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UND ADMINISTRATORS, CHAIRS GOBBLE UP RAISE MONEY

The Herald headline of the May 20 report, "UND wants to boost top salaries," states concisely the content.

I am experiencing deja vu -- flashes of discussions with the UND administration in 1971-1972 when I was chair of the American Association of University Professor's Faculty Salary and Welfare committee.

At the time we attempted to get faculty salaries up to the regional level, equal pay for women equity under the merit system and an earlier payment of our salary in the fall semester.

In the talks, I realized what a gulf exists in our thinking and attitudes. As in business and government bureaucracies as if by rote tradition and culture, the number of people are guiding in whatever goal determines your worth. Status and financial rewards. As low as day does night. However, full-time teachers end up guiding as many as, if not more people than administrators. Instead of higher salaries, faculty are given mere lip of the university.

Will raising the salaries of administrators to a regional level, while those of professors are still below the regional level, improve the university? At universities such as Columbia, Southern Illinois and Texas, teachers and scholars are given salaries that equal or surpass those of administrators. Such experiments have been the traditional approach at Harvard and Yale for years.

Unfortunately, a two-tier system exists among UND faculty. Inequity develops when permanent administrators view department chairs as kin. Although these faculty members function as temporary caretakers of departmental business, some chairs are given large boosts in salary over full-time faculty that last beyond their tenure as departmental chairs. By this practice, administrators spread inequity. A reporter from the Herald service -- professors are the heart and soul need only check the salary schedule in the Chester Fritz archives to discover this. A grim joke among faculty appeared almost two decade ago. We should rotate the chair every three years to boost faculty salaries in general.

Recently the kudos by the administration, well supposed by the Herald, have concentrated on the high profile grant- and money-gathering skills of those leaving the university. If this attitude persists, some of the sciences, most of the humanities, and the arts will become appendages, not the center, of a liberal arts institution.

During the depressions in the '30s Big Ten universities were not built by football, but by a number of educators who wanted these institutions to be Yales or Harvards of the Midwest. Many of our outstanding UND professors come from universities or colleges with such a tradition. At the best institutions in the United States, this tradition has been revitalized, while UND is obsessed with a money market mentality. As students flood the gates, "critical need" money seems to flow to administrators when it should be directed to correct some of our drastic institutional ills.

The English department now has more part-time, non-faculty lecturers, some of whom do not have advanced degrees in English, that it does regular faculty. The math department cannot replace faculty who have left this year. Short of using senior undergraduates to each lower division courses, which one administrator suggested the math department simply will not be able to offer enough sections even to come close to meeting student demands. Right now, some students will have to stretch a tour year undergraduate program to five or six years just to get the basic liberal arts courses they need. And, there are numerous and critical equipment needs throughout the campus.

Since the "executive branch" of UND intends to give itself from 8 to 12 percent raises, it should be realized that under the 8 percent allotted to faculty, many professors will receive as little as 4 percent because of an ill-defined merit system. At a time when university morale had reached an all-time low, this was the year to share me raises even across the board.

The Herald noted that not all critical need money will go to executive. One professor in chemistry and two for business and finance will be funded. To those of us who face grave problems in our departments, this seems to be tokenism. Fences should be mended between the faculty and administration. A change in attitude practice and vision has become a necessity.

McCaffrey, an English professor, chairs Faculty Salary and Welfare Committee of the UND chapter of the North Dakota Higher Education Association.

Reference: Grand Forks Herald, May 28, 1989