Monday, November 29, 2004

Let's pay university lecturers by the hour

Next term I'll be doing some extra work and will be getting some extra money. I'll be working three hours once a week in the evenings, and one extra hour during the day every week. Do I need the money? Guess I don't NEED it but I do WANT it.

Being one who's never had a job which pays on the basis of hours actually worked, having just agreed to do this next term brings a whole new dimension to how I think about work and money. Being paid a salary, you can piss your day away doing flip all as long as you look like you are working. But when you are paid by the hour, you actually have to work every minute of it. And that would be time you can't spent pissing about procrastinating emailing your friends checking out "cool" websites full of information you'll never need.

This brings me to this insight I want to share with you. During term time, university lecturers should be paid by actual number of hours worked. And let's not be hypocritical. Let's also pay them money for each piece of publication they churn out. Forget about the whole RGC assessment on university's research "performance". If you start paying people hard cash, they will churn out performance you want to see. The pay they get for actual hours of teaching should be adequate to cover their basic necessities such as lunch boxes and the odd pieces of fruit. They should all live in university accommodation. Provide them with basic medical insurance (top ups are optional). They could take out low interest loans from the university to fund their conference trips and can be written off if they churn out quality publication based on their conference papers. During the summer holidays and other breaks they will be paid a retainer fee - these are times when they are supposed to be working on publications, which is where the real money lies. This way, lecturers can make a choice. They can choose to work like dogs and do lots of teaching to cover their expenses, or they could teach minimum hours and spend all their time doing research with the hope that they will publish enough to cover their expenses. Or you can be like me, do a bit of both... or alternate they by year. And so on.

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