Top 10 NWTC overages
Last, First, MI Title Department Yrs exp. Overage Base pay
Seline, Deborah J Instructor Communication Skills 13 $120,686.99 $85,024.94
Thiel, Richard L Instructor, Accounting 13 $89,783.97 $84,065.02
Peterson, Georgia F Instructor, Surgical Technologist 29 $87,195.87 $73,991.06
McDonald, Cynthia J Instructor, Surgical Technologist 18 $80,440.65 $84,065.00
Gemignani, Michael J Instructor Business Technology 17 $76,982.61 $89,008.92
Vangoethem, Aimee L Instructor, Nursing Assistant 26 $70,874.91 $84,705.00
Perrault, Todd J Instructor, Leadership Development 13 $69,042.65 $84,065.00
Lintz, Gerald T Instructor Hospitality/Tourism 10 $66,109.51 $73,350.94
Moore, Patricia M Instructor, Clinical Lab Technician 22 $66,050.65 $84,065.02
Juza, Lori F Instructor Associate Degree Nursing 10 $65,115.99 $84,065.00
— Gannett Wisconsin Media
The president at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College acknowledges a concern about a system that enabled an instructor to work the equivalent of two full-time jobs at the school, but insists that taxpayers benefited and students’ education didn’t suffer.
NWTC President H. Jeffrey Rafn says that the Green Bay technical college would have had to hire 75 to 100 additional instructors at an added cost of $5 million or more had it not been able to use “overages” — which enable colleges to pay extra money to teachers who take on extra course loads. Overages paid to NWTC instructors averaged a little more than $25,000 in 2011-12, most of any of Wisconsin’s technical colleges.
“By doing it the way we’re doing it, it gives our students the best quality instructors, and at the same time it saves the college and the taxpayer overall,” said Rafn, who stressed that NWTC continues to be ranked in the top 10 percent of American community colleges. He said the school maintains a 16.75-to-1 ratio of faculty to full-time students, similar the 15:1 ratio throughout the state’s technical college system.
The use of overages, also known as overloads or adjunct pay, have generated debate in recent years as some two- and four-year colleges have employed them to stretch budget dollars.
In Madison, according to the website InsideHigherEducation.com, the overage issue helped drive a wedge between a group representing full-time instructors — who wanted the chance for more overage assignments — and a group representing part-timers, who felt that jobs would be lost. In Iowa, the Legislature ordered that state’s education department in 2010 to find a way to cap the number of course hours that individual community college instructors are allowed to teach.
Changes in Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law in recent years have given colleges more control over how overage hours are allocated to instructors, Rafn said. Previously, the most senior teachers basically could scoop up all the overage hours they could handle. Now, NWTC’s deans make the decisions about how the hours are allocated. Rafn welcomes the added control.
Colleges can benefit from having instructors teach extra classes. The schools have to provide benefits to fewer teachers, and are employing faculty members who are known quantities. The instructors, meanwhile, have the chance to earn extra money.
But critics say heavy overages can strain teachers while keeping other qualified instructors from getting jobs.
Most important, they say, is that heavy use of overages can have a negative impact on the school.
“If we’re limiting our opportunities to bring people on because we’re doing so much with overloads, we think we just limit our opportunities for a new voice, another set of eyes, someone who can help us move the college forward,” said Mike Pieper, vice president of finance and operations at Western Technical College in La Crosse.
At NWTC, more than 200 instructors received overage pay in 2011-12, with 10 able to push their total pay above that of two college vice presidents and five deans. But the instructor who earned the most overage pay, Deb Seline of Shawano, said the extra work didn’t affect the quality of her teaching, though she said instruction, grading and communicating with students by email kept her busy 10 to 15 hours a day, seven days a week.
Seline, who teaches English composition and other courses online, was able to increase her $85,025 annual pay to almost $206,000. .
“Just focusing on the computer and staying on the computer, yes I could” do a good job, she said. “I do give a good detailed feedback, it’s not just a grade on the end of the paper — I’m marking up the whole paper.”
Led by Seline, 10 NWTC instructors each received more than $65,000 in overages.
Rafn, the school president, acknowledged that the situation under the previous collective bargaining law wasn’t ideal, but said he is confident that it is getting better.
“I’ve had some teachers that have done outstanding working that load, and I have a few that weren’t,” he said. “The great thing about it now is that I’m able to say to them, ‘No, you can’t do that work,’ whereas I wasn’t able to do that before the changes in the collective bargaining law.”
— Gannett Wisconsin Media