Problem! ‘Pay-free’ work leads to CFA chapter grievance at Cal State LA

Every year at Cal State Los Angeles, course catalogs go to students offering instructional supervision on master projects, independent studies and similar one-on-one course work. Students sign up, pay their fees, get the instruction, and earn units required for graduation. Nothing unusual there.

Except, as CFA’s Los Angeles chapter Faculty Rights Chair Alejandra Marchevsky explains, “The problem is that faculty who are doing one-on-one instruction with students are not offered any unit credit for that instruction. In other words, all that work is done on top of the regular work without additional compensation.”

We have seen many instances of faculty having to sign volunteer forms before they did one-on-one instruction, even though, as Marchevsky explains, “The work is for actual courses listed in the university’s catalog for which students pay. It is not general mentoring or advising.” 

According to CFA’s Director of Representation, Kathy Sheffield, “Some colleges and departments at other CSU campuses are more fair, and deans figure out ways to compensate faculty members who regularly teach in these credit-bearing courses.  We’d like to see a more even approach on all the campuses when it comes to this work.”

This extra works takes a toll.  Faculty members find themselves working seven days a week. They explained that because they can’t keep up doing uncompensated work, the number of master’s students they can instruct has declined. One campus program decided to hold off launching a master’s program due to this problem.