MU considers fee-for-service policy

Some are concerned about professors’ profitable projects.
Friday, February 11, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:26 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

As groups of MU professors begin entrepreneurial activities on campus, faculty and administration have struggled with how to distribute the revenues from such activities. A model outlining the distribution of revenues generated from fee-for-service activity was presented to the Faculty Council on Thursday. Under the proposed model, revenues from fee-for-service activities would be split between the faculty members involved in those projects and the university.

  • If a professor is performing fee-for-service work and is earning less than someone else doing similar work, the professor would receive 80 percent of the revenue, and MU would receive 20 percent.
  • If the professor is earning the same as someone else doing similar work, the professor would receive 50 percent of the revenue, and MU 50 percent.
  • If the professor is earning more than someone else doing similar work, the professor would receive 20 percent of the revenue, and MU 80 percent.
  • Because professors are already doing fee-for-service work, MU needs a policy to oversee it, interim Provost Lori Franz said.

    “We had an enterprise, and we needed a better way to deal with it,” she said.

    But council member Eddie Adelstein, associate professor of pathology, compared the program to Pandora’s Box, suggesting it would form a corporate model for the university. Adelstein worried that faculty would attempt to find ways to turn their research and skills into fees for service, taking away from their responsibilities as faculty members.

    The fee-for-service program currently generating the most controversy on campus stems from the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Research Animal Diagnostic Laboratory. It charges fees for testing laboratory animals for diseases before they are used in research.

    Adelstein said that only some people in the department benefit from this program.

    “This has torn the guts out of the vet school,” he said. “It may never recover. It is inherently unfair and favors the few.”

    The council has asked for feedback to be given to its fiscal affairs committee.

    In other business, Cathy Scroggs, vice chancellor of student affairs, spoke to the council about the new recreation center. The faculty raised concerns such as parking, availability of the pool to the disabled, pool and non-pool memberships, family rates and whether the faculty fee for joining would be subsidizing programs specifically for students.

    The council unanimously passed two documents during the meeting: a resolution on non-regular faculty and revisions to the faculty grievance policy, which will be posted on the council’s Web page so faculty members can review it and give feedback.

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