On Wednesday afternoon, April 20, faculty at Wilmington College will hold a peaceful, non-confrontational “teach-in” to educate the community about the need for fair salaries and benefits at the College. The College says this is a priority, but it has yet to announce specific details about the amount or timing of any possible salary adjustments.
While administrators and Board members have long agreed that low salaries are a problem, no changes have been announced. There have been only three small raises in the last 11 years: a $1,000 across the board raise in 2010-11, a merit raise of between 0 and 2 percent in 2016-17, and a 1 percent raise in 2019-20.
Faculty are frequently asked to wait for more compensation until the College’s financial position improves. However, the College recently received $31 million in gifts, $16 million of which was unrestricted. None of this money has been used to address the longstanding neglect of salaries.
“We are not angry at the administration,” said Liz Haynes-Wiget, Associate Professor of Math. “We are going public because we have tried to address the issue internally for years, without success. There is only so long we can wait while our families struggle to afford increased health care and housing costs.”
The issue is dire. WC faculty at all ranks are paid, on average, between $8,000 and $10,000 less than the mean of instructors at peer institutions ($50,416 at WC and $58,934 at peer institutions).
Faculty salaries are a wise investment for the College. According to publicly released data, Wilmington College spends only $5,618 on instruction for every full-time student, compared to $9,000 spent by comparable peer institutions.
Failure to invest in faculty damages the student experience at Wilmington College: faculty turnover prevents students from connecting personally with faculty mentors throughout their time at the College; and low salaries restrict the quality of faculty the College can attract and maintain.
“We value the administrators and Board Members. We know they care about the College, and we trust that they have acted in good faith,” said Martha Hendricks, Professor of Education since 2002. “However, we want them to know that, as inflation hits the U.S. hard, we need help now. And putting money toward instruction will benefit not only faculty, but the College as a whole.”
AAUP (American Association of University Professors) Advocacy Chapter, Wilmington College