PSU education should be…
The majority of PSU educators and researchers (68%) work on short-term contracts. Why not retain our knowledge and experience? Why not offer us job security—a future at PSU—so we can keep refining the courses we teach, the labs we run and the support we provide to students? These faculty members, plus hundreds of academic advisors and program coordinators, want real opportunities to stay and grow in our careers at this university.
A “student-centered” PSU means prioritizing teaching and learning. Instruction represented just 33% of the overall budget in 2013. By refocusing on essentials, the PSU administration could offer fair compensation to workers and a better education for students.
Educators need a voice in decisions that impact learning. More than 800 adjunct faculty members, hired on a part-time basis, are excluded from department meetings and university committees (or invited to participate without pay). Meanwhile, full-time academics often find themselves overstretched with service on committees. Addressing this imbalance would allow PSU to benefit from the insights and contributions of all faculty members.
“Educator led” also means that faculty retains significant authority in the shared governance of the University, reversing the current trend toward the creation of an “administrative class” whose numbers and salaries continue to swell, draining tuition dollars away from the classroom.
Support for professional development is also critical. We need to participate actively in our scholarly fields and bring updated knowledge to the classroom. At a basic level, we all need a healthy workplace. Reasonable workloads, family-friendly policies and affordable healthcare coverage for all are a few ideas for positive change.
Students deserve an education without financial hardship. They deserve a chance to thrive in their careers, without owing their future wages to the banks.
PSU academic workers have rallied and lobbied for accessible education alongside students. Teachers and learners clearly share a common interest. We need Oregon to re-invest in our public universities. We need the PSU administration to channel our resources towards the essentials of teaching and learning.