Campus, News

CSULB Academic Senate applauds new pay range agreement

California Faculty Association Long Beach chapter president Doug Domingo-Foraste announced to the Academic Senate on Thursday that the CFA worked out an agreement with the California State University Chancellor’s office to fix the range-elevation pay scale for lecturers.

Lecturers are hired into a salary range: A, B, C or D, that reflects their pay scale. For example, Range B is equivalent to an assistant professor pay scale, while Range C is equivalent to an associate professor pay scale.

Domingo-Foraste said that, in the past, lecturers had to be in the CSU for six years and at the top of their range to move to the next, which included at least a 5 percent salary increase. But every time faculty got a general salary increase, all the ranges readjusted upward, so lecturers were getting trapped in their ranges despite being at the school for years.

“We have lecturers who have been here for 15 years without moving up from lecturer B to lecturer C,” Domingo-Foraste said, to which many faculty concurred that they were in similar circumstances.

The CSU came to an agreement with the CFA that, when a lecturer reaches six years of work, they’re automatically eligible for a range elevation. The change will be phased in over three years and starting this fall, people who have been at the CSU for 12 years or more without a range elevation will be eligible for a range elevation. The following fall, faculty who have worked in the CSU for nine years or more will be eligible.

Domingo-Foraste reminded the senate that faculty are still required to apply for the range elevations.

Additionally, Burkhard Englert, the chair of the department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science, introduced a new minor in Cybersecurity, which was approved in its first reading. The minor is open to students of all majors and has no pre-requisites.

“We believe it is a very timely minor because we strongly feel that it’s very important for our students to be prepared in this very important area, so when they go out and start looking for employment, that they can protect themselves and the people that they work with,” Englert said.

There is already a certificate in cybersecurity offered through the College of Continuing and Professional Education, but Englert said that that certification is aimed at professionals while the new minor is targeted towards undergraduate students. The certification program is also offered mostly online while the minor is face-to-face.

The second reading for the new minor will be on the consent calendar in the next Academic Senate meeting and if no one rejects it, it will be approved.

Also, the Academic Senate will review policies on student evaluations in the next meeting. President Jane Close Conoley addressed faculty concerns about her request to have all classes be evaluated through student evaluations. Currently, faculty are only required to have two of their classes be evaluated by students per semester.

“Let me say, number one, I have great skepticism about this process, the general student evaluation process – you’ve read the research, I’ve read the research,” Conoley said. “On the other hand, I think we all should be using student evaluations to improve our practice of teaching. And so I’ve never been at a university where not all classes were evaluated … I hope you use these for your own self improvement.”

Some faculty voiced concerns that lecturers are often assigned some of the less popular courses, where students are more likely to give negative evaluations and asked if a policy would be added to ensure that the evaluations would not be used against them.

“The chairs, deans, provost and I all understand that these are not scientific measurements, these are things that we should be using to help ourselves,” Conoley said. “But I would urge anybody who’s involved in this [policymaking] process to take that comment seriously.”

Norbert Schurer, chair of the Academic Senate, noted that in order to add a policy, procedurally they would have to “open up” the entire policy, which means that anybody could make any amendment in the policy for the next meeting.

“If that happens, we won’t get finished with that policy next time, let’s just put it at that,” Schurer said. “This is why we’re trying to explain why we think this is something that would be useful at this point, and then it is on the members of this body to decide if this is the point where you want to open whatever other can of worms there is in that particular policy or whether we do the one amendment about the frequency [of the student evaluations].”

The next Academic Senate meeting will occur on March 2.

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