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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Faculty base pay stagnates during past 4 years

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hstang@unm.edu

UNM faculty, on average, made about 9 percent less than their colleagues at peer institutions in 2011.

In 2011, average salaries of UNM faculty decreased by about $5,300, according to the UNM Office of Institutional Research.

Faculty Senate President Timothy Ross said the salary base remained the same the past four years due to budget cuts. Between 2008 and 2010, nearly $32 million was cut from state appropriations for main campus, leaving less money to hire new faculty and give raises.

“An assistant professor who has been here for four years makes the same pay as they did four years ago,” he said.

Elaine Avila, an associate professor in the theater and dance department, said she works more than 40 hours a week.

“My workload is very high,” she said. “I have six independent studies, one class of 50 students, one graduate class and run the largest new play festival in the west,” Avila said.

Associate professors made an average of $74,651 this year; Avila only made $57,680, according to the UNM salary book. Ross, who is a full professor, made $102,374 compared to the average of $102,563.

But the board of Regents preliminarily approved $3.79 million in one-time funding in March to be used for faculty and staff pay increases, an average of a 1.75 percent increase in salaries. But Tim Ross said faculty will once again go without an official raise next year.

The board also preliminarily approved a $252 million budget and a tuition increase of 3.75 percent for the 2012-2013 school year, a portion of which will go toward hiring 20 new faculty members as part of the provost’s academic plan for next year.

The five-year plan would cost $4.3 million and includes language to hire 20 new faculty members, additional advisers, create a degree-granting honors college at UNM and increased pay for faculty. UNM employed 834 tenured and tenure-track professors and 309 non-tenure track on main campus in 2010, the most recent information year.

The regents will finalize the budget April 27.

Faculty salaries decreased on average by 6 percent between 2008 and 2011, according to the UNM Fact Book and the Office of Instituational Research.

Ross said the decrease is unacceptable.

“It is really bad for morale, to see someone young come in the door, with no experience, making more than you,” he said.

UNM has also seen a decrease in new hires over the past four years. Ross said this is due to the lack of incentive for older faculty to retire. UNM hired 30 fewer tenured and tenure-track faculty members in 2010 than in 2007.

Ross said retirement benefits are based on years served and an average of the final five years of pay.

“The last four years have been the same … so people are more reluctant to retire in that situation,” Ross said.

Ross said this trend damages the quality of an education at UNM.
“We need a natural evolution,” he said. “When faculty get older, they retire, and leave positions for young faulty to come in, which rejuvenates the research arm of the campus because they have new ideas and lots of energy,” he said.