Unvoidable truths of the RVC salary situation

RVC Faculty Association

Numbers are used to make or break arguments. Standing alone, in essays or charts, in bold or fine print, numbers say something, have power, can win or lose an argument, a battle, a war. What happens if numbers are used incorrectly, falsely, and have the effect of swaying the court of public opinion? This is when numbers stop being facts and become ammunition.

RVC_base_salariesThere are key discrepancies regarding the facts between the negotiating parties, the Rock Valley College Faculty Association and the RVC College Board of Trustees.  

The mean faculty base salary at RVC is $66,000, but the median (a more meaningful number because it is the middle value in a list of numbers) is around $63,000. In addition, when factoring in the College’s proposal that would increase the percentage paid for health benefits, many faculty members’ take-home pay would be further reduced, resulting in, for many, another significant pay cut.

The RVC Board of Trustees boldly, publicly, and falsely reported the following base salary on the college’s main webpage: “Base salaries on a 9 month work schedule range up to over $106,000 annually and average around $66,000 annually” (posted August 25). In fact, there is no such faculty member earning a 106,000 base salary annually.

The bar graph to the right shows actual Faculty Base Salaries, the highest of which is nowhere near that excessive figure. The information below is up-to-date and has been fact checked. Note the frequency of salaries in the $50,000 range.

To put this into perspective, many of the students we proudly teach graduate with an associate’s degree in their careers and start out making MORE than the professors who taught them. As faculty members, it is our responsibility to make Rockford area students highly educated and qualified to enter a four-year institution or to begin work in their chosen career fields. We are proud to do this important work. Note that all Rock Valley College faculty members require at least a Master’s degree, and many have Doctorates.

The chart provided puts into perspective RVC professors’ salaries in comparison to Rockford area professionals. Note that RVC professors are at the very bottom of this professional salary scale.

Numbers are useful evidence for making and breaking arguments, indeed. When numbers are used to make false claims and consequently affect public opinion and personal lives, the truth is warranted. The truth is necessary. It’s no secret that statistics are a tricky commodity and can be used in various ways to make an argument. However, it’s also no secret that in today’s age of information, truth can and will be sought.

We all see issues differently, but the numbers shared by the RVC  Board only tell part of the story.  Here, we’ve told you the truth of the story. Think about your family.  How would you react to going backward in pay?  How have you reacted in the past?  You probably stood up for yourself and your family. This is one of those moments for the RVC faculty.  We live and work here, too, and we simply want a fair deal.

O*NET OnLine is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, and developed by the National Center for O*NET Development.  Rockford (Metropolitan and Non-metropolitan) Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates – most recent data – May 2014. “These estimates are calculated with data collected from employers in all industry sectors in Rockford, IL, a metropolitan statistical area in Illinois.” Taken from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics under the United States Department of Labor: bls.gov/oes/current/oes_40420.htm#13-0000.

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