Education First

By holding classes last week without a signed contract for the 2010-11 school year, FSU faculty members proved that teaching is not about the money.

The Ferris Faculty Association (FFA) and the Employer Negotiations Team (ENT), representing the FSU Administration, have yet to agree to terms of contract after more than 13 months of negotiating. The administration presented an offer with salary increases of 2, 2.25, and 2.5 percent over the next three years, but the FFA turned it down.

Multiple faculty members picketed outside of the Faculty Crisis Center on Aug. 25 and it looked as if classes may not be held the next week without a new contract. The Aug. 29 deadline came and went with no deal, but professors were still in class on Monday morning ready to teach.

By teaching instead of striking, they basically lost any leverage they had against the administration. The FFA could choose to strike later in the semester, but since they taught the entire first week it does not look like that is what they want. It will now be difficult to get the contract terms they are looking for without leverage.

I admire the professors’ willingness to instruct, even though the contract has not been signed. It’s not like they are teaching for nothing, because they are still getting paid based on the previous contract terms. By teaching last week, the faculty members proved that they care about the students of Ferris State and that money is not the only reason they teach.

As a student, it is reassuring to know that faculty members are not “out to get” students as some think. When a bad grade shows up on the transcript, students tend to blame it on the professor instead of their own effort, or lack thereof. For the most part, I think professors genuinely care about their students’ education. Instructors need pupils just as much as pupils need instructors. If there were no students, there would be no need for teachers.

Professors simply want to teach. If they did not enjoy it, they probably would not have chosen it as their profession. n