March 14, 2017
Raphael Sassower, a UCCS philosophy professor of 30 years, founded a chapter through the American Association of University Professors to earn raises for the lowest paid professors at UCCS.
According to Sassower, 22 full-time instructors at UCCS were being paid less than $40,000 a year. Because of the chapter, all new and existing full-time professors are being paid above this salary today.
Professors in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences receive the lowest pay of all departments on campus, according to Tom Christensen, UCCS physics professor of 27 years and co-director of UCCSTeach.
“If you’re in engineering or business or some of these other professions, the pay rates have traditionally been higher,” he said.
Prior to the involvement with the AAUP, UCCS professors did not receive raises for nearly four years.
“All professors get some merit adjustment on an annual basis when money is available,” said Sassower.
“In the past three to four years, when the budget was really bad, nobody got raises.”
After six years of teaching at UCCS, instructors go through a comprehensive review to test the quality of their work.
Raises are based largely off of the Faculty Course Questionnaires that students fill out at the end of each semester.
“If we decide that (the professor) meets our criteria, they’re then granted tenure,” said Christensen.
“We do not give automatic raises. The faculty have to prove that they’re doing good work.”
The UCCS chapter of the AAUP is the largest in the state, with over 50 members and professors from different departments.
The mission behind the AAUP, according to their website, is to allow for academic freedom, promote equality among higher education instructors and shape American higher education.
The organization began in 1990 and today is dedicated to protecting academic freedom of professors.
For more information on instructor raises and the American Association for University Professors, visit their website, aaup.org.