In 2006, I accepted an assistant professor position at Frostburg State University. At the time, I had a well-paying job, especially for a recent Ph.D. graduate, working as a visiting assistant professor at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis.
Although FSU could not offer as high of a salary as the private school was paying, the university offered a tenure-track position. After a seven-year probation period, I would be able to secure tenure and not have to worry about future job security. And the position was a perfect fit given my area of expertise.
I love working with students, and I poured myself into the job. Then the recession hit. For four years we received no COLA and no merit raises. We also confronted two years that required "furloughs," which are more aptly described as salary reductions.
A few of my colleagues responded by "checking out." Some refused to serve on committees, stopped presenting at conferences and let students how they felt. However, the majority of us continued to dedicate ourselves to our students and work to the best of our abilities as active scholars.
We finally received banked merit last year. Essentially, I, along with others who had received merit award letters over the "frozen" years, split a pool of money. Our pay was much reduced from the original amounts, but it was something. We also received a COLA.
Then 2015 arrived, and we heard that the state had plans to take back the COLA. I am finishing my eighth year at FSU. During that time I have taught at least four classes every semester except for the semester I went on sabbatical. At this point, all I am asking is to retain my 2 percent COLA for this year. Please.