Faculty deserve better

According to Bradley’s website, the university’s vision statement is: “Bradley University will be an institution of national distinction known for outstanding programs and for the educational experience it provides students.”

That suggests a school with outstanding facilities, programs, faculty and students. And of course, the mission of every university should be about creating an environment that students can thrive in.

But how can students be successful if those who they work with, those who teach them, are unhappy?

University administration released the results from recent strategic planning meetings on Monday. Throughout the 2016-2017 academic year, Bradley hosted open forums, an Idea Wall and conferences with students, faculty and staff in order to hear opinions and set a plan for the next three to five years.

During this process, faculty members raised concerns about many issues they believe are effecting campus: faculty retention, adjuncts outnumbering tenured professors and shrinking departments.

Bradley’s faculty members are the backbone of this institution, so it’s appalling to hear some of the worries related to a lack of transparency in decision-making concerning their jobs and salaries.

“We need a better budgeting process here; it’s a mystery,” one participant at the faculty and staff forum said. “I don’t have any say in what I get each year.”

The strategic plan that was set for 2012 to 2017 tried to address this problem, as it included a section called “Our Sense of Human Value.” This outlined the Faculty Salary Initiative as a key plan.

“Universities of national distinction recognize the need to invest heavily in attracting and retaining faculty,” the initiative stated. “Bradley is fully committed to continuing the faculty salary initiative.”

Unfortunately, we do not see this high importance placed on “human value” as many faculty have expressed concerns regarding “compensation, professional development and morale.”

We especially do not see this respect for faculty when former Finance Department Chair Amit Sinha wasn’t even present at the faculty meeting two weeks ago that decided he would be dismissed as head of his department.

According to Provost Walter Zakahi, “The university is in the process of addressing the previously announced Faculty Salary Initiative. We expect to share details with the faculty next week.”

The Scout will wait until there is concrete evidence of change. Until that happens, though, students can do their part to let faculty know they’re appreciated – even when the university does not.

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