To the editor:
I’m a lecturer in the Composition Program here at UCI. I’m writing to thank you at the New U for covering our push for a decent salary and affordable healthcare–and most recently for retirement benefits that count the hours we spend teaching summer classes. As you know, lecturers do a large part of the instruction at UCI. I trust that you have found, as I have, that we are dedicated to students’ education, often putting in time and resources beyond what’s stipulated in our contracts. Many of us could make more money working in the private sector, but we have a passion for our work, and we take joy in seeing our students apply what they learn with us throughout their lives.
However, one cannot eat and clothe oneself on passion and joy. Personally, I spent six years earning the PhD that allows me to teach here; that was six years in which I was living on a TA’s salary and was largely unable to put money away for retirement. So it’s particularly important that I make up some of that lost time by having the units I teach over the summer recognized when calculating my years of service.
I am happy to see coverage in the New U that understands this and other concerns of lecturers–stories recognizing that the education of students is bound up with the well-being of their instructors.
Lance Langdon, PhD 2014
To the editor:
Thank you to the New University for your coverage of the fight by the Lecturer’s Union (UC-AFT) to keep the University from eliminating an important summer retirement benefit.
Many campus community members may not know a lot about Lecturers, who do more than half of all instruction at the University of California. At UC Irvine, there are over four hundred of us, teaching in nearly every academic department.
One thing we are fighting for is reasonable job security. Currently, lecturers who have worked fewer than six years at UC have to re-apply for their jobs every year. I am reminded of that fact every year at this time as, without fail, one of our members writes to ask me if the job letters have gone out yet. (As of this writing, they have not). Needless to say, it is a situation that is very stressful for our members and their families, and we have lost many excellent instructors because of it – they move on to more reasonable work, where one’s future is more assured.