Rewarding professors for KSU’s successs

Maria Nann

As part of new contract provisions, Kent State has set up a system to reward professors for helping the university maintain certain aspects of higher education.

This success pool focuses on three core areas the university hopes to improve: retention, fund raising and research. Starting in the 2009-2010 school year, if Kent State meets certain goals in these three areas, the university will provide faculty members with bonuses. The bonuses, which will not be added to faculty salary bases, will be reset every year depending on whether goals are met.

While the success pool focuses on raising money for the three specific areas, the money that will be put into the pool will come from another source.

Yank Heisler, interim vice president for business and finance, said the money will come from an educational and general fund, which is part of the university’s annual budget. The fund, which grows each year, allows Kent State’s president to invest money in areas where the university might take in additional revenue.

“We wanted to share the success with (professors) because they’re an important part of achieving that success,” Heisler said.

Tom Neumann, associate vice president for university communications and marketing, said the merit pool is focusing on all the right things to help students in the university.

A third of the success pool is determined by student retention.

If first-year retention increases .5 percent from the previous year, the university will place 40 percent of those increases from tuition and other educational costs in the success pool.

Higher retention rates show Kent State is providing the proper services for its students, Neumann said.

“Retention points to students being successful in the university,” he said.

In addition to retention, the merit pool will be affected by research funding as well.

For increases exceeding $2 million from the previous year’s total grant income, Kent State will place 20 percent in the pool’s fund.

The university wants to promote research funding through the success pool because these grant funding increases will allow the university to hire high-quality faculty for students, Neumann said. It also will allow students the opportunity to participate in more research projects, raising the quality of their education.

The third goal the university wishes to reach as part of the merit pool funding is in the area of institutional development, or fund raising.

If the university’s fund raising goes above $2.8 million, Kent State will place 2 percent of the increase in the success pool.

Neumann said increases in fund raising will positively affect students, providing more money for scholarships and other financial help. The additional money will also help the university make improvements to student facilities.

Geology professor Abdul Shakoor said that the success pool would benefit both professors and students.

“It’s an incentive for faculty because they are being rewarded for their work,” he said. “They can carry that to the classroom and teach with greater enthusiasm.”

Shakoor said the incentive of the success pool will make professors compete, prepare better and do a better job.

“We’re supposed to do a good job, anyway,” he said laughing. “But that’s an additional incentive to do well in the classroom.”

Contact academic affairs reporter Maria Nann at [email protected]