a safe and just work environment, and the freedom to organize to form unions without any employer interference or retaliation. 10

11 Endnotes 1 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Fall Fall enrollment All students total and all institutional faculty employees excluding medical school. Last viewed 12/1/ The Jesuit mission was adopted at the 32 nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus in Retreived at 3 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Average of the Published in-state tuition and fees and in for all Jesuit colleges and universities. Last viewed 9/30/ College Insight, Spotlight. Derived the median of Average Debt of Graduates and Percent of Graduates with debt for all Jesuit colleges and universities. Last viewed 10/1/ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Institutional employees with faculty status and all institutional employees with faculty status not on tenure track/no tenure system. Fall 2014 and fall Last viewed 12/2/2015. Fifty-seven percent of Jesuit faculty were working off the tenure track in Fall 2014 and 47 percent of faculty at Jesuit institutions were working off the tenure track in fall a 23 percent increase in the percent of faculty working off the tenure track. In comparison, at all four- year, private nonprofit colleges and universities: 65 percent of institutional employees with faculty status were working off the tenure track in Fall 2014 and 60 percent of faculty were off the tenure track in fall a 7 percent increase in the rate of faculty working off the tenure track. 6 Ibid. 7 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). All part-time and full-time institutional employees with faculty status. Fall 2014 and Fall Last viewed 12/2/15. 8 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Faculty status of new hire instructional staff, Fall Last viewed 12/2/15. 11

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