Two forums scheduled for Oct. 22 and 23 will open a faculty discussion of MU’s salary inequities and continued affordability in the face of low state appropriations and a budget deficit that have plagued the university for nearly five years.
“It’s important that (faculty and staff) understand the whole context so they can see the magnitude of the issue,” Provost Brian Foster said. “The sky is not falling, but the point is we have to fix the fiscal situation so it doesn’t do serious damage.”
MU’s fiscal situation has been characterized in recent years by a decline in state funding that has strained the university’s budget. In fact, state funding has fallen from 25 percent of MU’s budget in 2002 to about 19 percent of MU’s budget this year.
Foster said MU has tried to balance the budget in several ways. The university has refrained from raising salaries enough to remain competitive among the Association of American Universities, an association of the 62 leading research institutions in the United States and Canada. A new proposal would raise faculty salaries within three years to the median salary of public AAU institutions.
MU has also consistently raised tuition, a measure that will now be limited by the tuition caps imposed on the university by Senate Bill 389, which was signed by the governor in May.
Finally, MU has made considerable cuts and reallocations recently, including eliminating staff positions and merging offices. Future measures could include leaving vacant positions unfilled.
MU’s Compete Missouri plan, which is expected to generate $7 million by July for faculty salaries by consolidating and reallocating current funds, previously came under fire by faculty who felt neglected in the decision-making process. Read an earlier Missourian story here.
The forums, sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Faculty Council, are open to faculty members, although space is limited to 50 people at each one. Interested faculty should register by e-mailing MUFacultyOpenForums@missouri.edu.