Faculty’s work pays off as university reaches its goals

Jamie Shearer

Kent State professors are getting a bonus.

Provost Robert Frank announced in an e-mail to faculty members Friday that they would receive a cut of money gained through fundraising, funded research and increased student retention.

In the e-mail, Frank wrote “Our achievements were remarkable,” and reported that fundraising rose from $32.5 million to $46 million, and funded research rose from $28.2 million to $37 million.

The success pool, which only applies to tenure-track faculty, was proposed by the administration as an incentive for them to work toward increased fundraising, more funded research and higher retention numbers.

The amount of the pool is based on the growth of these three parts – the higher the growth, the larger the pool. It will then be divided equally among tenure-track faculty.

“It’s kind of hard to point to individual efforts, especially in retention,” said Kara Robinson, American Association of University Professors Kent State chapter president. “Those are success stories, but faculty members don’t necessarily keep track of who they’ve encouraged to stay.”

President Lester Lefton told Daily Kent Stater editors freshmen retention grew 6 percent this semester.

“We’re going to be giving bonuses to our faculty Dec. 1 because of the great work they do,” he said.

The amount each professor receives won’t be available until the figures are final, but President Lefton said faculty will receive their bonuses this semester.

A $15.2 million state grant to the Liquid Crystal Institute helped the university reach its funded research goal. A team composed of researchers from LCI, physics, chemistry, mathematics and biological sciences created the grant-winning proposal for Ohio Research Scholars Program.

In order for the university to make its retention goal, it will need to be at least 73 percent. Although the university won’t know the exact retention rate until Sept.15, Wayne Schneider, director of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, said it will be above the goal.

“I think the faculty will be very happy,” he said.

Robinson said he was pleased that the administration proposed this incentive.

“We were excited that they were willing to recognize the faculty contribution to the university in such a way,” she said.

But Robinson also added “The one thing people in the bargaining unit need to keep in mind is this is a bonus. It doesn’t go to their base salary. It’s kind of like a stimulus check.”

Contact academic affairs reporter Jamie Shearer at [email protected].