Harreld pushes faculty pay


Cindy Garcia, [email protected]

There are mixed feelings on campus about President Bruce Harreld’s “faculty vitality” plan.

The University of Iowa president has put forth a legislative request to state lawmakers that pledges $4.5 million to retain and increase faculty.

The legislative request outlines it would focus on retention by increasing the salaries of tenure-track faculty who are nationally competitive, but whose compensation falls behind their peers.

Harreld has increasingly emphasized information from U.S. News and World Report where the UI’s rankings in faculty compensation and overall rank have slipped.

In 2004, the UI’s overall rank was 57th. In 2016, it was 82nd. For faculty compensation, the UI ranked 77th in 2004. In 2016, it ranked 103rd.

“I believe there’s a correlation, and it’s something we need to address as soon as possible,” Harreld said.

He said faculty members in key positions told him the UI was being “cherry-picked” by other institutions and he asked deans to collect data on faculty pay while comparing it with peer group institutions.

“They are color coding the data for me, and green means our salaries are in the top third of our peers, yellow means we’re in the middle, and red means we’re below our peers,” he said. “I’m seeing too much red. So in those targeted areas is where we will focus our efforts.”

Another portion of the legislative request outlines how the faculty-vitality plan would focus growth in areas of existing strengths, “with an emphasis on the multidisciplinary cluster hiring initiative that focuses on many of the ‘grand challenges’ of the 21st century.’”

After an outcry of anger following his appointment, some believe Harreld is making the right strides to properly engage with faculty and staff.

Christina Bohannan, the UI Faculty Senate president, said Harreld has indicated he embraces shared governance, while seeking advice from the Faculty Senate and other faculty.

Building trust will take time, and the Senate will continue to be vigilant regarding core academic values, but we are encouraged by these early indications of President Harreld’s priorities,” Bohannan said.

Bohannan said faculty compensation is just one part of the Faculty Senate’s concerns, which include teaching, research, and service to Iowa, in order to retain the high-achieving faculty.

UI biology Associate Professor John Logsdon, a said what the university needed is more tenure-track faculty

“One truly greater need is to recruit more tenure track faculty and not only via the cluster initiatives,” he said. “For example, in my own department — biology — we have not hired a new professor in three years despite the retirement of four in that same interval.”

Brad Pector, a UI student involved with Iowans Defending Our Universities, got a different message from meetings with faculty.

“Essentially what I got from it was, quote on quote, ‘We will not be bribed,’ ” he said.

Pector said he would rather see support for other issues, such as mental health service shortages and further liberal arts classes.

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