BOONE — Details of tuition-funded faculty salary increases were announced recently at Appalachian State University, with average pay to rise between 1.66 percent and 2.56 percent, depending on the college.
ASU received approval last spring for 5 percent tuition hikes in 2015-16 and in 2016-17 — which is the maximum allowed by the UNC system Board of Governors.
ASU leaders said that a significant amount of the new tuition revenue would be used for faculty salary increases, new faculty positions, faculty development and scholarly activities. But as the 2015 state legislative session extended well into the 2015-16 fiscal year, ASU leaders waited for the state budget to be finalized before implementing the raises.
Faculty Senate chairman Paul Gates shared information on the distribution of salary increases at the Nov. 9 Faculty Senate meeting.
Each college at ASU will receive a pool of money for faculty salary increases, calculated by an average of 2.2 percent and the average amounts needed to reach the 70th percentile for assistant and associate professor salaries and 50th percentile for full professor salaries.
Those calculations worked out to an average 2.56 percent raise for College of Arts and Sciences faculty, 2.13 percent for the Walker College of Business, 1.95 percent for the College of Education, 2.12 percent for Fine and Applied Arts, 1.66 percent for Health Sciences and 2.03 percent for the Hayes School of Music.
Retirees are to receive a 2.2 percent increase.
In addition, academic leadership directed that raises be awarded by each college based on merit. The raises will be retroactive to July 1, the beginning of the contract year. First-year faculty are not eligible for the pay increases.
Asked if he felt the distribution of salary increases was fair, Gates said, "I guess with budget cuts, this is the best that they feel they can do."
"This is not state money. This is coming from tuition increases," he said. "That’s a whole different problem — depending on the students to pay salaries at a state university."
The General Assembly did not approve across-the-board state salary increases this year, electing instead to give most state employees, including UNC system faculty, a one-time $750 bonus.
Gates also said the focus on assistant and associate professor increases could worsen issues of compression for full professors. (Compression occurs when employees have similar salaries despite having different qualifications and/or experience levels.)
"We certainly appreciate the chancellor (Sheri Everts) looking out for us to the extent that she can," he said. "I just wish the General Assembly had the same view of the faculty as the chancellor does."
Faculty prep statement on Spellings
The Faculty Senate also considered a proposed resolution prepared by history professor Michael Behrent condemning the recent UNC system presidential search process that resulted in the selection of Margaret Spellings, the former U.S. secretary of education under the Bush administration.
The draft resolution also called on the Board of Governors to require Spellings to affirm her commitment to UNC campus mission statements and to explain her past actions related to the review of the for-profit education sector.
However, the Faculty Senate voted to defer action on the resolution and instead refer it to a senate committee for further development. Spellings is slated to take office in March of next year.
In other action, the Faculty Senate voted to pass a resolution in support of full college status for ASU's Honors College program.