This is a question for all of you faculty-types out there: when you win a grant or fellowship to fund your research, do you get a salary match? I had thought salary matches were a pretty normal thing. I even got one from my former university–and get this: the Dean even agreed to pay my rent in Fellowship City, as he understood that Fratguy and I had just bought a house, and that Fratguy needed someplace to live as he wasn’t able to take a 6-month sabbatical from his job! That university was a mid-tier sectarian private uni, too–and it proudly called itself a “comprehensive” university, not an R-1.
I was shocked to learn last year that my college at Baa Ram U.–which is officially an R-1 uni–doesn’t match our salaries when we win grants. Accordingly, my colleagues who have won fellowships to do research recently have eaten a major pay cut (even with our craptacular salaries. Most humanities grants top out at $40,000 or $50,000 a year, which is less than most mid-career faculty are earning even in my woefully underpaid department.) On top of this, many of them also have had to fund, plan, and execute complicated international travel. It has not always been like this: a colleague of mine said that when she asked for a salary match 15 years ago to take a residential fellowship, it was approved within the department–it didn’t even have to go to the dean’s office.
What does the college do with all of those salary savings? I’m told that they help fund the regular sabbaticals for other faculty, but that’s a really $hitty way to solve the problem of not being able to fund sabbaticals for all faculty. This means that those who compete for and win national and international grants are having their salaries kited to help those who were unsuccessful in winning outside support for their research.
Does the college or the university understand that it’s hardly an inducement to apply for grants and fellowships if this is the price we must pay? Even Assistant Professors have things like mortgages, loan payments, and dependants–and those of us at mid-career usually have even more complicated lives.
Here’s my two cents: if the college is happy to run like a community college, we should probably revisit our standards for tenure and promotion. I see no evidence of our R-1 status in my department outside of the achievements of my colleagues.
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