Will flexibility to retain star faculty create downward salary pressure for everyone else?

Some of the recent statements for support for NBP come from stars among our faculty. It is no secret that the major reason to seek more flexibility is to meet the challenges in keeping the stars from moving to greener pastures. The competitive compensation plans to stay in the market for stars puts an upward pressure on the salaries of stars, while simultaneously exerting a downward pressure on the salaries of others, particularly exacerbated when you bring in equity considerations.

Let us not forget that while excellence and scholarship among our stars is beyond question, there is large segment among us who are silently sifting and winnowing for truth outside the limelight, working on unpopular ideas. It is the freedom to pursue such efforts that our tenure is supposed to guarantee.

Tenure guaranteed, even in the absence of flexibilities that we don’t have now, from my humble perch, I only see administration policies marginalizing the value of our diamonds in the rough. Will the new flexibilities lead to even further marginalization? Will the pressures eventually lead to their compensation being reduced to bare living wages?

The partnership between our stars and the administration may appear to be a win-win proposition. But in the view of many, it is a lose-lose proposition for the students and the public.  If our constituency loses its crown jewel, there will be no university left for the stars to shine over. When will we stop pumping up the bubble, and start deflating our pump?

– Jeevee

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3 Responses to Will flexibility to retain star faculty create downward salary pressure for everyone else?

  1. JS says:

    Good point, and of course a national problem.

  2. Interesting that according to Julie Underwood “Approximately three percent of our faculty members retire each year and two percent depart for other reasons (e.g., a competitive offer from elsewhere, failure to get tenure, personal or family circumstances, etc.). These departure rates are similar to or lower than those at our peer institutions.”

    http://www.provost.wisc.edu/memos/exit.html

  3. Here is some new data that shows what those state funds for retention have managed to help with.

    http://eduoptimists.blogspot.com/2011/05/its-all-about-faculty-update.html

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