And in the local news...

Now that the big election is over, it's time for us to concentrate a bit more on local issues, and there's no more local or personal issue than my rate of pay. See, faculty at FAU haven't gotten a real raise in 2 years, and the raise we got then was minimal. Our union has been trying to get us a raise, to their credit, but the state has been reticent, to say the least.

Part of the problem comes from the legislature's unwillingness to spend money on higher education in this state--it's hard to convince Florida's legislature to do anything other than argue for property tax decreases, after all--and the poor recent economy hasn't helped. But still, Florida's university faculty are at the bottom of the national rankings in terms of pay, and Florida's not exactly an inexpensive place to live, which makes this a double whammy.

So our union has put together a press release, and it makes our case pretty clearly.

FAU Professors Ask for Salary Increase Equal to FAU President’s

Friday, October 31, 2008.

Boca Raton – Citing the recent 10% raise given to President Frank Brogan by the Board of Trustees, Professors at Florida Atlantic University Friday asked FAU for a 10% raise for faculty. Professors noted that, under Brogan’s administration, FAU faculty salaries have fallen far below state and national averages and continue to decline at an alarming rate. FAU faculty have not had a pay raise since 2006.

While awarding Brogan with a 10% raise, the University offered the faculty a 1% raise and a one-time $1,000 bonus, which the Faculty Union (UFF) rejected. Union leaders noted that Brogan’s acceptance of the 10% raise at the same time as the faculty was offered a 1% raise has led to a general loss of confidence in his leadership and contributed to plummeting faculty morale.

FAU faculty are among the lowest paid on average in the state and country. The average salary of an associate professor at FAU is more than $4,000 less than that of their counterparts at Florida’s other public universities, according to 2007-08 payroll data from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Associate professors at FAU are paid $7,200 less on average than those of identical rank at Florida International University. Worse, FAU pay lags by as much as $13,000 behind FAU’s national peers institutions.

The Faculty Union contends that Brogan’s stated commitment to making FAU a world-class university is not matched by a commitment to maintaining competitive faculty salaries. As a result, many of the University’s best professors are leaving to take better offers elsewhere. Brogan and the FAU administration blame low faculty salaries on the bad economy. But UFF points out that other public universities in Florida have maintained more competitive salaries while FAU has not.

FAU Faculty urge Brogan and the Board of Trustees to make faculty salaries a priority. Faculty point to FAU’s new sources of revenue from the lease of broadcast spectrum to Clearwire Corporation and from a tuition hike of six percent recently passed by the legislature.

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