UniversityIn Review: Looking after La Salle’s faculty
In Review: Looking after La Salle’s faculty
Tags:
February 23, 2014
Tags:
February 23, 2014

SalaryScale (1) - thisit

DLSU’s salary schedule for its faculty is transparent, and may be accessed from any academic department. Infographic by Giselle Que

40 hours a week — the schedule of DLSU’s average full-time professor brims with research, classes, consultations and community. Some are University administrators. Granted the workload and dedication required, how does DLSU attract prospects and maintain the caliber of its faculty?

The status quo opinion on faculty compensation differs. For instance, DLSU’s monetary competitiveness fuels the stance of the University’s Faculty Association (FA), who’ve maintained that faculty salaries need to become more competitive.

In an interview with FA President Dante Leoncini, he explains, “The current issue is not whether faculty salaries are adequate or not; it is about the percentage of a just annual across-the-board increase. The question about the inadequacy of salaries only enter the equation if we take into account the role of other universities and industry as competitors and employers.”

As one of the Philippine’s leading universities, caring for DLSU’s faculty is a priority, especially with competition in the national level and neighboring ASEAN countries.

Monetary compensation

The University follows a salary scale which designates base salaries, which increases incrementally per rank.

The salary scale for AY 2013-2014 identifies titles for both full-time, part-time and Academic Service Faculty (non-teaching faculty who serve the University through other means). In addition, faculty gets monetary compensation for each unit beyond the maximum 12 units per trimester.

Full-time instructors have base monthly salaries ranging from around Php 31,000 to Php 50,000. On the other end of the spectrum are Full Professors, who enjoy a base salary around Php 105,000 to Php 160,000.

In the midpoint, Assistant Professors receive a base salary ranging Php 50,000 to Php 70,000, while Associate Professors receive a greater base salary ranging from Php 75,000 to Php 95,000.

However, these are gross pay subject to 32 percent tax and government-mandated deductions, according to Leoncini. A 32 percent deduction lowers the highest base salary range to Php 109,000, and the lowest Php 31,000 to Php 21,080.

Not salary alone

University faculty members enjoy mandatory employee benefits from the government, e.g. the Social Security System (SSS), 13th month pay, and maternity leaves for female employees.

In addition, DLSU provides benefits such as health care plans, longevity benefits, retirement benefits, and research grants. Membership in the DLSU FA provides additional advantages, such as death benefits and critical emergency benefits.

The University boasts a comprehensive faculty development program, spearheaded under the Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Research and Development Office. The program incentivizes faculty members, including part-timers, to earn their Masters/Doctorate degree by granting them tuition subsidies.

In an interview with incumbent Associate Vice Chancellor Dr. Dominador Bombongan, he adds that the development program encourages faculty to submit to research journals and present in conferences and seminars by providing for expenditures.

Bombongan reports that he is satisfied with the program. When asked about future developments to the program, Bombongan says that there are no current plans, though adds, “If we were to develop more programs, it would be more for the side of the community. We want a holistic development in our faculty… so I think we should provide more on that level.”

Bombongan furthers, “In terms of pedagogy, I think we need to conceptualize programs on outcome- based programs.” He cites the example of faculty in technical and experiment-heavy disciplines: “They also need these sort of developments as capacity-building.”

Indeed, for some hard science courses, practical concerns remain with laboratory immersion vis-à-vis academic obligations, which is a reported concern among several professors from those fields.

If academic (teaching) loads are too heavy, DLSU also allows “deloading” — the practice of decreasing the academic load of 12 units to give allowance for administrative units/research units.

However, a former academic administrator shares that deloading is hardly effective in their experience  with 3 academic units, because the heavy demands of administrative work leave little time for the University’s research requirements, much less teaching obligations.

Assessing the pilot year

In accordance with the integration process, existing De La Salle University Science and Technology Complex (DLSU STC) faculty were reranked with existing provisions and benefits of the DLSU faculty manual.

For the majority of DLSU STC faculty ranked according to the De La Salle Canlubang (DLSC) faculty manual, this meant a technical demotion (e.g. from mid-level position Associate Professor 4 back to entry level), according to  information gathered from DLSU STC.

Leoncini states that the issue was agreed upon before the start of the academic year, and that the FA received no first–hand complaints afterwards. He explains, “DLSC faculty were given an option to temporarily retain their ranks for two years while working towards completing their ranks’ requirements, or accept a rank based on the provisions of the DLSU Faculty Manual without diminution of benefits.”

However, some apprehensions still remain regarding the reranking. DLSC’s faculty benefits also differed.  DLSC’s stipulations focused on institution building, whereas DLSU places a premium on research output.

On research and research

“The opinion of the FA regarding salary and benefits is — by and large — favorable. Of course, issues regarding salaries cannot completely be done away with,” concludes Leoncini, Faculty members are grateful for the benefits they receive, he attests especially those addressing their health concerns, furthering that these benefits extend to all employees under DLSU.

Though provided with a decent support system, some faculty believe that DLSU’s premium on research output ineffectively compensates professors whose focus lies in teaching and administrative work.

“Research is important,” says a full time professor from DLSU. “But are students getting their money’s worth?” the professor asks. “How does teaching, which is a single authorship work, is not [as highly] regarded as research publications, which may be produced by collaboration?”

Although the professor also holds that DLSU’s support system is satisfactory, the professor adds, “there are other realistic aspects in the environment and circumstances — traffic, for example.” With this factored in, the professor asks, “Is it possible to have lots of faculty that’s good at research and teaching?”

The professor concludes that even with DLSU’s research focus, there needs to be a better check and balance/reward system for those who do not primarily focus on research. After all, the interviewee maintains, the exchange between teaching and learning is the primary bond between professor and student.