University of Michigan graduate student instructors held a walkout last week (3/25/08) because of their pay. Currently the average salary of a grad assistant (this does not mean these instructors have a Master’s Degree) is $ 15,000 dollars for a 20-hour workweek (around $60.00 an hour) eight months of the year. The students gain a Master’s Degree at the end of their employment.
The Graduate Employees Union stated that current pay does not cover basis expenses spread out over a year and many students can’t get additional work because of visa restrictions (that means foreign students, remember Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the nation).
This must be one tough union because after a one day walkout the University President Mary Sue Coleman agreed to give the striking students an immediate 6.2% pay increase followed by 3.5% increase in the seconds and third years. They will also receive TOTAL health care premiums. Oh yes, they also continue to get free tuition (remember this is the University of Michigan).
This is a “Historic Deal” said a grad student who is the union’s lead negotiator.
I have a few questions for all you parents of NON-Graduate Assistants. Do you think this is fair? And, Did you know that Grad Students are teaching and grading your children while you think they are being taught by the great minds at the University of Michigan?
The professors are doing research which is fine, but for the amount of money in tuition I would want the best minds teaching my children, especially in the areas of business where application and experience is so needed to prepare our students for working careers. I don’t care that a student is a 4.0 student at taking tests and writing papers, I expect a “proven” instructor with both teaching credentials and experience.
So who will pay for these increases? The already strapped taxpayers of Michigan, the parents of the students being taught because their tuition will go up next year to pay for this foolish, selfish and arrogant agreement by the University of Michigan Officials.
I have written on this topic before, below are some examples:
My Nephew was complaining about his Math course not to long ago because he could not understand the instructor. You see he had a foreign instructor that made it very difficult to understand what was being written and stated in class. Efforts to get help from teaching assistants were useless because of the long lines and 2-3 hour wait usually on a weekend.
Read my posts at http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/03/quality-education-math-sucks.html
Lastly, from another post …
A friend’s daughter struggles with Math at Michigan State, when I asked what she thought the problem was, she replied my instructors have such an accent I can’t understand what they are saying. They usually have a grad student that will set up times to meet outside of class, but when I go the lines are a mile long. Why don't parents challenge the school, after all are they not losing money? Oh, it's probably the kid’s fault; it's easier to threaten them instead of challenging a great institution.qg says... Students must speak up in one voice for the good of all and get these teachers removed from instruction, move them to research, move them out the door; you deserve to be taught in the language of your country. If you can't get the school to move them, then stand up in class, be humble, be polite and ask the instructor to "repeat" what you need to know, repeat again until you are understood. Tape the instructor and take it to the Dean and demand a passing grade and your money back. By doing nothing means you approve, then you must explain to your parents why you are failing. Who are they going to believe??