MU expects to make budget cuts to increase faculty pay

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 | 8:05 p.m. CDT; updated 10:01 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

COLUMBIA — MU will seek to make cuts in parts of its budget to increase faculty salaries next year, officials said at the university's general faculty meeting Tuesday.

Assuming that the amount of state funding will be the same as last year, the budget will have a deficit of about $2 million before examining faculty raises or benefits, MU Budget Director Rhonda Gibler said.

Making salaries more competitive with other public members of the Association of American Universities is a priority, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said.

Tough choices will have to be made to increase funding for faculty salaries, Gibler said.

"We're not going to solve this (problem) simply by making one big cut in one area," she said.

To gain additional general revenue, MU plans to launch a second major private fundraising campaign, Deaton said. A goal has not been set, but more than $250 million has already been raised, he said. The first campaign, which concluded in 2008, raised more than $1 billion.

Tuition will increase by 1.7 percent next year, which is the rate of inflation, Deaton said.

Campus update

MU's enrollment is expected to increase by about 400 students, Deaton said. The number of out-of-state and international students is also expected to increase.

Deaton also discussed the MU Faculty Council committee appointed to examine how MU can improve its Association of American Universities standing in four areas evaluated annually. A new faculty hiring strategy will focus on hiring and retaining the best faculty in the country and making salaries more competitive. MU plans to hire 100 tenured and tenure-track faculty and 100 non-tenure-track research faculty in the next five years, with grants funding most of their salaries.

At the University of Missouri System Board of Curators meeting this week, he plans to highlight several trends in terms of strategic planning, including:

  • Decreased state funding.
  • Decreased availability for federal research funds as a result of sequestration.
  • An emphasis on interdisciplinary research, which he said is part of the foundation of the strategic plan.
  • A shifting student demographic. Deaton cited the decrease in the number of Missouri high school graduates.
  • An increase in online and hybrid course enrollment.

Deaton also said he planned to emphasize Friday the importance of MU's international connections, such as the partnership with the University of the Western Cape in South Africa and, as of January, with Ghent University in Belgium. He also discussed the impact of international students. For example, they contribute an estimated $52.4 million to Columbia's economy, according to the Association of International Educators.

Faculty Council update

Faculty Council Chairman Harry Tyrer talked about the council's accomplishments, including:

After the vote is approved, the council will look to redistribute council representation because non-tenure-track faculty members will become eligible to serve and vote, and create a subcommittee to deal with tenure issues.

The council is also discussing the issue of shared governance, or the balance between faculty and staff participation in decision-making and administrative accountability. Tyrer said he thinks there needs to be a cultural shift at MU to improve shared governance. As part of this, the council is discussing a resolution to create a pilot committee to advise the chancellor about the budget and resource allocation.

The council has also been working on a diversity initiative. MU's schools and colleges have been asked to write a statement about how their curriculums enhance diversity, said Clyde Bentley, an associate professor of journalism. Statements will be posted on the council's website about April 15. A national survey will also be given to freshmen and seniors to measure progress in terms of diversity.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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Ellis Smith April 10, 2013 | 5:45 a.m.


This is yet a further indication that the so-called "University of Missouri System" is a pathetic joke.

If a system actually existed, the matter of low faculty salaries would be addressed on a system-wide basis.

Sorry, how could we possibly forget? Faculty members at UMKC, UMSL and MS&T are already fabulously paid. :)

May our three campuses now - either individually or collectively - file for divorce?

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 10, 2013 | 7:47 a.m.


There is nothing stopping the other three campus from giving their faculty and staff raises. Each campus gets its won budget. I don't see how this is MU's fault or the fault of the Curators. In fact, when it comes to state appropriations, the other three campus's all get a much larger chunk of their funds than MU does (UMKC-23.3%, S&T-25.8%, UMSL-27.5% to MU’s 15.0%). In other terms, S&T received $5,761.63 per student from the state in FY12 while MU only received $4,769.34. Their tuition/board cost are nearly identical and gifts/endowments are campus specific.

The fact is, however unfortunate, S&T (and UMSL) made poor investment decisions for a long time that squandered significant funds without thinking of future revenue streams or budgetary constraints. MU invested in capital infrastructure, programs, and research that will bring in revenue (MU gets 37% of its operating budget through sales and services while S&T only gets 10%).

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 10, 2013 | 8:52 a.m.

@ Jack Hamm:

Again, if this were truly a system, salaries and a number of other considerations would be handled on a system-wide basis. The "system" itself is a sham.

It is possible to dress a pig up in a Paris gown - custom-made to fit the pig - and drench the pig in diamonds and pearls, but even with all that it is still A PIG!

(Report Comment)

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