GW’s pay scale for part-time professors was not created or structured to provide a living wage, said Donald Lehman, GW’s vice president for academic affairs.
Some part-time faculty members said recently low pay and a lack of benefits hurt the quality of services they provide students.
But Lehman said the pay scale for part-time instructors is structured to compensate individuals commensurate with experience. He said compensation for part-time professors ranges from $2,000 per semester-long course for a lecturer to $3,700 for a professorial lecturer.
Part-time professors are given one of four titles: lecturer, assistant professorial lecturer, associate professorial lecturer and professorial lecturer, Lehman said.
“Of course, they can be promoted through the ranks,” he said.
Lehman said part-time professors teach at GW because they want to remain connected with the academic community and they enjoy teaching. He said compensation for part-time professors was not designed for individuals to fully support themselves.
“It was never designed for someone to make a living off of,” Lehman said.
Lehman said total financial packages for graduate teaching assistants, including a stipend and compensation for classes taught, can reach up to $23,000. He said the University’s limited resources prevent it from continuously offering such a package.
“We can’t guarantee that somebody is going to have a GTA package for six years,” Lehman said.
In addition, compensation for part-time professors was revised in December 1998, Lehman said. He said the revision accounted for inflation and other factors.
GW follows the Faculty Handbook and provides benefits to all full-time faculty and “regular” part-time faculty, Lehman said. He said GW, like most other employers, does not provide benefits to employees who work part time.
As for the possibility of a GTA and part-time faculty union at GW, Lehman said he opposes the idea because it would spark an adversarial relationship.
“I would certainly discourage it,” Lehman said. “In many instances, unions can work to their detriment.”