Salary issues raise concerns on departing professors
April 5, 2013
With several professors leaving at the end of the spring term for the past couple of years, many question why professors are leaving.
Former history department chair Simon Cordery and associate theatre professor Janeve West left last year. More recently, professors Rob Hale, Erika Solberg and Eric Todd have announced their departure at the end of this year.
“Monmouth is not a stepping block to bigger and better things,” said anonymous alum. “We should want Monmouth to be the final block, where our faculty is allowed to teach, research and grow for many, many years. We should be doing everything in our power to keep them here. With so many faculty members leaving, it causes one to wonder what is going on behind the scenes.”
Hale accepted a position at Western Kentucky University and will be moving there with his wife, Solberg and their children. Todd accepted a position at University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point to be closer to family.
While a salary raise was offered two years ago, currently, salaries are frozen indefinitely. That, along with professional development opportunities, could explain the professors leaving, according to the alum.
“I think that many faculty members are leaving because they are finding other institutions that offer more resources,” said the alum. “While Monmouth has a great faculty community, the resources for professional development, research and teaching innovations are lacking. It must be straining working for a place that rarely rewards its faculty and offers few resources.”
However, according to Dean David Timmerman, all efforts are being made to keep and attract new professors.
Full-time professors have received a 45.4 percent increase in salary since 1997, associate professors received a 40.2 percent and assistant professors racked up a 42.3 percent increase. When salary increases occur, they are given to all faculty and staff members.
In addition, resources have been made available for faculty travel.
“We were able to raise the faculty development funds for faculty members a few years ago,” Timmerman said, “which supports faculty travel to conferences each year. So yes, we are doing our best to keep professors here.”
As for faculty leaving, Timmerman believes no one reason can be pinned down, saying salaries “certainly play a part” but reasons are many.
The college has had no difficulties in securing new faculty as of late: six tenure track and five visiting faculty members were hired last year, four tenure track and eight visiting faculty members were hired this year and, next year, campus can expect seven tenure-track and four visiting faculty members to join the faculty and staff.
“Every faculty member that I have talked to is excited about working in the new science and business building,” Timmerman said. “This includes the candidates who have interviewed for faculty positions for next year in Chemistry and Biology and Physics over the past couple of years.”
These developments, according to Timmerman, show that the college is “doing its best” to keep faculty.
“Many faculty do spend their careers here,” Timmerman said. “We are doing our best to make our professors thrive and feel supported and comfortable. Our new building is a piece of that, to make sure where our staff teaches is as up to date as possible.”
Currently, Todd’s replacement has already been chosen, Emily Rollie will take over West’s spot for a tenure-track position and ads are currently in place searching for Hale and Solberg’s temporary replacements.
“Our faculty and our staff are the most important resource for the education of our students for teaching and for learning,” Timmerman said. “That is our purpose as an institution, to provide top quality resources for the purpose of student learning and the teaching that faculty does.”