Raises, Budget Cuts on Faculty Agenda
NC State hopes to give faculty and non-faculty EPA employees the same $1,000 pay raise the state legislature awarded SPA employees this year, despite the challenges of squeezing the funds from an already tight budget, Chancellor Randy Woodson told the Faculty Senate on Tuesday.
“There’s nothing more important than rewarding talent,” Woodson said at the senate’s first meeting of the academic year. “We’re going to do everything we can to give raises [to EPA employees] this year. We’re waiting for guidance from UNC General Administration.”
The chancellor added that, contingent on approval by the system’s Board of Governors, the university will give deans and department heads additional funds – perhaps 2 percent – to reward high-performing employees and to smooth out inequities in pay.
“There will be raises; we’re working on the details,” he said. “The consensus is that we should give maximum flexibility to unit leaders. But it’s going to take us years to dig out from years of no salary increases.”
Paying for raises for EPA employees – with a price tag of about $13 million – won’t be easy. Plus, under the 2014-15 state budget, NC State already faces a budget reduction of $10 million.
As in previous years, the university likely will cut relatively more from administrative budgets and relatively less from academic programs. But after years of declining state appropriations, the university has run out of easy options for tightening its belt.
“Every department is going to struggle with this,” Woodson said.
Bright Spots in State Budget
The chancellor noted that the new state budget includes some wins for NC State, including $2 million in state matching funds over five years for the PowerAmerica advanced manufacturing center, about $2 million for deferred building maintenance, one-time funding for game-changing research in three areas, funding for in-state tuition vouchers for returning military vets, approval of bonds for the renovation of Reynolds Coliseum and five days of bonus leave for faculty and staff.
Flush With Freshmen
The chancellor also reported that NC State overshot its enrollment target for the fall semester, welcoming a freshman class with about 200 more students than expected. The College of Engineering is “bursting at the seams,” he said.
In the College of Education, on the other hand, freshman enrollment is down 50 percent from last year, he said. And, for the first time, a majority of the college’s graduates are leaving North Carolina for jobs in other states.
New Theme for Year
Faculty chair David Zonderman, beginning the second of his two-year term, outlined his theme for 2014-15: renewing shared governance.
He praised NC State’s commitment to growing tenure-line faculty and encouraged more faculty members to speak up on important university issues.
“We have faced a lot of tough decisions in past few years and will likely face more,” he said. “The more faculty get involved early on, the better they will understand why tough decisions were made.”
Zonderman said he would propose a “modest reward structure for governance leadership” to encourage more faculty engagement in decision-making.