An illustration of a lecturer faculty instructing a class. (Illustration by Tatyana Ekmekjian / Golden Gate Xpress) (Tatyana Ekmekjian)
An illustration of a lecturer faculty instructing a class. (Illustration by Tatyana Ekmekjian / Golden Gate Xpress)

Tatyana Ekmekjian

‘The pay at SFSU is criminally low,’ SF State lecturer faculty reveal an urgent need for better working conditions

In a recent survey by the Equity for Lecturer Faculty Committee, lecturer faculty reported salaries below the poverty line and unpaid labor.

November 7, 2022

SF State’s lecturer faculty revealed an urgent need for better working conditions in a recent survey by the Equity for Lecturer Faculty Committee. 

With over 200 respondents, lecturer faculty said they are underpaid, burnt out due to working at multiple institutions and face job insecurity. 

Lecturers make up nearly 60% of SF State’s faculty, which means they are essential to student success across the university. 

When it comes to working with students, Drew Borland feels that his 30 years of teaching English and Creative Writing at SF State have been extremely rewarding. But his overall experience as a lecturer faculty has become increasingly stressful. 

“I’m not able to survive on the income that I’m paid by the state of California,” Borland said. “I literally wouldn’t be able to pay my medical bills and my rent and food and basic living expenses from my salary.”

Of 254 lecturer faculty, nearly 70% said they rely on income outside of the university, and over 200 respondents felt their salary was unfair. 

An illustration of lecturer faculty who consider their income unfair, or rely on outside resources to make ends meet. (Jack Davies / Golden Gate Xpress) (Jack Davies)

While lecturer faculty often pick up extra jobs, they also experience a large pay disparity between tenured and tenure-track faculty. 

According to the ELF’s survey, from 2003-2018, SF State’s tenured faculty pay kept up with inflation and tenure-track faculty pay increased by 8%, whereas lecturer faculty pay fell by 18% relative to inflation. As a result, the average disparity between lecturer faculty and tenure-track faculty grew from $3,144 to $25,162.

Lecturer faculty receive their salaries on a four-tier pay scale called ranges, which go from A to D. Once granted a range elevation, they receive a 5% pay increase. The average time for a pay range elevation for lecturer faculty at SF State is 13 1/2 years, but it is not automatic. 

According to the survey, tenure-track faculty are eligible for promotion after six years and receive a minimum 9% pay increase. 

After Borland started teaching at SF State in the ‘90s, he remained in the same pay range for years.

“We need to have a fair and effective system of pay increases as we gain seniority,” Borland said. 

Over 95% of SF State’s lecturer faculty called for progressive pay measures in the survey, which means those with lower salaries would get larger raises than those at the top. That way, the pay disparity would level out. 

Assistant Vice President of Faculty Affairs Carleen Mandolfo said SF State is aware that CSU salaries lag behind the cost of living in the Bay Area, so the university has contracted with an outside firm to do a faculty salary study.

The CSU and members of our campus are, as always, lobbying the state for funding that would enable us to provide much-needed support to our faculty,” Mondolfo said in a statement. 

According to ELF’s survey, SF State’s lecturer faculty said they were paid better at other community colleges or that they live below the poverty line.

Other respondents called SF State’s pay “criminally low” and reported a large amount of unpaid labor to ensure the health of the department and student success. 

“The CSU needs to recognize the damage that has been done then work positively with the CFA [California Faculty Association] to address the issue of lecturer faculty who have been left behind,” Borland said. 

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About the Contributors
Photo of Lisa Moreno
Lisa Moreno, Editor-in-Chief
Lisa Moreno (she/her) is the editor-in-chief of Golden Gate Xpress and was formerly the campus editor. She was born in the East Bay and has a passion for covering grassroots movements and homelessness. Previously, Lisa served as a city intern for The San Francisco Standard, where she reported on public health, housing and education. In her free time, Lisa enjoys writing poetry and traversing San Francisco parks with her dog Play-Doh.
Photo of Tatyana Ekmekjian
Tatyana Ekmekjian, Staff Photographer
Tatyana Ekmekjian (she/her) is graduating this spring with a major in photojournalism and a minor in hospitality and tourism management at SF State. Tatyana has a great passion for the culture, industry and preparation of food. She hopes to express her passion for food through the medium of photography to further her success in the food and lifestyle industry.
Photo of Jack Davies
Jack Davies, Sports Editor
Jack Davies (he/him) is a journalism major in his final year of school. He is minoring in international business. He loves to watch sports and write about them, but also has an interest in potentially traveling the world as a salesman. He grew up in Napa Valley, California, and moved to the East Coast when he was 11 years old. He started his college career at Santa Barbara City College, where he wrote for The Channels publication as a sports writer. In his free time, he likes to play sports, explore the Bay Area, hang out with friends, listen to music, play video games and watch TV. After graduating, he wants to write for a sports publication and travel the world.

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