An offer to UConn

Readers outside CT may not be aware that there is currently a mini-scandal in the state about retired employees, including faculty members, who keep working and are thus drawing both pension and pay from the state.  Sometimes this is fairly innocuous–some poor soul keeping her hand in by teaching the odd section of composition, but sometimes, well, sometimes it is a little outrageous:

One retired professor, [name snipped, since it’s not really about him, and I’m sure he’s a fine person who doesn’t deserve to be subjected to all this at the end of his career], teaches two introductory accounting classes each semester and is paid $81,650 per year in salary and more than $174,000 in pension, according to public records.

Regarding the salary of more than $81,000, Hogan said, “That’s what the market is” before adding that the market is even higher. UConn, he said, would need to spend $110,000 to hire an accounting professor as a replacement, and that professor would not teach the 800 students that [snip] currently teaches.

So, as I understand it, the offer is $81,000 for 2 intro classes?

As a service to the state, and as a way to get you off the front pages of the Courant,  I will teach two intro classes per year for $81,000.  Why stop at 800 students?  I will teach 1000 students in the two sections.

Now, you will perhaps object, “but you are a Victorianist, not an accounting professor, and can barely keep up with your checkbook and your (fairly simple) taxes,” which is a fair point.  But I have sabbatical coming up in the fall, and I could use that time to re-train.  Plus, let’s be honest: You don’t *really* care about pedagogy, or you wouldn’t  pack 800 kids into two classes.  Give me a few months with an intro to accounting textbook, and some publisher-supplied online/multimedia content, and everything would work out fine. I’m a good teacher: a two-time excellence-in-teaching award finalist, and a semi-finalist another time.  You can trust me!

(Somewhat more seriously, I’m bemused that the UConn union tolerates this: Unions should attend more to pay equity within the university.  When accounting professors earn $81K/yr, while English and history adjuncts earn pennies per hour . . . something’s badly broken.)

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7 Responses to An offer to UConn

  1. Of course, pay disparity isn’t news. But I was still shocked to learn that people adjuncting in Emory’s business school are paid $15,000 per class as opposed to the $3,000 per class they get in the English department. And Emory pays its adjuncts (relatively) well.

  2. jbj says:

    Right–and this is $40,500 PER CLASS. For a lecture-mill class. (And, remember, this is an adjunct rate, so it doesn’t include research, service, etc.)

    I cannot figure out how this is defensible at a public university.

    (Though a friend contacted me privately and pointed out that at Central ass’t professors in some business and engineering disciplines start above her full-professor salary.)

  3. Mike Duvall says:

    The disparity between business faculty salaries and those in the humanities is bad here at College of Charleston, too. The newspaper out of Columbia, SC posts the salaries of all state employees above $50K and you can find new assistant profs in business (running a “center” of some sort, to be fair) at $90K+. You cannot find any English Assistant profs and not all of our Associate profs.

    I have always thought the “market forces drives pay” argument very shallow. These profs (good people, no doubt) like to have this gig, especially now. They have stability, standing, plus they get to consult over the summer and during the year for big money, largely trading on their status as “professor of business” at our center for entrepreneurial studies (yup, we got that here). Sure, they *could* make better money “out there.” So why don’t they?

    Answer: they like the work. I bet they’d take less to do it than we think…

  4. I agree with Mike. The market-driven pay scale argument is untenable, as I see it. Where else can you find a job with so much unstructured (not free) time? Or with such opportunities for intellectual engagement? Sure, you could make more money in the business world, but you’d be putting in the hours and giving up all those nice summer, winter, and spring breaks.

    Mike’s also right that they’d do it for less than they’ve convinced everyone else they need. And if not, well, we’re in the middle of an economic downturn and people everywhere are looking to move. Let ’em go and hire someone else who’ll work for less. After all, this has been the hiring and management strategy over in the humanities wing of the university for decades.

  5. Uh, JBJ you better review your maths before taking that accounting gig — the UConn prof. is teaching 2 sections per semester. So, that’s 4 sections per year for $81K. That works out to $20,250 per class. Still, nice work if you can get it!

  6. jbj says:

    D’oh! I conflated two different instances. $20K/class *is* still more than the contract’s full-professor adjunct rate though . . . .

  7. Sisyphus says:

    Don’t listen to him, UCONN!!!!!! I will lowball his offer and teach those four accounting sections a year for a mere 50K!!!! Over here, over here! I will teach the literature of —ah, I mean, the science of accounting. With novels.

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