There is nothing more important to a major university than high quality faculty members.
So, when university leaders in Kansas see top faculty members leaving their institutions, they are right to sound the alarm, particularly when those faculty members are leaving for positions at comparable or lesser schools that are able to offer larger salaries.
Money isn’t everything in a job, but it is a tangible way to show an employee that his or her work is valued. Because of state funding cuts, faculty members at Kansas University and some other state universities have gone without pay raises for two years. It only makes sense that stagnant salaries would make top faculty members more likely to consider job offers at other universities.
It’s a situation the state can’t afford to ignore. According to university officials, even small raises would send a positive message to faculty members. If tax money isn’t available for those raises, the state and university officials need to get creative. KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little noted, for instance, that some schools have reallocated funds or dedicated a portion of tuition revenues to increased salaries.
Even in a tight economy, many public employees — including Lawrence and Douglas County workers — have received at least small raises. State universities need to find a way to send a monetary message of support to the faculty members who are so important to maintaining the excellence of their educational product.