University staff members to receive merit-based raises

The University will be awarding some members of its faculty and staff merit-based raises starting in the fall.

The board of trustees approved a 2.5 percent increase, though the University is dealing with budget issues. The raise will cost nearly $30 million as they tap into internal budget reallocations over the last two years and income from tuition.

Randall Kangas, associate vice president for planning and budgeting, said he thinks the raise was more than necessary.

“It’s a very modest increase and we know there’s a lot of hurt and trouble out there in the world,” Kangas said referring to economic troubles. “But we have to be competitive in the marketplace for top faculty. We have to.”

As the market price continues to rise for top faculty, Kangas also acknowledged the University is just “doing what we can compared to the market.” Even with this increase, the University isn’t keeping on a steady pace with market inflation.

In 2009, the University awarded 1.5 percent increases followed by two years of no increases in 2010 and 2011. Last year, the University gave faculty and staff a 3 percent average raise.

The University has seen its state funding drop by nearly 6 percent, so it’s been difficult to compete with salary offers that other Universities can offer administrators. It is unclear how many staff members or the rate at which staff members have left the University for better salaries.

Not every employee will receive a raise, and it will be up to the heads of departments to decide how the raises are split up. Some staff members may get a 3 percent raise, and some may get a 2 percent raise, but the raise from person to person will vary since there are no restrictions. All contractual raises will be unaffected by the new salary program.

“This is a world class institution, that’s one of the tops in the world,” Kangas said. “President Easter says that this is a stretch, but it was necessary to do, and that’s kind of where we are.”