Thursday, April 27, 2000

NKU raising pay, benefits

Faculty, staff funds increased

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Faculty and staff at Northern Kentucky University learned Wednesday that they would be eligible for large merit raises, equity pay adjustments among departments, and, for the first time, free tuition for spouses and dependents.

        They also heard President James Votruba predict that raises would bring their pay closer to other Kentucky public universities.

        Despite his enthusiasm for the legislature's new generosity, Dr. Votruba cautioned, NKU remains the “most underfunded university in the Commonwealth.”

        It could have been worse, he said. Smaller raises would have left NKU “at such a competitive disadvantage that it threatens the future of our institution.”

        So Dr. Votruba:

        „Dedicated 83 percent of new discretionary funds to salary increases.

        „Asked every department to reallocate 1 per cent of its budget to activities that do a better job of enhancing the university's core values.

        He said administrators must ask, “Is everything that we are now doing more important than what we want to do and what the public frankly expects us to do?”

        The faculty pay fund will rise 6 percent in fiscal year 2001 and 7 percent in fiscal year 2002. That is all the biennial budget assures, but Dr. Votruba said he would press for another 6 percent in fiscal year 2003.

        Of the 6 percent, he said, 5 percentage points would go for individual merit raises and 1 point would be used to reduce salary disparities among NKU's four colleges.

        In the second year of the budget, that equity payment would rise to 2 percent, and 5 percent would be for merit raises.

        Regular and part-time faculty will be eligible for the increases, and Dr. Votruba set aside $350,000 for new faculty positions.

        His announcement that free tuition — up to six credits per term — will be available to faculty and staff spouses and dependents elicited the first applause during the budget presentation.

        In an interview after his midday presentation to the faculty and staff, Dr. Votruba said the historic budget was the most money ever allocated to NKU.

        How did he do it?

        “We made a compelling case that Northern is an important vehicle for economic and social progress, and we're a good investment. We told them that we do more with less than any other university in the Commonwealth.”


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