Faculty presents lab compensation inequity to board

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The board will continue the discussion in the summer.

By Sergio Medina

smedina104@student.alamo.edu

Math Professor Cindy Katz told the board of trustees $8.2 million and 54 new faculty members would be needed to level lab hour pay with that of lecture hours.

Katz has no relation to District 7 trustee Yvonne Katz.

Katz, representing the Executive Faculty Council at the Student Success Committee meeting April 16 at Killen, presented lab pay recommendations.

Lab hours are paid at two-thirds the rate of lecture hours.

So a three-hour class with an hour of lab earns the instructor pay for only 3 2/3 hours.

The council made three recommendations. The first is to raise the compensation rate to match one-to-one with lecture hours.

Should the board reject this recommendation, the second recommendation is to raise the lab rate to 0.85 to one lecture hour. With this ratio, 46 new faculty would have to be hired at a cost of $4.5 million.

The third recommendation is to raise the rate to 0.75 to one lecture hour. At this rate, 41 new faculty would need to be hired at a cost of $2.04 million.

In a phone interview April 18, Katz said this is the second time the council has presented the issue to the board, the first time in July. She said former Chancellor Bruce Leslie, who retired Sept. 30, recommended the discussion to resume at a later date.

The council has been researching lab compensation for about three years.

The research included other community colleges’ lab pay where the council found Lone Star College, San Jacinto College, Tarrant County College District and Houston Community College compensate lab hours at a ratio of one-to-one with lecture hours.

The Alamo Colleges falls behind these institutions and Austin Community College, which has a workload unit compensation of 0.75 to one lecture hour.

At the Alamo Colleges, a full faculty workload is 15 hours per fall and spring semesters. Given the current lab pay ratio, instructors teaching labs would have to take on overloads to compensate.

“Faculty have to be putting so much time in the classroom,” Katz said. “They don’t have time outside the classroom.”

This hinders their ability to participate in service activities with the colleges and community, she said.

The Student Success Committee tabled the discussion.

Katz said Chancellor Mike Flores told her April 16 the discussion would resume in a summer board meeting, but did not specify when.

During the summer, committee meetings are scheduled for July 16 and Aug. 13; regular board meetings are scheduled for July 23 and Aug. 20.

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