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Advocating for Raises Brings Success!

July 23, 2013

Michael Bugeja, director,
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication,
Iowa State University of Science and Technology

Chairs and directors advocate for their faculties. Deans advocate for chairs and directors. When both are in sync, amazing things can happen.

Last month I advocated for faculty raises because my professors haven’t seen significant ones since 2008. My supervisors understood the situation and agreed to help increase salaries for meritorious professors in the Humanities, in which the Greenlee School was included.

You can read about that by clicking here.

There is not much a chair, director or dean can do during budgetary crises, such as many colleges and universities experienced in recent years. Nonetheless, it is an administrative issue. People complain. Other schools recruit your award-winners, typically associate professors who were promoted during the Recession and who have received micro raises or none at all in some years. New hires end up earning more than fifth- and sixth-year assistant professors coming up for mandatory tenure and promotion. This is what causes salary compression, and that affects equity and diversity initiatives.

At the Greenlee School we tried to ease the monetary pain of little or no raises by awarding our faculty $3,000 research accounts from funds generated by the School’s endowments. But that only goes so far. Mortgages have to be paid, especially when families of newer professors expand with childbirths and adoptions. Associate professors often have college-age children who need help covering tuition. And some senior professors may have to care for aging or ill parents, so the shortfall is felt by all ranks.

We made our case to the College, and our dean allocated extra funds to the School to help ease salary inequities.

Unbeknownst to us at the time, she also was working with the Provost to raise salaries in the Humanities. As a result, some of our professors will be getting significant raises with some over 10 percent.

To identify meritorious professors, we submitted annual review scores to the College and detailed the accomplishments of each faculty member. Almost all we recommended received the extra raises.

This week those raises were finalized.

I had the joy of celebrating with eight of our professors and the task of explaining to those who did not get the raise that we did our best to increase salaries according to policy. I will urge these professors to continue performing at higher levels so that I can make a strong case for them in the future.

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