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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Chairpersons interviewed on presidential search, salaries

Students protested outside of the Community Center on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 22, while the board of trustees met inside to vote on various business matters of Guilford College.

The protestors’ message: our faculty pay issues must be addressed. There is no way, the signs said, that Guilford’s professors should be ranked dead last among peer colleges.

During a break, some trustees trickled out and engaged students in conversation before they were called back in to vote on matters that affect students.

Regardless of unhappy students or underpaid faculty, the band played on.

The trustees gave the green light for administrators to figure out what would need to be cut should enrollment meet a bare minimum requirement. During the last round of reductions, several adjunct and staff positions were cut.

The Board also confirmed the tenure of two professors and raised tuition and room and board by three percent. Additionally, at the request of the CCE SGA, student activity fee for the adult population was raised by $15.

According to the Vice President for Finance Greg Bursavich, the amount and percentage of any salary adjustments will depend on the actual enrollment in Fall 2014 and the enrollment anticipated for Spring 2015.

So for now, where finances and layoffs are concerned, much is still up in the air.

Following the meeting, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Joseph M. Bryan Jr. and Chairperson of the Presidential Search Committee Carole Bruce sat down with The Guilfordian for a brief Q&A.

Q: What can you tell me about pay inequality? You have read The Guilfordian and can agree, I’m sure, that faculty are an important part of this institution — why is it that we are dead last among our peers? 

Bryan Jr.: I have no intention of going out and talking to (the protestors). The board has been made aware that salaries are the first priority in the worse case. This is really not a board issue. This is something we entrust to the administration of the College. The budget committee recommends to the president, and he in turn makes his recommendations to us.

Bruce:  Faculty is our biggest cost. If we budget deficits in order to raise salaries, we will eventually run out of money. You have to remember that we have been contending with the $2.5 million in funding cuts. That is a lot of money to lose.

Bryan Jr.: There have been many small liberal arts colleges that have gone belly up. That is what we are trying to avoid here. Higher education all over is facing financial issues.

Q: What can you tell me about the presidential search? 

Bruce: I think the entire board is very satisfied with the applicants. We have over 92 very qualified professionals to choose from.

Q: Can you clarify what “qualified” means? 

Bruce: The applicants have read what the community is looking for, and not only understand, but also are enthusiastic about the ethos of the College. Our next president will value the Quaker values of the College, its testimony, programs such as Principled Problem Solving; and the person accepting the position will have a full understanding of Guilford. I should also add that the board approved a hybrid interviewing process should it be requested. I speak for the entire board when I say it is only if needed.

We would essentially create a small proxy group for the various college constituencies (students, faculty, staff, alumni, board of visitors) sworn to confidentiality to interview the finalist candidates along with the trustees.

Bryan Jr.: We are pushing for open interviews. The hybrid interviewing would only be done if it were impossible to interview otherwise. We want the process to be as open as possible.

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  • B

    Benjamin JowettMar 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    The wrong question is being asked.

    It should not be “why are faculty receiving lower-than-average salaries?” (except for the pres., of course, whose salary is higher than average!)

    It should be: “what if anything are faculty doing to earn the salaries they receive?”

    I’ve surveyed three of Guilford’s departments – one science, one humanities, one social science. (I do this kind of work every day, evaluating faculty productivity on campuses everywhere in the U.S.) I looked at the productivity of all tenured- and tenure-track professors. 45% of the sample were full professors, 55% associates.

    I discovered that in my sample professors taught for an average of 5.99 hours a week. During the past ten years they have published an average of 0.75 academic papers and 0.14 books each. This is not an annual average: it is what the average professor published in the course of the entire ten years. Their published works were cited by other professors in their published works (this is the standard measure of the quality of academic publications) an average of 4.36 times during the decade. 45.5% of my sample had no publications during the past ten years.

    It is evident from these figures that the scholarship of the professors in my sample has no value to the academy or to their students. And yet, if Guilford resembles most other campuses, it accounts for at least 40% of the work they supposedly do.

    Their miniscule teaching load cannot be justified by the quality or quantity of their scholarly output. (Please, profs, don’t try on me that old saw about how much time you spend preparing for your classes, meeting your students, etc. If you have to spend any real amount of time preparing for your classes you probably don’t know enough to be teaching them: particular, since in all probability you have been teaching the same class over and over again!)

    So: they’re not scholars, and they do ridiculously little as teachers.

    Wouldn’t it be rational to dispense with the requirement that these professors do research, and to make them teach the same amount of time – 40 hours a week, 48 weeks of the year – that most Americans work?

    Is there any reason why they shouldn’t?

    By increasing productivity in this way you make possible far more intensive teaching, buttressed by greatly enhanced support for failing students; you drastically lower college tuition, and save many students from the appalling burdens of paying of their student loans. And you enable students to graduate in three rather than four years, far better educated than they are now.

    Is there anything wrong with that?

    Thank you for your attention, and join me in doing something about the extraordinarily poor – and to students and taxpayers, unjust – productivity of most college professors.

    Benjamin Jowett

  • D

    Dan MoscaFeb 28, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks to the students for expressing their concerns for our valued faculty. I enjoyed my opportunity to discuss the issues during and after the board meeting with those students who were available. It was fun to also share our box lunches with those who stayed until 2 pm. Although I had met some of the students in different situations before, taking action on their passions is a valued lesson for a future career. I applaud you all.

    Current history taken alone can be misleading. When Kent first arrived at Guilford the board established a goal to gradually improve faculty and other salaries to the 50th percentile of the various levels of responsibilities so that our folks would be competitive and rewarded adequately.

    Until the draconian action affecting Guilford and other private colleges taken by the state legislature and our governor to balance our state wide budget, Guilford was fast approaching our target of 50%. If my memory serves correctly, we had almost arrived at the 40th percentile.

    The lost of $2.5 million has had a major impact along with the changing student enrollment. Please recall that the loss of state funds affected Guilford more than almost any other private college in NC because we have a higher percentage of instate financially assisted students. The states formula made no allowance for such schools. The result is that those colleges with fewer students who required instate financial assistance were not affected in the same way Guilford was affected.

    Although we can complain, the administration and the board does not have that luxury, we have to respond. I complement the budgeting process and all of the faculty affected for tolerating what we are determined will not be a permanent situation. Our joint responsibilities are to raise our endowment, increase student enrollment appropriately, and make faculty and staff salaries our prime objective in the coming years. This year’s budget is the first step to that effort.

    I thank all students who participated in the demonstration. You were terrific and I look forward to the day when your passions will fulfill your career objectives.


    Dan Mosca
    Trustee, Member CPPS BOA