The Temple Association of University Professors and university administration negotiated a new faculty contract last month, effective immediately.
The contract includes a faculty pay increase of between 11.5 percent to 12.5 percent over a span of four years, increased merit pay, a strengthened faculty role in the tenure and promotion process and greater flexibility in faculty workload.
The contract also includes provisions for non-tenure-track faculty, including multi-year contracts and pensions.
TAUP created six subcommittees to discuss the main issues expressed through a survey sent to faculty members. The issues were discipline and termination, nontenure-track concerns, faculty workload, the tenure and promotion process and childcare.
Each of the subcommittees met at least twice between May and September 2014 to discuss their respective topics.
“We tried to approach this differently,” said Sharon Boyle, associate vice president of Human Recourses. “[TAUP committees] focused on certain topics with people who would be best positioned to make [decisions] on these topics.”
Throughout October, TAUP and the administration met to negotiate.
“What was most interesting and most gratifying about the process was that it was very cooperative on both sides and it hasn’t always been that way,” TAUP President and Human Resources Management professor Art Hochner said. “Two of our negotiations went on for very long periods during which we had no contract, but we managed to be able to talk about it in productive and useful ways rather than finding deadlock.”
Hochner said the gains for NTTs move them closer to tenure and tenure-track faculty in the amount of privileges.
“Forty-five percent of the faculty are non-tenure track and are not eligible to ever get tenure, but they are an important part of the teaching force and valuable employees,” Hochner said. “They have often felt like second-class citizens.”
Multi-year contracts for NTTs can provide greater job security, he said.
An increase in available merit pay allows more university faculty to compete for it. Merit pay is added to the base salary and is based on achievements like excellence in teaching, scholarship and research and outstanding service to the university.
Topics that TAUP and the university administration did not come to an agreement on for the current contract include tuition remission, professors’ work load, balance for non-tenure track professors and childcare.
Hochner said many faculty members would like an on-campus daycare center, but concerns about its cost made up most of the discussion of the issue.
TAUP and the faculty senate will work together on putting together a committee to do research and make proposals to the university about the unresolved concerns.
“There [are] a number of topics that TAUP and the university have committed to continue discussion on,” Boyle said. “We recommend that there be some groundwork done.”
“We reached a very reasonable decision that was very beneficial to both sides and mindful of the fact that the university is under constraints not to raise tuition or student debt,” Hochner said.
“What I hope is that this means that the next four years will be years of further cooperation,” Hochner added. “[This is an] ongoing process which I see as very positive.”
TAUP is a collective bargaining agent that represents full-time faculty and professional librarians. It has been been in place for 41 years and is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and is certified under the Pennsylvania state labor law.
Lian Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @Lian_Parsons