4B Wednesday March202013 // The Staterent
Wednesday, March 20 203 // The Statement SB
THE RESEARCH DIFFERENCE
How the University varies the value of faculty members
By Amrutha Sivakumar
The University is known as a
major research university. But
with almost 27,000 undergradu-
ate students, how does the University
ensure that teaching is a main focus as
The union representing lecturers has
been bargaining for increased wages
for its members, hoping to gain not only
recognition but also pay compensation
equal to research faculty members. The
obstacle, however, is deciphering why
exactly these lecturers are valued less
than their research-focused counter-
Over 1,400 lecturers across all three
University campuses are full-time Uni-
versity employees paid to teach under-
graduate courses across all areas of
The Lecturer's Employee Organi-
zation represents these employees. In
cases where employees feel the Univer-
sity has shortchanged their dues, LEO
tries to maximize wages and benefits of
While both types of University
employees fall under the category of
non-tenured University staff, the job
profile of atenure-track faculty member
includes fulfilling research and service
requirements alongside teaching, while
lecturers are paid almost exclusively for
their work in the classroom.
Lila Naydan, a lecturer and LEO
Communications Committee co-chair,
said despite "top-notch teaching eval-
uations," lecturers are not paid the
deserved compensation for their work.
"We deserve equal pay for the teach-
ing portion of our work because we're
dedicated teachers," Naydan wrote in
an e-mail. "We deserve to be recog-
nized by the U-M administration for
our experience in the classroom."
Sociology Lecturer Ian Robinson's
said in his report on equal pay that lec-
turers are paid approximately 50 per-
cent of what tenure-track professors are
paid for the teaching portion of their
"When we talk about equal pay for
equal work, we are not talking about
making the same salary as tenured and
tenure-track faculty members," Naydan
said. "We are talking about making the
same amount per course taught."
"It's an important distinction and I
think it speaks mainly for how commit-
ted lecturers are to teaching," Naydan
added. "This is the main component of
our job and it's what we really dedicate
On March 5, the LEO Union Council
met with University administrators to
finalize a tentative collective bargain-
ing agreement. Hoping to satisfy the
demands of both parties, LEO members
are currently voting on the agreement.
The contract entails an 8.25 percent
salary increase to the starting salary
of lecturers over a period of five years.
While this contract ensures annual pay
hikes for lecturers, a large differential
between tenure-track professor and
lecturer salaries would still exist.
Though content with the outcome of
bargaining, Naydan said LEO will con-
tinue to strive for pay equity for its lec-
"We're happy with the contract,"
Naydan affirmed. "It's my hope that in
future contract negotiations we make
greater progress towards pay equity for
the teaching portion of our work."
With over a decade of service to the
University and a vast portfolio of teach-
ing and research accomplishments under
their belt, tenured professors seem to be
the University's most prized possession.
Through a combination of distinguished
pedagogy, research publications and ser-
vice to the University, tenured professors
represent the creme de la creme.
But before professors can receive ten-
ure, they are hired as tenure-track facul-
ty. Many of these tenure-track professors
have one absolute goal: to prove their
worth to the administration.
Christina Whitman, vice provost for
academic and faculty affairs, made it
clear that the higher salaries and benefits
for tenure and tenure-track faculty did
not come sans strings attached.
Unlike lecturers hired for fixed periods
of time, tenure-track professors are put
under the pressure of a "tenure-clock,"
the six to 10 year time period during
which professors must prove to Univer-
sity administrators that they deserve to
hold a lifetime of professorship at the
Professors denied tenure after serving
their tenure-clock must leave the Univer-
sity within a year.
"Somebody who is (on the) tenure-
track is expected to be producing some
fairly serious research and will not retain
the job if they aren't," Whitman said.
While tenure-track professors are
brought into the institution with the
hopes that they'll fulfill the promise in
research and teaching that the University
believed was reflected in their graduate
work, Whitman said the University hires
lecturers for a very different purpose.
"When we hire somebody as a lectur-
er, we are asking them to teach well for
a defined, limited period," she said. "We
are looking for somebody who is really
specializing in pedagogy rather than peo-
ple who are bringing their scholarship
into the classroom."
In the aftermath of LEO negotiations,
Whitman believed that comparing lec-
turer salaries with those of tenure-track
faculty was impossible because of differ-
While not disputing the importance
of lecturers in a classroom, Whitman
elucidated that professors are constantly
expected to think and work outside of
their business hours in ways "outside-
Teaching that is influenced by and
incorporated with a faculty member's
research is crucial to professorship,
"When we are looking to make a per-
manent commitment to someone, like
tenure, we are looking for people whom
we think have the confidence that all of
the things that they do will build on the
other things that they do," Whitman said.
"We think their teaching should benefit
from their research and their research
should benefit from their teaching."
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald
said teaching and research were homoge-
neous in a tenured-professors portfolio.
This "blending together" of research and
teaching defines a professor at the Uni-
versity, he said.
"We're actually trying to encour-
age more of that experiential, hands-on
learning," Fitzgerald added. "That's likely
to be more and more a part of the educa-
tional component, more than just sitting
in a classroom."
