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USU Asks Faculty To Justify Pay Increase

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The provost said higher education administrators failed this past session to convince lawmakers that higher education faculty and staff should receive the same three percent pay increase as public school instructors.

Speaking Monday to faculty and staff in the university’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Utah State University President Stan Albrecht and Provost Noelle Cockett encouraged college and department faculty to promote and market themselves and their product as professors to students, the public and lawmakers now in preparation for next year’s legislative session.

“It is for showing people excellence, the value that we’re giving the state, our students, the successes we have and really showing those benefits of our faculty,” Cockett said. “And then have the president, as well as and the presidents at the other USHE institutions, rallying for faculty compensation.”

The provost said higher education administrators failed this past session to convince lawmakers that higher education faculty and staff should receive the same three percent pay increase as public school instructors.  This, she said, along with USU’s decision not to increase tuition that could be used by the university to help pay faculty, known as tier two tuition, has members of the university’s Budget and Faculty Welfare Committee and those they represent wondering if students have too much say in when and how faculty should be paid.

“This year the students said, ‘You have been raising second tier two tuition at least three percent for the last ten years, we need a break,’ and we honored that,” Cockett said.

Now that rates have been set by lawmakers, Cockett said she and President Albrecht are working to help educate university employees to better understand how funding for higher education salaries work.  

“We actually don’t have a lot of flexibility,” she said.  “The state has determined tuition increases across all institutions.  I guess we hadn’t realized that faculty weren’t aware that how, in many cases, our hands are tied.”

While talking with USU students, Cockett said they are telling her that faculty need to do more to convince them of the value of supporting a tuition increase.

Albrecht and Cockett said they are looking at alternative ways of compensating faculty, including increasing money for work-study help, possible program cuts to save money and pay increases to individual faculty for their extra service.  A targeted differential tuition program for colleges or programs is another way, said Cockett, of diversifying approaches to increase salaries for faculty and staff.

At 14-years-old, Kerry began working as a reporter for KVEL “The Hot One” in Vernal, Utah. Her radio news interests led her to Logan where she became news director for KBLQ while attending Utah State University. She graduated USU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and spent the next few years working for Utah Public Radio. Leaving UPR in 1993 she spent the next 14 years as the full time mother of four boys before returning in 2007. Kerry and her husband Boyd reside in Nibley.