Wilmington College faculty members hold teach-in on need for ‘fair and just compensation’


By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]



Assistant Professor of Music Brianna Matzke, right foreground, sings her Wilmington College-customized version of the classic labor folk song “Which Side Are You On?” She first gave some history about the song and its Kentucky coal miner roots. Behind her on guitar is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Richard Buckalew, while others in the background sing along in the Pete Seeger tradition of crowd participation.

Assistant Professor of Music Brianna Matzke, right foreground, sings her Wilmington College-customized version of the classic labor folk song “Which Side Are You On?” She first gave some history about the song and its Kentucky coal miner roots. Behind her on guitar is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Richard Buckalew, while others in the background sing along in the Pete Seeger tradition of crowd participation.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Associate Professor of Mathematics Elizabeth “Liz” Haynes-Wiget, joined by her son, talks about the poorly paid role of adjunct professors across higher education.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Assistant Professor of History Keith Orejel, right foreground, had the topic “MLK, the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike & a Living Wage”.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Assistant Professor of Music Brianna Matzke, right foreground, leads the singing of her Wilmington College-customized version of the classic labor folk song “Which Side Are You On?” Next to her playing guitar is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Richard Buckalew.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Education Professor Martha Hendricks talks about a need for faculty compensation to increase.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WC President Trevor Bates on behalf of College administration regarding teach-in:

“Since our Quaker founding in 1870, Wilmington College has encouraged the best in human thought and actions and I want to thank our students, faculty, staff, alumni, the board, and the greater College community for their many thoughts and actions of support over the past year as my new administration has worked closely with the board and College community in navigating a host of new and existing challenges in the midst of a global pandemic. In addition to our good and peaceful intentions, as a community of educators and scholars, we are called to hold ourselves accountable to the highest standard of integrity whenever presenting information and/or data to an audience internal or external to the College. To be clear, there are no opponents nor disagreement that improving compensation has been a complex challenge facing the College for some time but progress to improve will only be accelerated as each person actively contributes our valuable time, intellect, energy, and resources to implementing the strategic initiatives in our RISE strategic plan to help ensure the Wilmington College mission to educate, inspire, and prepare each student for a life of service and success lives on forever! I want to reiterate what I shared from my recent inauguration remarks on March 25th, 2022 regarding improving compensation for College employees being among the highest priorities for the administration and board and I will add that we will demonstrate our commitment to our colleagues by making progress both in the short term and long term because we believe Together, We RISE! Finally, Wilmington College is a special place that we all love and I challenge every member of the Wilmington College family to join me on April 21st to share what they love most about Wilmington College on any and every form of social media using the hashtag #WeAreWC Day!”

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.

Assistant Professor of Music Brianna Matzke, right foreground, sings her Wilmington College-customized version of the classic labor folk song “Which Side Are You On?” She first gave some history about the song and its Kentucky coal miner roots. Behind her on guitar is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Richard Buckalew, while others in the background sing along in the Pete Seeger tradition of crowd participation.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_music_horiz_1-3.jpgAssistant Professor of Music Brianna Matzke, right foreground, sings her Wilmington College-customized version of the classic labor folk song “Which Side Are You On?” She first gave some history about the song and its Kentucky coal miner roots. Behind her on guitar is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Richard Buckalew, while others in the background sing along in the Pete Seeger tradition of crowd participation. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Associate Professor of Mathematics Elizabeth “Liz” Haynes-Wiget, joined by her son, talks about the poorly paid role of adjunct professors across higher education.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_vertical_liz-3.jpgAssociate Professor of Mathematics Elizabeth “Liz” Haynes-Wiget, joined by her son, talks about the poorly paid role of adjunct professors across higher education. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Assistant Professor of History Keith Orejel, right foreground, had the topic “MLK, the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike & a Living Wage”.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_history_prof_c-3.jpgAssistant Professor of History Keith Orejel, right foreground, had the topic “MLK, the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike & a Living Wage”. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Assistant Professor of Music Brianna Matzke, right foreground, leads the singing of her Wilmington College-customized version of the classic labor folk song “Which Side Are You On?” Next to her playing guitar is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Richard Buckalew.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_music_horiz_2-3.jpgAssistant Professor of Music Brianna Matzke, right foreground, leads the singing of her Wilmington College-customized version of the classic labor folk song “Which Side Are You On?” Next to her playing guitar is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Richard Buckalew. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Education Professor Martha Hendricks talks about a need for faculty compensation to increase.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_1st_speaker-3.jpgEducation Professor Martha Hendricks talks about a need for faculty compensation to increase. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]

WC President Trevor Bates on behalf of College administration regarding teach-in:

“Since our Quaker founding in 1870, Wilmington College has encouraged the best in human thought and actions and I want to thank our students, faculty, staff, alumni, the board, and the greater College community for their many thoughts and actions of support over the past year as my new administration has worked closely with the board and College community in navigating a host of new and existing challenges in the midst of a global pandemic. In addition to our good and peaceful intentions, as a community of educators and scholars, we are called to hold ourselves accountable to the highest standard of integrity whenever presenting information and/or data to an audience internal or external to the College. To be clear, there are no opponents nor disagreement that improving compensation has been a complex challenge facing the College for some time but progress to improve will only be accelerated as each person actively contributes our valuable time, intellect, energy, and resources to implementing the strategic initiatives in our RISE strategic plan to help ensure the Wilmington College mission to educate, inspire, and prepare each student for a life of service and success lives on forever! I want to reiterate what I shared from my recent inauguration remarks on March 25th, 2022 regarding improving compensation for College employees being among the highest priorities for the administration and board and I will add that we will demonstrate our commitment to our colleagues by making progress both in the short term and long term because we believe Together, We RISE! Finally, Wilmington College is a special place that we all love and I challenge every member of the Wilmington College family to join me on April 21st to share what they love most about Wilmington College on any and every form of social media using the hashtag #WeAreWC Day!”