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Mason: UI must keep up in faculty pay

BY ALISON SULLIVAN | APRIL 14, 2011 7:20 AM

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The University of Iowa will have to work harder to remain competitive in hiring and attracting top employees, UI President Sally Mason said on Wednesday.

Though all three of Iowa’s regents schools saw increases in their faculty’s average salary from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2011, other Big Ten public institutions have seen greater increases, according to a recent report released from the American Association of University Professors.

The UI has seen a marginal increase in the average reported faculty salaries from $94,100 in fiscal 2010 to $95,000 this year, according to the report.

The relatively low increase is concerning, some faculty and higher education officials said.

“It doesn’t help us,” Mason told The Daily Iowan after a Staff Council meeting Wednesday. “That’s not something we need to have happen.”

The UI saw roughly a 1 percent increase in average faculty pay compared with the national average of 1.4 percent.

“What we need to do is reverse the trend,” said UI Faculty Senate President Ed Dove, who said he’s disappointed to see the UI “moving toward the bottom of the Big Ten.”

Over the years, he said, he’s seen numerous faculty leave the university to seek better opportunities.

“I think it’s up to the Board of Regents to make a strong case before the state Legislature of the effect of continuous reducing support for higher education,” he said.

Regent Robert Downer said the UI’s previous “aspiration” was to be ranked third in faculty salary in the Big Ten.

“As you can see, we’ve slipped considerably,” he said.

Last year, the University of Iowa ranked sixth in the Big Ten in faculty pay. This year, it is seventh.

Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville said there are things to be considered when looking at the budget.

“It’s a matter of consistency and balance,” he said. “We have to be consistent when being competitive with other schools … [but] we have to balance what we can afford to pay people.”

Faculty pay at the University of Northern Iowa increased from $67,800 last year to $69,100 this year. The number rose from $84,800 to $88,300 at Iowa State University, according to the report.

“We’ve had less success than I would have hoped,” Downer said. “The people of Iowa need to be convinced to, perhaps, a greater extent than they have recently of the importance of a robust university system in terms of the economic future of the state.”

Though some officials are concerned, other said there are more variables to the process.

Professor Bernd Fritzsch, the head of the Biology Department, said things such as housing prices, economic factors, and research tools go into faculty salaries.

“I’m optimistic, in the next few years, we’ll see a slight increase over where we are right now,” Fritzsch said.


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