Faculty and staff will be receiving raises at The
University of Southern Mississippi for the 2005 fiscal year because
of increased revenue and conservative fiscal management.
The Legislature did not provide sufficient money for
across-the-board increases for the fiscal year that began July 1,
2004. The state College Board said university presidents could give
raises if they found the money. "Over the last two years we've
worked very hard to be more efficient with university funds so that
we could use our savings to invest in our most important asset -
our people," said university President Shelby Thames. "We've
made this money by the way we've managed this university."
More than $2.5 million will be allocated to faculty
and staff based on merit. An additional $800,000 will be allocated
across-the-board to all faculty and staff. With the additional $320,000
distributed to 10 percent of the faculty at midyear, Southern Miss
faculty and staff are receiving pay increases totaling more than
$3.6 million for the year.
Consideration for raise distribution was given to
a number of variables including teaching, research, service, quality
of work, quantity of work, credit hours produced, etc. "This
has been a lengthy process that was given much consideration and
involved input from every level of faculty and staff," said
Rex Gandy, dean of the College of Science and Technology. "I
had many conversations with my chairs, the other deans, faculty
in my college and members of the Faculty Senate. There is always
room for improvement, but I believe we did a really outstanding
job with this process. We moved slowly, thoughtfully and methodically,
and I hope our faculty and staff will be pleased with the outcome."
"First let me say that we are, hallelujah, getting
a raise," said Faculty Senate President Dr. David Beckett.
"That's a momentous step." During raise discussions Faculty
Senate officers met with Dr. Thames, Chief Financial Officer Gregg
Lassen, deans and the president's cabinet multiple times to present
their ideas for the distribution of the salary increases. Faculty
Senate officers proposed that all faculty and staff get a raise
because it has been several years since legislative allocations
for salary increases were specified for university employees.
"Because Dr. Beckett and the Faculty Senate officers
made their point persuasively, I asked Mr. Lassen and our budget
office personnel to take an additional $800,000 and allocate $400
per faculty and staff member in addition to their merit-based raises,"
said Dr. Thames. "I appreciate the approach they took and am
pleased that we could work together to reward our personnel."
"The administration listened to us seriously
and took our suggestions to heart," said Beckett. "I am
pleased that every member of the faculty and staff is receiving
a supplementary $400 raise, which will help as a cost of living
adjustment for those who have not gotten raises for some time. This
approach helps those who need it most."
All faculty and staff received two percent across-the-board
raises in 2002. Additionally, sixty-seven faculty members shared
$320,000 in midyear merit-based raises in December.
These raises will be retroactive to July 1, 2004,
for 12-month employees and for nine-month employees will begin with
their first paychecks of the fall semester. Employees hired after
January 15, 2004, were not eligible for raises.
"I do not expect the Legislature to be able to
allocate money for raises next year or the next," said Dr.
Thames. "I do believe though, that we can still give raises
again next year if we work together to recruit more students, retain
more of our current students, generate more credit hours and spend
our assets wisely."