One of the basic ways to prevent teaching-intensive positions from becoming a ghetto for the academics who uphold UBC’s teaching mission is to guarantee respectable minimum salaries. Currently there are four different minimum scales for sessional faculty, varying across Faculties. These minimum scales are based on a notion of “percentage of full-time work per term” that a sessional faculty member is assigned. Thus, if a Faculty decides that a full-time per term load for teaching appointments is 6 credit hours (e.g., Architecture), then the minimum pay for a 3-credit course is $2,890. If another Faculty determines that a full-time load per term is 15 credit hours (e.g., Education and Applied Science), then the minimum salary for a 3-credit course is $1,155. Obviously, a Faculty that wants to save money on its teaching mandate by paying less to sessional faculty can decree that a full-time load is 15 (or more) credit hours per term, as then the minimum salary for a 3-credit course could be driven down considerably.
The current way of calculating the minimum pay for a 3-credit course cannot be justified by the University. Minimum scales don’t mean that everyone gets paid the same; they just establish a reasonable base-line upon which to build. Though we accept that there are market differences across disciplines, determining minimum scales based on an invented and fluctuating notion of full-time teaching loads is arbitrary at best. Our proposal on minimum scales emphasizes that a 3-credit course is a 3-credit course, no matter what Faculty it’s taught in. We’ve proposed that the standard scale should be the one currently governing the majority of sessionals: Faculties of Arts, Science, Medicine, and Health Sciences.
The University has considered our proposal, and so far they have not agreed to it.