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MU board approves faculty raises

Aug. 28, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- About 125 tenured or tenure-track faculty members at Marshall University will receive salary adjustments that are intended to create minimum salaries that officials hope will help in filling vacancies.

The plan, which received unanimous approval by the board of governors Tuesday morning, will take effect in November and be done in two phases.

One piece includes certain eligible faculty members who were awarded promotions effective this fall semester. Those going from assistant to associate professor will receive an an additional 10 percent or $6,300, whichever is greater. Those who were promoted from associate to full professor will receive 10 percent or $7,400, whichever is greater.

The other piece sets minimum salaries for professors, $59,700; associate professors, $52,300; and assistant professors, $46,000. Those faculty who are already at those ranks but make less than the stated amounts will receive increases to reach those levels.

The disbursement method was supported by the budget committee that included two faculty members. But it is only being viewed as the foundation to further changes.

"It's a starting place, a step in the right direction," said Dan Holbrook, the chairman of the History Department. "But there is a long way to go to addressing salaries."

Marshall President Stephen Kopp called it an important structural move that should help departments when negotiating salary with job candidates. Some faculty members and department heads have said they are often hiring the third or fourth person on their list because the top candidates are not willing to accept the salaries offered at Marshall.

Kopp said during the Finance, Audit and Facilities Planning Committee meeting that he expected to hear some objections during the main board meeting. One he said he's heard around campus is that the $320,000 allocated in the budget should just be evenly distributed to all 400 faculty members.

However, Kopp called that a Band-Aid approach and referred to the budget work group's recommendation to address starting salaries.

Marty Amerikaner, the faculty representative on the board, said his only concern was that this make salary "compression" an even bigger issue. He described salary compression as a person below the new new minimum salary marks getting higher pay, while a person making just slightly above the new minimums gets no increase.

Michael McGuffey, the director of Institutional Research and Planning, didn't deny that salary compression may occur. But he also said this needs to be viewed as a starting point, not an end point.

The actual cost for the salary changes will be an additional $354,000 to the base budget, although this fiscal year it is only expected to be $256,000 because it covers about three-quarters of the full year. The adjustments will be in effect for the Nov. 1 pay period.

A $250,000 salary enhancement allocation has been made for the classified staff, but the Classified Staff Council has not adopted a resolution on how it should be disbursed. The council is expected to approve a resolution by the end of the week. If it involves a policy change, the board of governors will have to meet by phone to vote on it. Otherwise, the administration will be able to make the distributions.

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