Study reveals faculty wellness plans, benefits decreasing
- The number of colleges and universities offering wellness incentives for faculty and staff has decreased by 13% since last year, a reduction attributed to disinterest and rising costs. Only 33% of institutions now offer benefits to part-time faculty, a 4% decrease over the same period.
- The reductions mirror increasing costs paid by states for pension and healthcare benefits, which have dramatically reduced the amount of state appropriations going to public institutions since 2008.
- Adjunct faculty are mobilizing to advocate for increased benefits, a prospect which could make financial outlook for institutions even tighter.
Wellness programs were a novel concept in the early stages of adjusting to higher healthcare costs, but now that more personnel are retiring and adjunct pay no longer makes a dent in the ability for part-time professors to make a living wage, institutional executives must determine how to stabilize the biggest percentage of their teaching workforce, while countering economic realities; not only in offering benefits, but ensuring the proper management of the funds as institutional assets.
Institutional leaders must seek out increased opportunities for endowed professorships, and corporate branded degree programs and academic units to increase private funding for full-time faculty, which could partially help, with other initiatives, to increase available resources for adjuncts and reduce the total cost of education for students.
- Inside Higher Ed Wellness programs, adjunct health care on the decline