BOONE — Almost a year after Appalachian State University faculty were notified that there would be no merit-based raises for faculty, university administrators announced that this will change for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Faculty were notified of a decision to not award merit-based raises for the 2018-19 fiscal year on Sept. 26, 2018. Since that time, members of the university Faculty Senate have passed resolutions demanding answers for the decision, met with members of administration and hosted a campus-wide faculty meeting to discuss the issue. The Faculty Senate ad-hoc committee on faculty salaries was created and has since been meeting for several months.
Faculty Senate met again on Sept. 9 for the first meeting of the 2019-20 academic year. It was during this meeting that Chancellor Sheri Everts announced that after readjusting the budget, there should be funding for merit-based raises for faculty ranging up to 4.99 percent.
Everts explained that of the university’s funding sources — tuition increases, state funding allocations and enrollment growth revenue — only one was within the university’s control. Revenue from increased enrollment has a direct and immediate impact on the university’s budget, she said, and leads to increased resources for classrooms, salaries for current staff and additional personnel as well as innovative and creative research and teaching endeavors.
“Reaching our goal of 20,000 students will not only bring tuition revenue we need, it will also bolster our position in Chapel Hill and in Raleigh,” Everts said.
Everts said she tasked Provost Darrell Kruger and Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Paul Forte with a thorough review of the budget over the summer. The two worked with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs J.J. Brown to identify state funds to put toward Academic Affairs. This is where the administration found the funds to provide the raises.
“Once the budget process is complete at the state level, we will move forward with faculty merit increases as allowed,” Everts said.
Everts reiterated a point that she has mentioned to senators over the past year by saying she understands that there were no faculty salary increases for four years before her arrival. But five out of the past six years, she said, she has worked with vice chancellors to identify funds for raises.
“I recognize we have some catching up to do,” Everts said. “While reallocation is not a continuing option, we have worked to put state funds back into the line items that they belong.”
Kruger said he and Forte plan to meet with senators and members of the ad-hoc salary committee at the beginning of each semester to provide updates. He added that the two would meet more frequently with the senate budget committee and ad-hoc salary committee as needed.
Senate Chair Michael Behrent stated at the meeting that appropriately paid faculty is key to the mission of the institution. He commented that he was grateful for the work of administrators for awarding raises for the year, and other senators clapped in approval.