Minority salary increase slated

By Joel Guggenheim

NIU President John LaTourette recently slated $100,000 to increase the salaries of minority faculty members in compliance with NIU’s affirmative action plan, beginning with fiscal year 1989.

The funds are intended to pay any academic department two-thirds of the approved salary of a minority faculty member hired for a tenure-track position.

Minorities targeted for recruitment will include black Americans, native Americans and Asian Americans. The decision to hire members of these minorities stems from results of a survey of current minority representation at NIU and national availability of qualified minorities in each area of study.

Hiring emphasis will be placed in NIU departments in which statistics show minorities are underrepresented.

NIU Provost Kendall Baker said, “the standards and procedures used to recruit (minority) faculty will be the same as those used in the recruitment of non-minority faculty. We don’t want to reduce standards.”

Baker added that NIU’s objective is to hire “quality colleagues” who have a high probability of tenure.

NIU Affirmative Action Director Marilyn Monteiro said it takes more time and effort to acquire minority faculty because DeKalb is an agricultural community and minorities tend to prefer urban communities where they can share similar cultural experiences.

“We need to offer more incentives to make (minorities) feel wanted,” she said. “It’s also necessary to raise the sensitivity level and understanding of people to the cultural differences of minorities.”

Baker said he will be flexible in meeting additional salary funds and he will talk with any department concerning these needs.

“For example, (if) a department has $28,000, but needs $32,000 to hire the individual, let us know,” Baker said. “We will meet the salary needs.”

Before any department receives incentive funds, the department must have a contract signed by the minority faculty member.

Baker will review the incentive program after two academic years with NIU department deans, the provost’s advisory committee, faculty and other faculty groups.