But when it comes to raising the bar
in. the .classroom, all forms of faculty
can turn to the University's Center for
Research on Learning and Teaching,
where research focuses on teaching
itself and a common goal to succeed in
the classroom exists.
The CRLT is the first of its kind in the
country. With its origins in the Office of
the Provost, the CRLT works with all 19
schools and colleges to teach teachers
how to better improve their classroom
Comprised of a core group of 12 Ph.D.
graduates with extensive experience in
teaching and working with other teach-
ers, CRLT brings together tenured,
tenure-track, lecturers and graduate
student instructors on a common plat-
form to learn from one another's prac-
Matt Kaplan, managing director
of the center, explained that one of
the core functions of the CRLT is to
research ways to increase the effective-
ness of teaching at the University.
For example, when the University
decided to shift some internet infra-
structure to Google, CRLT realized that
the majority of teaching faculty would
limit themselves to generic Google ser-
vices, such as Gmail and Calendars,
without realizingthe potential utilityof
"We realized that there was a lot of
possibility to promote collaboration
between students and teachers," Kaplan
said. "We went to ITS with the idea that
it would be a pity if people didn't realize
the applications that they could make
use of for their teaching."
As a result, the CRLT invited a group
of 25 faculty members from across the
University to a learning community,
where members were given the oppor-
tunity to explore the applications in
their own classes, later sharing their
experiences in monthly meetings.
This teaching goes hand in hand with
research. To avoid limiting the findings
to only those in the learning commu-
nity, CRLT summarized their findings
in a formal paper and shared it with the
Office of the Provost and other Univer-
sity faculty to develop the ideas further.
"It's easier to think about how we
can implement things in our own class-
room when we hear about a colleague,"
Kaplan explained. "Michigan is really a
national model for having centers like
ours to improve the teaching of faculty
and graduate students." Mark Moldwin,
associate chair and professor of Atmo-
spheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences,
said the University's research in the
field of teaching is helpful.
"What's helped me in my career is
knowing that there is an entire commu-
nity of education researchers who study
how people are teaching and the most
effective way to help students learn,"
Though the CRLT is operated under
the Office of the Provost, Kaplan
assured that its evaluations of teaching
faculty are never disclosed to the Office
for use during tenure review.
Kaplan added the CRLT never report
their findings to administrators since
they work directly with faculty. Never-
theless, he said that many faculty mem-
bers chose to report their involvement
with CRLT to administrators to demon-
strate their commitment to teaching.
"They want to be able to be straight
with the professor and (make the
CRLT) a safe place to talk about teach-
ing problems," Whitman said.
Simultaneously, Whitman confirmed
that association with CRLT could work
in favor of tenure-track faculty during
"It is a big plus if somebody has
worked with CRLT, especially if they've
had some problems in the classroom,"
Whitman added. "We actually think
that CRLT has turned some people
around in really nice ways."
Moldwin echoed that the CRLT aids
lecturers in bettering themselves as
"If you are not a leading researcher, it
is very difficult to get tenure. But if you.
are a terrible teacher, then that is part
of our mistake," he added. "We should
catch that much earlier and provide the
resources to get better."
Whitman said even fully-tenured
professors were encouraged to utilize
CRLT resources in cases where their
teaching appeared to be subpar. She
also noted cases where faculty with
quality research accomplishments had
been denied tenure due to poor instruc-
Though the University is a major
research university, policies imply
equality in research and teaching
According to the University's Fac-
ulty Handbook, which is published on
the Office of the Provost's website, fac-
ulty are required to be distinguished
"scholars and teachers" before they are
considered for tenure review. Further-
more, the University's Vision State-
ment defines the institution as having
"a culture of interdisciplinary teaching
and research, coupled with academic
To shake up the career path of a lec-
turer, the Office of the Provost is work-
ing on developing more opportunities
for the teaching staff. With opportu-
nities that include helping other lec-
turers learn how to teach and gain
administrative roles, lecturers have a
scope for career advancement indepen-
dent of research.
While LEO's website states that no
lecturer is eligible for "traditional aca-
demic protection," or tenure, Whitman
said there have been exceptional cir-
cumstances where the scholarship of
a lecturer exceeded the quality of ten-
Whitman knows of at least one case
where a lecturer showed significant
progress in research, causing him to be
re-evaluated and hired as tenure-track
Whitman also said by demanding
tenure-track professors to submit
teaching and research statements
simultaneously when up for tenure
review, the Office of the Provost
could weigh both components in par-
Extensive research reviews unde-
niably carry a large weight in the
portfolio of any tenure-track fac-
ulty. However, teaching documenta-
tion is also a mandate, where student
course evaluations, faculty syllabi and
reviews by other senior faculty help
the Office of the Provost determine
the teaching qualifications of each
Moldwin said he also hopes to see a
better balance between teaching and
research at the University.
"One of my professional goals is
to influence academia, particularly
major research universities, to have
teaching weighted equally or more
in tenure decisions," Moldwin said.
"Because U-M is a major research uni-
versity, research is the most impor-