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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Evaluation forms can affect faculty salaries

By Gina Potthoff


Students may want to put more time and thought into filling out those pesky instructor evaluation forms, because they can have an effect on faculty.

Student instructor evaluations can help determine the overall merit of faculty at the University.

Merit is just one of the four arenas used to determine whether faculty members should be awarded market and equity adjustment pay increase, said Shirley Baugher, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Along with merit, other criteria, such as research, service and the number of courses taught, all go into determining faculty pay increases.

Market and equity adjustment salary raises are awarded to faculty by deans of the different colleges based on merit, the cost of living index and comparing marketing dollars to peers’ performances inside and outside of the University, Baugher said.

Baugher and other University cabinet members, including the president, determine how much money the various colleges can give out for faculty pay increases each year.

The deans decide which faculty members are awarded pay increases after consulting with the department chairs about merit evaluations.

The Board of Trustees approves merit raises each year and the department chairs conduct merit evaluations to determine the amount faculty are awarded based on if they are meeting job expectations, not meeting them or exceeding them, said Don Nieman, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Charles Onasch, former chair of the geology department, also added that as a department chair, he could add to the merit of faculty he deemed deserving with money set aside for chair use.

Baugher said the cost of living index is an issue because a faculty member that has been here for five years could be earning less than a newly hired one, resulting in a pay raise.

Nieman estimated that more than half of all current faculty members at the University were hired in the last 10 years, due to faculty turnover in the late ’90s following retirements. This has resulted in additional pay raises awarded each year.

The dean is also permitted to offer faculty market adjustments in order to keep highly respected and accomplished professors at the University rather than taking better offers elsewhere.

“It’s not just money, but faculty wanting more research support or better labs,” Nieman said.

President Sidney Ribeau also commented on how competitive the market is today for such professors and how accounting, math and information systems and most of the technology departments have taken the hardest hits.

“We’ve lost some people because we can’t compete,” Ribeau said.

He said that recently the University has lost faculty to both Michigan State and the University of Michigan.

In fact, the University average faculty salary for the 2006-2007 academic year, $61,079, ranks last among Ohio public universities according to data gathered by the Office of Finance and Administration.

The University’s average salary ranked 13.4 percent behind the Ohio public university average salary of $68,397 in 2005-2006.

For these reasons, Nieman explains that sometimes the University must be proactive by awarding salary raises to faculty members with outstanding achievements.

Although many faculty members are suggested, not all will receive market adjustments because of the lack of funds.

“The goal is to have adequate resources to support faculty,” Baugher said.

She said that because the University currently has a $3 million deficit, this aspect of finances as well as all others could be impacted since the University is an interdependent institution.

Because Nieman holds the final decision regarding pay raises, he understands that he cannot have many personal relationships with faculty, for fear of practicing favoritism.

“The only close relationship I have is with my wife,” Nieman said jokingly.

His wife, Leigh Ann Wheeler, associate professor of the history department, is not a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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