Dr. Michael Forster

Filling faculty lines an uphill fight

The college has a whopping 32 faculty searches currently underway – at least in part due to several years of budget crisis in which virtually no searches were conducted.

Generally speaking, that’s good news.  But now we’re about to slam into another financial crisis – a rather massive shortfall in position funding.  Specifically, there’s a yawning chasm between what’s available in the budget for each open position and what it takes to make a competitive offer to preferred candidates – a condition resulting from a combination of historic underfunding, recent budget slashing, and several years without raises to base salaries.

The university is taking hiring guidance from data available from a national higher education human resources organization, “CUPA.”  The CUPA data are far from perfect (they’re somewhat out of date, for one thing), but they give some idea of how we stack up against a number of identified “peer” institutions.

The sad/bad news, at least for the College of Health, is that our average shortfall is just over $10,000 per position across all our searches, or about $325,000 in all.  And that’s just the salary shortfall, not counting the nearly 30% “fringe” cost that needs to be tacked onto the personnel budget.

Without an injection of new money (and where that injection might come from nobody knows), there are only two likely outcomes – we’ll either fill some positions at considerably less than competitive levels, or we won’t fill positions at all.  A third theoretical possibility – filling some positions at competitive rates, while underfunding others – is a non-starter, as it would cripple an already wobbly-legged instructional mission.

Not at all a pretty picture.

Dr. Michael Forster
Dr. Michael Forster

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