Two interesting stories from Colleen Flaherty in InsideHigherEd. Please pass along other similar stories in the comments:
Pay for graduate teaching assistants in the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University is among the lowest in the Big Ten — a little less than $14,000 a year, before taxes. So the college’s recent announcement that it’s raising graduate pay to $15,000 or more next year was good news — to some. Others say that while they applaud the college’s attention to an important issue, the modest pay bump doesn’t begin to make up for what Purdue is proposing in exchange: namely, a redistribution of college resources that includes major cuts to some of the largest graduate programs, and future cuts to overall graduate student enrollment.
Back in 2003, the College of New Jersey looked into updating its traditional liberal arts curriculum in a way that prioritized data-driven, “high-impact” teaching practices – primarily engaging undergraduates in research. Both faculty members and administrators knew that process would have major implications for faculty workload (if they did it right, that is). So both groups made a concerted effort to work collaboratively on the project, working through and with the college’s Faculty Senate and American Federation of Teachers-affiliated union.
The process went quickly for so large a project: it took less than a year. By 2004-5, the college piloted its new curriculum and faculty workload model. Under the new system, faculty members were no longer teaching four courses per semester (and students were taking four courses instead of five, for one more credit each). Instead, professors now were teaching three courses, or 18 weighted hours, on average. Each course they did teach was to be more rigorous and engage students – mostly all undergraduates – in high-level research, to the extent possible.