Inside Higher Ed
June 22nd 2015
Writing instructors at Arizona State University, who have since December been protesting a plan to change their compensation in ways they said were unfair and would hurt teaching and learning, have won both a gain in pay and a new option on course load.
The victory is notable for a group of instructors without the protections of the tenure track, many of whom used social media anonymously to make their points.
The plan announced in December was to require full-time, non-tenure-track writing instructors to shift from a 4-4 schedule to a 5-5 schedule, without any extra pay above the $32,000 base that had been used for a 4-4 schedule. The university said it was relieving the instructors of service requirements, but the instructors said that a 5-5 schedule would have them teaching too many students (25 per section) to provide the kind of feedback students need. The instructors in fact were already over what the Modern Language Association's Association of Departments of English considers an appropriate number of students at 4-4, but would have gone way over at 5-5.
Many instructors said that Arizona State was in essence telling them to do more work without any additional compensation. The dispute attracted widespread attention among composition faculty members nationally.