Faculty senators frustrated with low pay for certain staff

WSU is losing employees because of lack of raises, senators say



Glen Duncan, professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, said the university is in a continual cycle of hiring staff and losing them.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor

Faculty senators expressed frustration at a meeting Thursday with the uncompetitive pay WSU gives certain staff members.

Michael Neff, professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, said one of his constituents wants to give a raise to a field technician. The department chair approved a raise for this employee, but the request was declined at the higher administrative level.

“Losing good staff is a significant blow across the university, and we don’t need this happening,” Faculty Senate Chair Doug Call said. 

Bert Tanner, assistant professor of chemical and bioengineering, shared the struggles of trying to give his technician a raise. The department had to recategorize his technican’s position and change his position over the years to qualify him for a raise, he said.

“I didn’t realize this was sort of a systemic thing,” Tanner said.

The university is engaged in a continual cycle of hiring staff, trying to retain them, having them leave for different positions and trying to find new people, said Glen Duncan, professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

“It’s just not a good way to operate,” Duncan said. “We really do need to get a handle on this.”

Zoe Higheagle Strong, executive director for tribal relations, presented about the Task Force on Equity in Policy and Practice. There are five guiding questions WSU decision makers should take into account when it comes to producing or revising policies, she said.

The primary question was, “Have WSU community members from communities that have experienced systemic racism and institutional discrimination been intentionally involved in the process of drafting this policy, practice, or decision? If not, who else should be involved in the development process?”

The other four questions focus on the intent and outcomes of a policy.

The questions are a check to make sure people affected by university policy have a seat at the table, said Senior Vice Provost Laura Hill.

New course offerings

Senators voted to create CHE 480, a course on pulp and paper manufacturing and process engineering, which will start in fall 2022.  

They also voted to offer the certificate in Spanish language and culture at WSU Vancouver. The certificate is currently offered at the Pullman and Global campuses.