WILMINGTON — Some 11 Wilmington College faculty members took part Wednesday as presenters in a three-hour teach-in which focused on what they said are substandard faculty salaries.
Held in a teaching format on campus grounds, the faculty presenters spent 15 minutes each on a related topic. Much of the time the audience at the event, organized by the WC chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), consisted of 50-plus people.
Based on the attendance sheet, there were at least 23 faculty members who attended the teach-in.
Associate Professor of Political Science Marlaina Leppert-Wahl, who’s been with the college full-time about 15 years, was one of the presenters.
“We can only continue to recruit and retain these high-level, high-quality, qualified faculty members who will be committed to the long-term growth and development of Wilmington College programs by offering competitive and dignified salaries,” she said.
On average, Wilmington College faculty salaries are $8,518 below their peers at comparable institutions, according to an AAUP letter to the editor scheduled to run in Thursday’s News Journal.
A handout at the teach-in stated Wilmington College recently received an unrestricted donation that “could have been used to rectify this ongoing social justice issue on our campus. The Board of Trustees chose to place the money in the College’s endowment rather than invest in its human resources ….”
According to the AAUP letter, those unrestricted funds total $16 million.
Associate Professor of Psychology Victoria “Vicky” DeSensi spoke of faculty as being mentors and role models for the students. She also pointed to the college’s core values which, she said, the institution promotes.
Among others those core values include community, excellence, social justice, and respect for all persons.
“So we have an issue here in terms of valuing our people,” said DeSensi, whose teach-in topic was high faculty turnover.
Leppert-Wahl, whose topic was living out the college’s core values, said a cog of community is “shared responsibility for decision-making.”
DeSensi, regarding faculty retention, said she has not seen any clear strategy on how to make faculty retention happen.
Leppert-Wahl said the college needs to be living its core values by raising salaries and levels of compensation to that of comparable peer institutions.
She also spoke of “years of infrequent and inadequate cost-of-living increases.”
“It’s about continuing, maintaining the excellent faculty and staff we have here now so that we can achieve excellence as a community in serving our students,” said the political science professor.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.