LSU faculty pleased but not satisfied with rare pay raise

Saturday, July 27, 2013 - 12:00pm

For the first time since 2008, LSU is giving its faculty members raises.

LSU president F. King Alexander announced the raises during Friday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

"At a time when some economies are improving around the country, we know we must do better," he said.

The raises will be as much as four percent, depending on the employee and the institution s/he works for.

LSU has dropped in recent national rankings, in part because of financial conditions at the state level.

"Losing a net loss of 220 faculty members has significant impact on our class sizes, significant impact on the morale of campus," Alexander noted.

He hopes the salary boost will also help the school's image as it competes to retain and acquire top talent.

"We think will put us back on, at least, the right footing to start making some progressive gains in the academic marketplace," he said, "as well as for our staff, and not losing staff."

The money came from a combination of savings over the last couple of years, and expected increases in tuition and enrollment.

"I think that this points out that universities are far more efficient than many people have imagined," said Kevin Cope, president of LSU's faculty senate.

Cope has been vocal in recent months about the need to fairly compensate faculty members. He was pleased Alexander acted so quickly after taking his position, but said more discussions will be necessary..

"Well, fair is an interesting question. That is, it's probably fair in relation to the state of the economy, but it's not fair altogether, considering the faculty have lost so much buying power over the last five or six years."

Four percent also might not be enough to keep the best professors from leaving for other universities.

"Well, it's not going to stop. But this is sort of putting a Band-Aid in place where a tourniquet is required. But a Band-Aid is better than nothing.

"It's going to stop some. it's going to give some people hope. It's going to, perhaps, lead some people to take those U-Hauls or Ryders and turn them around in the other direction and come back. We have a lot more to do in order to stop the blood-letting completely."

Alexander said no date has been set for when the raises would take effect.

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