Report Highlights Faculty Conditions at Jesuit Colleges

December 8, 2015

Jesuit colleges and universities are increasingly reliant on part-time faculty members who earn relatively low pay for a growing workload, and even tenured faculty members at such institutions feel overworked and undervalued, according to a new report from Faculty Forward Network, a partner organization with and supported by Service Employees International Union. The report comes ahead of protests over faculty working conditions on numerous Jesuit college and university campuses, planned for Dec. 10. Findings include that the percentage of Jesuit institution faculty members working as adjuncts has grown from 47 percent to 57 percent over 10 years, outpacing the rate of part-time faculty growth on four-year campuses generally. Some 15 percent of non-tenure-track faculty respondents to the Faculty Forward Network survey on which the study is based said they’ve earned so little while working at a Jesuit institution that they’ve received public assistance of some kind. And 44 percent of respondents said their workload had increased over the past five years -- in many cases due to increased administrative responsibilities; some 58 percent of tenured faculty members are so overloaded with work that they worry they cannot sufficiently support students.

Over all, one in three faculty members at Jesuit institutions do not feel supported or valued by their college or university, according to the report. The Faculty Forward Network obtained 353 responses to its survey from Jesuit institution professors over the summer, representing 89 percent of all Jesuit institutions. Some 40 percent of respondents were tenured or tenure track. SEIU is seeking to organize adjunct faculty unions on a number of Catholic college and university campuses, some of which have fought that union’s and others’ efforts in light of legal precedents against collective bargaining at religiously affiliated institutions. The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities has stayed neutral on the issue of adjunct unions on its member campuses, and Paula Moore, a spokeswoman for the organization, said it had no immediate comment on the report.

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