Archive for Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Heard on the Hill: Provost supports raises for faculty and staff; Monarch Watch looks to spread milkweed across U.S.; Coach Self Skype call nets more than $4,000

December 21, 2010


Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• I’m currently working on a couple year-ahead stories for KU, focusing on the issues and concerns of KU leaders in 2011.

I always enjoy writing these stories because not only do they usually provide me (and readers) with a good barometer for the major issues everyone’s anticipating next year, there’s usually a bit of news that pops up, too.

One nugget that seemed to fall into the “news” category this year was something Provost Jeff Vitter told me about faculty raises.

Actually, he e-mailed it to me on Saturday after our interview the previous week, because neither of us thought to discuss it then. So the issue was important enough to merit an additional contact.

And he didn’t seem to mince words about it, either.

“As part of cost cutting, we have foregone salary increases for faculty and staff for two straight years, and we have passed on to faculty and staff higher health-care premiums,” Vitter wrote. “We can’t go a third year without salary increases. It would be demoralizing to the KU community; they have worked so hard to do so much, and they deserve to be supported. Both the chancellor and I place salary increases for faculty and staff as a priority.”

Look for that and other tidbits from KU top officials in the year-ahead stories coming up soon.

• KU’s Monarch Watch program is looking for people interested in selling milkweed as part of a regular plant fundraiser, according to a recent blog post from the organization.

It’s part of the program’s Bring Back the Monarchs campaign, which looks to place the plants on which monarch caterpillars feed across the country.

Monarch butterflies had a rough go last winter, as bad weather in the overwintering sites in Mexico devastated the population.

Chip Taylor, director of Monarch Watch, and other monarch butterfly groups across the country have teamed up to make an effort to spread milkweed all across the country to build safe havens for the insects and get the population rising again.

Monarch Watch has taken care to place the milkweed species in regions where they can thrive — and have plans to get down to the county-by-county level.

Click through to the project for more information.

• And about that Christmas Eve Skype call with Coach Bill Self that his Assists Foundation put up on eBay?

When I first wrote about it, the call was going for around $300 or so, if memory serves. And it eventually sold for $4,050. I’d love to take credit for pumping up the winning bid, but the idea generated some national coverage, too, both before and after I wrote about it.

Kudos to the foundation for an inventive idea, and for coming up with a quick, easy way to generate four grand for a good cause.

• And if anyone needed any reasons to send me good Heard on the Hill tips, I put my complete and utter lack of Captain Kangaroo knowledge on full public display yesterday. So I need people to tell me all about Mr. Green Jeans, all the people who bid Bob Keeshan “Good Morning, Captain” and any other tales from the Treasure House at I guess I’ll take stuff about KU, too, but for now, I’m lost in old YouTube videos


Keith Richards 7 years, 6 months ago

I am glad Vitter understands that not only faculty but staff need a raise as well. Faculty probably average in the 6 figure salaries per year already, while staff most likely are in the low 5 figures. If anyone needs a raise it is those doing the grunt work for the faculty.

cafranci 7 years, 6 months ago

Average salary for continuing faculty in FY '10 was just under $89,000.

For those complaining about the prospect of faculty raises when there is substantial unemployment, you can go more years without raises, but you're going to start losing top faculty to Big Ten schools and other more prestigious institutions. That may be a reasonable sacrifice to make depending on your perspective, but it could have bad long-term consequences. The provost obviously wants to avoid this.

CreatureComforts 7 years, 6 months ago

Just curious if the raises will be merit based or across the board? There are LOTS of staff that work hard and are underpaid, but there are also LOTS of staff that work little and are overpaid. An across the board raise, with no look at who really may deserve it, seems foolish in these times, with our state budget situation.

nobody1793 7 years, 6 months ago

Janet McCall in the Registrar's office.

(btw, I hope there's not really a Janet McCall in the registrar's office or I'll feel pretty silly.)

ahyland 7 years, 6 months ago

The KU directory shows only a Brent McCall, who's in the Public Safety Office; a Ryan McCall, a program assistant in the theatre department; and a Zach McCall, a graduate research assistant in the Center for Research on Learning. So I think you're probably safe.

ResQd 7 years, 6 months ago

Are you serious? Raises for faculty and staff at KU? . I'm sorry but unemployment in this state is almost 7%. The state should not only be freezing raises at this time, but open positions as well. Give me a break!

Vinny1 7 years, 6 months ago

There are tons of places around Lawrence hiring right now. Whose fault is it that those unemployed think they are too god for some of the jobs available? Whose fault is it that they would rather sit on their butts and collect unemployment checks rather than actively search out work?

ResQd 7 years, 6 months ago

I am NOT unemployed, but have elected to work outside of Lawrence because of the low paying wages here. With the exception of the high paying salaries at KU, Lawrence has nothing to offer but minimum wage jobs. Companies are continuing to lay off and unemployment rate is still high. How dare the state and my tax monies give raises when other companies are still struggling.

LogicMan 7 years, 6 months ago

"Are you serious? ..."

It ain't going to happen, so no need to raise your blood pressure.

KU_cynic 7 years, 6 months ago

"...we have foregone salary increases . . ." Should be "forgone". To forego means to go before.

Good luck finding the money, Jeff.

Bob Forer 7 years, 6 months ago

The so-called "demoralized" faculty should count their blessings. At least they have a job.

Shardwurm 7 years, 6 months ago

Totally agree.

It's a free country. If they don't like what they're earning feel free to try something else.

Any takers? crickets

That's what I thought. Shut up and count your blessings.

maxcrabb 7 years, 6 months ago

I took your suggestion.

Granted, I didn't wait to read it in a forum. I thought it up myself and decided, "Yeah, I don't like where i work OR how much I make."

Now I make nearly double what I did in before, and I enjoy going to work!

Thanks, past me!

wastewatcher 7 years, 6 months ago

The Regents faculty should be thankful that they have a salary coming in. I agree, if they aren't happy, find another job. The citizens paying their salaries are hurting a whole lot more than they are. I wish the Regents would try controlling costs instead OF CONSTANTLY RAISING TUITION AND FEES.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 6 months ago

For those out of work and filled with jealous anger about KU faculty, I have one thing to say: get off of your butts and get a job, instead of posting on this website!

Most faculty at KU achieved their positions through years of hard work and sacrifice and continue the hard work and achievement.

Most of you here complaining probably wouldn't know hard work or achievement if it smacked you upside the head.

In a capitalist society, the best, brightest, and most hard-working are the winners. In a bad economy, the lay-abouts get laid off first.

Quit complaining about how good others have it and get out there and beat the bushes and maybe try starting a business or working a job that is not your first choice. Or go back to school and re-train.

Just stop your kvetching about how unfair it is that smart, motivated achievers at KU have jobs and deserve raises.

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