Increases in tuition and adjunct faculty pay have been approved by Muskegon Community College trustees, who warned that because of budget constraints faculty should not be expecting any pay raises. A 4.7 percent tuition increase plus an additional $7 per contact hour fee were approved by the board of trustees in May. As a result, the cost of taking 12 credits, or contact hours, per semester would increase from $1,146 to $1,278. Administrators have said the increases should raise $1.4 million each year.
The board also approved, for the first time in seven years, an increase in pay for adjunct faculty. The five percent increase will cost the college an estimated $60,000 next year, according to Aaron Hilliard, the college’s administrative director for human resources.
Trustee Ann Oakes said after putting additional costs “on the backs of students,” the college needs to consider holding wage increases for faculty, whose contract will be up for negotiation next year.
Board Chairman Dr. Donald Crandall agreed, saying the board needs to make “tough decisions” regarding wages and fringe benefits.
“That’s something that has to be addressed — and seriously — during the next round of talks,” Crandall said.
The college employs about 231 adjunct faculty members and 97 full-time faculty members.
Base pay for adjunct faculty with bachelor’s degrees has been $460 per contact hour, which will increase to $483 September 1, 2013. The 15-week classes range from two to six contact hours, also commonly known as credits.
That means those faculty members’ pay would increase from between $920 and $2,760 per semester, depending on the number of credits a class is worth, to between $966 and $2,898.
Base pay for adjunct staff with master’s degrees will increase from $505 per contact hour to $531. So depending on the number of credits, or contact hours, a class is worth, those staff would see per-semester pay jump from between $1,010 and $3,030 to between $1,062 and $3,186.
Adjunct faculty must teach classes worth 72 contact hours before they are eligible for a “step increase” above base pay.
Trustee Nancy Frye said the increase in adjunct pay is definitely needed.
“I’m aware we have lost some very, very good adjuncts because of our pay structure,” Frye said. “I want to keep adjuncts that we have who are good, and be able to recruit others when we need them.”
The board also approved an early retirement incentive that will be offered to 14 employees. If all take it, the incentive is expected to allow the college to vacate seven positions and fill seven others with lower-paid workers, saving an estimated $561,000 the first year.