Regents to study promotion policy

By Claudia Curry and Dina Paluzzi

The Board of Regents approved a proposal for the development of an academic promotion policy which would set an equal rate for pay increments to faculty at NIU and Illinois State University.

The proposal passed by the Regents allows the Regents chancellor and the NIU and ISU presidents to initiate the development of a formal proposal concerning an equal promotion increment rate for the two universities.

They will present a plan for implementation at the January Regents meeting based on available resources.

The Regents met Thursday in the Holmes Student Center’s Skyroom.

Presently, NIU’s faculty promotion increment rate is $60 per month for promotion from associate to full professor and $50 per month from assistant to associate professor. ISU does not allot any financial rewards for promotion.

Sangamon State University recently settled a collective bargaining agreement allowing flat rates of $2,000 for promotions to associate professor and $3,000 for promotions to full professor.

Ron Ettinger, the chief negotiator for the agreement at SSU, said he urged Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves to make the rate of increment at NIU and ISU equal to the rate at SSU.

During the meeting, NIU Student Regent Nick Valadez voiced opposition to creating promotion increments at this time. While it is “common sense” that faculty should get academic promotions with monetary awards, he is concerned about the board’s “sensitivity” and the message it sends, he said.

SSU Student Regent Brian Hopkins said, “The cost of instruction has gone up, the level of tuition cost has gone up, but the level of state support for higher education has stayed the same or has been cut. It’s easy to see where the funding for these increases is coming from.

“I believe that the presidents deserve their raises, and I believe that there should be a faculty promotion increment, but I believe it should be state funded and not from student tuition dollars.”

Groves said the money from the $125 spring surcharge on tuition has been designated for instructional purposes. He said providing more for instruction, such as more course sections, is a “high priority” of the board, but the board needs to “get on with these things in tandem.

“Quality of education in the classroom is only as good as who is at the head of the classroom,” Groves said.

Regents Chairman Carol Burns said, “I think you’ll find that this is a good, positive, motivational program.”

ISU Student Regent Dan Wagner said that ISU faculty should receive the same increments the faculty at NIU receive, but it does not mean that NIU needs an increase. “We’ve been lower than Northern and we should be equal,” he said.

Valadez said, “While tuition has been increasing, my constituency has been clobbered. All I can say to them is our CEO salaries are up to par and our promotion increments are up to par while it seems that funding for other spendings comes from another pocket.”