Saturday, November 18, 2006


Upon learning that one of my part-time academic jobs is compensated at a much lower rate than the same job in another department, I wrote to the dean to ask for an explanation of the logic behind that choice. The response: Disciplines pay differently all over the world. This University's pay rates are in line with national averages.

So, is it true that it is nationally accepted practice to pay English graduate students at approximately 1/9 the rate of other graduate students? Because when I checked The Chronicle of Higher Education, as was suggested to me by the dean, I didn't find such ratios among faculty. I didn't even find a 2:1 ratio, though some came close. Certainly I didn't find other disciplines within the humanities/social sciences that were paid 9 times as much as their English student peers, as is the case here at Microburg.

I'm now even more convinced that the administrators of this university should be arrested.


Stuntmother said...

I'm a recent lurker at your blog -- lord only knows how I found you but I stuck here because I was once a feminist medievalist at York (in the UK) and now am the wife of a PhD student in the United States and well, here I am. Wishing you solidarity in the struggle.

Ed's experience of getting "paid" as a graduate student has been twisted and strange. Of course, he is not "paid" as such because he does not "work" and can therefore not form a union, demand benefits for his family or equal pay for equal work across disciplines. It is foul that you should be paid so much less, but the inequities in this limbo of graduate student teaching seem rampant.

I wish you luck in addressing this, and courage for your work.

Oh, and bugger theorists. Except you can't because their heads are so firmly up their behinds that there's no room for anything else.

Bardiac said...


It sucks. And yes, faculty positions pay varies wildly by field and by institution within fields.

But sometimes university pay doesn't keep up with even basic outside pay. (Look at what Masters level nurses can earn doing nursing versus teaching. It's no wonder hiring nurses to teach is so difficult!)

But it's especially stupid for graduate work, since they probably DON'T count what you do as work, but as an apprenticeship. Sucks all the way around.

Great post on UCLA, too, by the way. Nothing bad from there surprises me anymore. Rumor used to have it that the chancellor had his own attack helicopter AND an escape chute in case anyone tried to get into his office.

clanger said...

Supply and demand. World awash with English grads. It could be worse: you could be a media studies graduate. McDonalds have a 'special' pay rate for them. :-)

sexy said...