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KU chancellor writes that possible state budget cuts would mean loss of at least 38 faculty jobs
For the second time in a few weeks, a message from KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on Monday addresses state budget cuts. And this one puts a number on the kind of effect the possible cuts being debated by the Kansas Legislature might have.
Gray-Little writes that the higher-education cuts being debated would force KU to eliminate at least 38 faculty jobs. That would seem to dampen the impact of the university's effort to fill 64 newly created faculty positions by a bit.
KU spokesman Jack Martin clarified for me that the 38 number is referring to the higher-ed cut being pushed by state House budget leaders, which would be 4 percent across the board. (The Journal-World's Scott Rothschild reported last week that, on the eve of a monthlong break at the Statehouse, those leaders were backing off from those proposed cuts.) Senate leaders have recommended a 2 percent cut.
Gray-Little's letter mentions fears that cuts could mean KU couldn't keep its top faculty from bolting to other universities that offer them more money, turning KU into a mere "farm team" for other institutions.
That brings us back to some of that faculty salary survey information I was yapping about earlier today. That Chronicle of Higher Education report on salaries showed that the gap in faculty pay between private universities and public ones is growing wider every year. In a story on the trend, the president of Florida State University also uses the "farm team" phrase, saying it's already happening there because of budget cuts.
The difference is even bigger at the top of the faculty pay scale: Full professors are earning an average of $140,000 at private colleges and about $110,000 at public ones. Around the country, state cuts are hampering budgets at some public universities, but private institutions haven't had to worry about that.
At KU, Gray-Little writes, the elimination of faculty jobs would mean KU wouldn't fill jobs left by departing professors. As Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Danny Anderson told me in February, this means that the reduction in force can have little to do with where the most teaching and research is needed; it all comes down to who happens to retire or take another job.
We'll keep you updated on what happens. But only if you keep up your end of the deal and get those KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.