Choosing Greatness

Supporting Faculty and Staff

Since its founding in 1894, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point pride for Central and Northern Wisconsin. An early champion of sustainability and health, a promoter of arts and culture and a driver of economic prosperity, UW-Stevens Point has earned its distinction as one of the nation’s outstanding regional universities.

Greatness, however, cannot be built and then abandoned. Maintaining greatness requires continual care and investment.

At the core of the UW-Stevens Point mission is the relationship between the faculty member and the student. That relationship suffers when faculty members leave the university and the institution struggles to replace them. The integrity of the university is jeopardized when the very core of its existence is threatened.

UW-Stevens Point strives to provide the highest quality education for a reasonable cost. A key factor in accomplishing that goal is recruiting and retaining excellent faculty.

Alex Shuffield

"Other schools had good teachers and good faculty, but the people at UW-Stevens Point were so personable and always so nice. They have all the skills that make them great teachers, but they are also great people.”

Alex Shuffield, music education-instrumental, Sparta, Wis.


Faculty Retention and Recruitment

“Things are really desperate now… If somebody does not do something, we won’t have anyone left.”

Christine L. Thomas, dean and professor of resource management

Retaining the faculty

UW-Stevens Point experienced significant losses of faculty and staff members in the College of Natural Resources in the spring of 2012. Seven faculty and staff members resigned to take positions offering more money—more than in the previous eight years for the same reason, a serious concern for one of the university’s flagship programs.

 


Living in Central Wisconsin

Stevens Point’s numerous cultural and recreational activities, multiple educational opportunities and hospitable atmosphere are all attractive to prospective candidates. With accolades such as “Best Water,” “Top Ten Dream Towns” and “Sixth Best City for Families,” Stevens Point is committed to providing a livable, workable and enjoyable way of life.

Despite the quality of life in the region, in 2011-12, 43 percent of faculty employment offers were rejected by the candidate of first choice (see figure 4). When the university asked candidates why they rejected offers, 32 percent of those who responded said the salary from UW-Stevens Point was matched or exceeded by another institution.

We sometimes hear the argument that salaries in Central Wisconsin can be lower because the cost of living is less. Unfortunately, that claim is based on a false assumption. Cities from Spokane, Wash. to Atlanta, Ga., from Tampa, Fla. to Des Moines, Iowa, all have lower costs of living than Central Wisconsin.

 

 
 

Closing the gap

Why is UW-Stevens Point losing faculty members and finding it challenging to hire replacements? One answer is found in comparing salaries. The charts to the right compare the salaries of UW-Stevens Point professors with 262 public peer institutions nationwide.

Figure 1 indicates that out of 338 UW-Stevens Point faculty members, nearly 90 percent are paid less than the national average by discipline and rank. Half of that 90 percent are paid at least $10,000 below the national average.

Some are paid $20,000 below the national average. Figure 2 shows what the distribution would look like if UW-Stevens Point faculty had received modest pay increases during the last four years. The modest pay increases would have brought 30 percent of the faculty salaries above the national average. While not reaching a normal distribution curve, the salary increases would have been a significant step in closing the salary gap.



Salary and benefits

  • 91 percent of faculty were dissatisfied with salaries

  • 33 percent were dissatisfied with retirement benefits

  • 30 percent were dissatisfied with health benefits

Source: Higher Education Research Institute Faculty Survey
 

 
 
 

Stress

  • 95 percent of faculty found
    institutional budgets to be a
    source of stress

  • 93 percent of UW-Stevens Point faculty indicated that low pay was a source of stress

  • 84 percent of faculty reported personal finances were a source of stress

  • 81 percent of faculty indicated that faculty/staff retention and recruitment were a source of stress

Source: Higher Education Research Institute Faculty Survey



Investing in our future

UW-Stevens Point would need nearly $3 million to bring faculty salaries in line with those of comparable institutions.

In the absence of state-funded pay raises, UW-Stevens Point has begun addressing the shortfall in faculty salaries using revenue garnered from improving efficiencies, increasing student retention and, where necessary, reducing or eliminating existing programming. Because such revenues are limited, it will take as many as 10 to 12 years to bring the university’s salaries up to the average level at comparable institutions. The program began with an investment of $100,000 in faculty salaries in 2011-2012. In 2012-13, we will increase that investment to as much as $250,000 and include some equity increases for staff members. Allocations are based on an equity study of comparable state, regional and national salaries updated on an annual basis.

Only with renewed investment from the state can UW-Stevens Point recruit and retain the best faculty. We have a choice to keep or dismantle greatness. We choose greatness and we ask for your support.