NMSU faculty and staff met Monday afternoon to discuss plans for a future salary increase – or as they like to see it – an adjustment.
Interim President of NMSU, Dr. Manuel Pacheco spoke at the meeting.
“As I see some of the data that have been shared with me, I see that there has been a precipitous decline in parity, especially since 2005. It never was – before that it wasn’t in really good shape, but it’s gotten worse,” said Pacheco.
That sentiment seems to be shared by most of the faculty.
Tim Ketelaar, a faculty advisor for the NMSU Board picked a special song to start off his presentation on faculty salaries.
He chose “Won’t Get fooled Again” by The Who. And he’s hoping the faculty isn’t fooled again by small changes but is hoping they want to see a long-term plan.
“I think it’s important that faculty not get fooled into thinking short-term solutions…are a substitute for a long term strategy.”
I asked Tim why faculty salaries have been so low compared to similar schools.
“That’s the million dollar question and we’re hoping for the 12 million dollar answer.”
The 12 million dollars he’s referring to is the estimated total of 12.2 million dollars the committee announced Monday it hopes to raise NMSU’s professor’s salaries by.
The committee says that would make salaries more comparable to universities like NMSU – specifically similar land-grant universities west of the Mississippi.
“We want to simply in good faith say this is what we’re paid, this what our peers are paid…so I don’t think we’re interested in negotiating. We’re just interested in informing,” said Ketelaar.
Chris Erickson, professor of Economics and a former faculty advisor, says one issue that’s unpopular and rarely brought up still needs to be – that’s student tuition.
Erickson also said he’d like to see more faculty retained.
“If we don’t compensate faculty adequately, we will not be able to attract faculty, we will not be able to retain faculty and unfortunately it will be precisely those faculty who are the most mobile the most successful who we won’t be able to retain and that will compromise the mission of NMSU,” said Erickson.
Ketelaar hopes NMSU faculty will take a survey he’s sent out that asks what improvements should be made.
He says about 15 percent have taken the survey so far.