On Feb. 25, 2019, hundreds of faculty showed up, live and in person, to speak out about the faculty salary crisis. You can watch the videotape of it on The Appalachian’s Facebook page.
The Chancellor’s email reply to the specific faculty who made comments or posed questions on Feb 25 said that the University uses CUPA salary data to compare faculty salaries to norms in their fields. We’ve compared faculty salaries to CUPA averages. CUPA data shows faculty, specifically, are not well compensated.
If you think faculty members are overpaid whiners, wait until you see the administrators’ salaries. Many of our administrators earn well above CUPA averages for their positions.
In addition, there are landscapers, camp services staff, ticket managers, recreation managers, recruiters, athletics trainers, advisors, counselors, and campus interior designers who have higher salaries than some of our full-time faculty members. And these staff members deserve every penny they get! This is not an issue of faculty v. staff, or a demand that staff lose their increases to support faculty increases. This is an opportunity to point out the university’s priorities in relation to faculty and the academic mission.
As you can see from the Chancellor’s remarks and her email on Feb 25, Chancellor Everts left faculty hanging on a promise of a new funding model (call it Plan A), with no Plan B. Even Plan A never stated how much of this promised financial windfall she will devote to fixing the faculty salary problem. An average of a 10.1% salary increase to faculty would put us at the 75th percentile of our peers, as the Senate Budget Committee’s report at the Feb 25 meeting showed. So, what specifically is the amount of money Chancellor Everts expects to get in Plan A, and how much of that amount is needed to increase faculty salaries by an average of 10.1%?
Next, if Plan A doesn’t come to pass (i.e., if our funding model remains the same), what is Plan B? Chancellor Everts did not offer a plan for reaching targeted faculty salaries. Maybe Plan B involves saying Appalachian involves freezing administrative salaries, even in years when we have money for raises, until faculty salaries are at their target. There has been no plan developed or shared. The Chancellor can tell us to email our Deans. But the faculty deserves a plan proposed by university leadership, with the leadership getting faculty input in any plans. The leadership should work to implement the plan, with specific salary targets, and provide regular updates on how close to their targets they’ve gotten.
Note: This blog post is on matters of concern to faculty and related to the AAUP’s mission, but it does not necessarily represent the perspective of all faculty members or all AAUP members.