Faculty intend to resign

By Katrina Kelly

Three senior faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences intend to resign after this semester because of a lack of teaching resources.

“Faculty morale is a problem,” LA&S Dean Peter Nicholls said. “They are trying to do their job, and the state is not providing enough funds for higher education.” He said LA&S faculty members lack funds for research equipment and for travel to educational conferences.

Nicholls said he knows of other LA&S faculty members looking for positions at other schools, but he would not name any of the faculty members who might leave NIU. “It will become very difficult to attract faculty and retain them (at NIU),” he said.

NIU Provost Kendall Baker said because the state is not providing salary increases, other states will be trying to recruit Illinois faculty in a manner Baker calls “raiding.”

“Our top quality faculty are regarded as good prospects for jobs in other states,” Baker said. “We have had instances where our faculty have had offers from other institutions, and we have had to persuade them to stay here by offering them raises.”

Ted Welch, University Libraries director, said the rising prices of faculty journals and books have combined with a lack of state education funding to force a cutback in the amount of materials purchased for faculty use.

“Zero budget for libraries is really, really bad news,” Welch said. NIU libraries need a 15 percent raise in funds to continue purchasing the $2 million in books and educational journals that NIU faculty use, he said.

“The IBHE (Illinois Board of Higher Education) understands that library materials are important,” Welch said. The board is proposing a 9 percent increase in funds. “That is not enough, but we would be pleased to get that,” he said.

Welch said the library had to stop purchasing new books on January 27. “Next we will have to start looking at journal cancellations,” he said.

Journal cancellations will cause a problem because faculty cannot borrow journals from other schools, he said. “Faculty and students don’t like to give up journals,” Welch said.

The library has received more than $80,000 from the student tuition increases, but “that still doesn’t cover it,” he said.

Baker said if there is no tax increase by the state, the situation will get worse. The IBHE has recommended to Gov. James Thompson a 10 percent salary increase.

Faculty did not receive their expected 5 percent salary increase last year. A 10 percent increase has been requested this year to cover the lack of an increase last year, Baker said.

“We have fallen behind,” he said. “This would be a step in the right direction, but it would not solve the problem.”

“If we were able to get the tax increase, we could begin to process and provide better resources for our faculty,” Baker said.

Nicholls said, “I can’t speak for the faculty, but I am sure they have a sense of frustration and feeling of anger that the state is not prepared to support them in the work they have to do.”