Staff Editorial: College fails to recognize outstanding employees

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Illustration by Sara Scherba

We at The Campus Ledger consider ourselves lucky because our parents never hesitated to say “I love you” when we were growing up. That little bit of reassurance was amazingly reassuring to us in our formative years.

Perhaps the administration could take a lesson from Mom and Pop.

The college community suffered the sad losses of two very influential members, as well as several more to retirement, in recent weeks. Although colleagues who worked close by spoke highly of them, it is clear just by reading their obituaries that the administration failed to acknowledge how much their achievements mattered before it was too late.

This college is inundated with remarkably talented professors. Administrators should consider themselves lucky they stay.

Over the past few years, the college has conducted multiple salary studies in order to bring faculty pay up to the levels of similar schools. These employees are a cut above the rest and, therefore, should be paid above average. If they are going to be held to this college’s high standards, they ought to be compensated at the same standard. Pay raises here barely keep up with cost of living and inflation increases.

There are adjunct faculty members who have been here more than 10 years. That’s 10 years with no health insurance, nor benefits outside permission to use the lactation room.

If part-time faculty members teach advanced classes that tend to have lower enrollment, sometimes they are forced to choose whether to take a pay cut and teach the class because it’s their passion or cancel the class and wait for next semester.

Sure, occasionally there are special awards for faculty members. Does one award in 20 years of teaching really justify keeping up from day to day?

The original plan for the presidential search committee was to invite a single full-time faculty member to represent the needs of all faculty members at this college. The only word to describe this plan is preposterous.

And what about the hourly employees? They receive no representation on the search committee. Instead they’re required to man the student service desks or empty trash cans in the food court every half hour or so.

As one staff member told us, “I’ve never gone through that ceremony where they hand out 5- and 10-year pins to employees because I don’t want to shake their hands. I treasure my pins. I earned them. But I didn’t want to get a fake smile to go with them, so I pick them up from HR a couple of days later.”

It’s this kind of treatment that will eventually drain the zest from the amazing professors we have, or cause them to leave before their time. This lack of appreciation is toxic and it does a disservice to everyone on campus.
It’s no surprise when some of the college’s best employees take off for greener pastures while they’re still young. While this school and this area seem like ideal choices that any teacher would be lucky to experience, many of them quickly realize it’s not quite as perfect as it may seem. Subsequently, the wise ones take their talents elsewhere.

The time has come for the administration to rethink their methods of acknowledging employees for maintaining the standards that make this college what it is. Tomorrow could be one day too late.

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