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University System of Georgia chancellor wants faculty raises

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 4:01 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 9:27 PM
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ATLANTA — The lack of faculty pay raises has made Georgia professors the targets for recruiters in other states, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby told lawmakers Tuesday.

“Other states don’t come after our weakest faculty. They come after our very best,” he told members of the House and Senate appropriations committees after a presentation on the system’s budget for the next fiscal year.

Gov. Nathan Deal is recommending lawmakers give the system an increase of $42 million, the result of adding money to accommodate more students and subtracting 3 percent like every other state agency.

Of the $42 million increase, half will go to cover benefits for employees and retirees, said John Brown, the university system’s financial officer.

“It’s not all free money. It’s just keeping up with what’s already out there,” he said.

Deal disagreed with some of the system’s spending requests. He wants to cut nearly $3 million from the system’s maintenance budget instead of the nearly $9 million increase administrators requested. He rejected Armstrong Atlantic State University’s satellite campus in Hinesville to serve Fort Stewart soldiers even though the city is putting up $6 million of the cost. He is calling for no funding to equip seven buildings under construction at various campuses, including the veterinary medicine building at the University of Georgia.

“We hate the notion that we’re waiting on equipment,” Brown said.

Most of the committee members’ questions focused on faculty salaries, which haven’t increased in five years.

UGA salaries now rank ninth out of a dozen comparable schools. The state’s two-year colleges ranked first in 2000 but are now 11th.

Huckaby warned that freezing wages harms morale and invites competing states to recruit from Georgia schools.

“What it does is send the message to other parts of the country that Georgia is a good place to come. We have a fertile field,” he said.

The committees were in the first of three days of hearings with witnesses from the two dozen largest state agencies. The rest of the Legislature is in recess this week.

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Riverman1 01/22/13 - 05:39 pm
Georgia is ranked 33 in per

Georgia is ranked 33 in per capita income. Instead of having professors in the top ten salary category, I submit it would be logical if they were somewhere close to 33 or less if cost of living is considered.

palmetto1008 01/22/13 - 07:33 pm
The article reads that

The article reads that Georgia is 9th among the 12 it compares itself to...which are not the top 10 in the country.

Sweet son
Sweet son 01/22/13 - 07:35 pm
Get 'em Riverman!!!!

Your comment applies directly to Dr. Cool!!!

WalterBradfordCannon 01/23/13 - 07:31 am
Nathan Deal ran for office on

Nathan Deal ran for office on a platform of strong for education without specifics. Guess those specifics are becoming increasingly clear. Faculty salaries SHOULD be set based on competition and productivity - just like salaries in every other field. If they are frozen multiple years in a row, attrition will (and has) ramped up among the more productive faculty. It is just plain economics. What is comes down to is that Deal does not value a strong Georgia education system, and via the budget, and salary freezes, he is devaluing it to where he thinks it belongs.

OpenCurtain 01/23/13 - 08:18 am
$$ doesn't grow on tree's

At face value, it looks like some serious budgeting effort is being made to be sensible.

One Major Restriction:
Any salary increases are for FULL TIME Instructors only and not Administration types. I am sure many would have a bad taste in their mouths if President AZZZZZZZ or the any GA. Regent ended up getting raises, after what they pulled.

BTW: Good article, it provided the big picture.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 01/23/13 - 08:43 am
State Employees

Faculty at state universities are state government employees, enjoying state benefit programs. During this economic downturn, other state workers have not gotten raises since 2007. Faculty members should stay in the same boat as their other government employees as a show of unity and solidarity. It's all for one and one for all. It would be wrong to give taxpayer-funded raises to faculty members while letting the other state workers languish.

Bizkit 01/23/13 - 09:20 am
Why raises for just UGA-how

Why raises for just UGA-how about GRU and other schools who similarly haven't had raises in 4-5 years. Better than Paine College which I've been told hasn't had a raise in over ten years and the facullty are paid less than public schools. All in all I'd say they are paid equatible and they can earn their raise by writing grants with some salary increase. The lack of a raise will actually be an incentive for more productivity and grants.

Fiat_Lux 01/23/13 - 12:35 pm
LL nailed it exactly...

...but I can virtually guarantee that staff will not get any salary increase, and covering staff benefits won't affect the whopping cost of health insurance. (For a family, health insurance alone would consume more than 25% of some employees GROSS salary and that much of the take-home for a much larger group.)

It is a very limited number of faculty--and shrinking with each new retirement--that have the slightest interest in the staff that makes it possible for them to be stars (or even simply to do their own jobs) beyond how effectively and unobtrusively (ie, meekly and deferentially) the staff do their jobs.

The problem regarding faculty raises isn't just about keeping our best faculty, though Deal and AZZZZZ would love to portray things that way. (Illusions of future grandeur, don'cha know.) There always is competition for the best and brightest in academia, industry and public service no matter what the economy is doing anywhere, and Georgia public higher education, possibly excepting Georgia Tech, has never been all that attractive to national educational elites.

The bigger issue is the morality and ethics of not paying staff living wages while treating them as if they were chattel instead of with the respect due their dignity as fellow human beings. It's probably better other places than at MCG, but man, oh man, has that place become an abyss for staff morale.

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