Chancellor, provost advocate for faculty, staff pay increases

University leaders speak during Joint Finance Committee budget hearings

April 19, 2017

Two leaders from University of Wisconsin-Stout this week asked the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee for a remedy to the lagging salaries of its faculty and staff.

In separate appearances before the committee, which is holding hearings across the state on Gov. Scott Walker’s 2017-19 state budget proposal, Chancellor Bob Meyer and Provost Patrick Guilfoile said because salaries are so low, talented faculty and staff are leaving for better positions elsewhere.

Bob MeyerMeyer told the committee Tuesday, April 18, during its hearing in Spooner that the employment rate for new UW-Stout graduates is 97.4 percent and the combined starting salaries of the 2015-16 graduates was about $60 million.

“But a storm cloud rolling across the horizon could seriously affect our ability to produce that workforce of tomorrow,” Meyer said. “We are losing many talented and dedicated faculty and staff because our salaries are not competitive with other states, including Minnesota.”

Faculty salaries are 22 percent below their peers, Meyer said, and the rate of faculty departures is increasing.

Meyer asked the committee to support a 2 percent pay increase in the 2017-18 fiscal year and a similar increase in 2018-19. He also said it was important for the state to fully fund the UW System pay plan because institutions do not have the resources available to pay for those increases.

At the committee’s Wednesday, April 19, hearing in Ellsworth, Guilfoile, vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, reiterated Meyer’s call for salary increases for faculty and staff “to stop the exodus of valued employees from UW-Stout.

Patrick Guilfoile“I hope this committee will find a way to support a pay increase for our employees, because the quality of our faculty and staff make all the difference in the quality of education that we can offer our students, and competitive salaries help ensure we recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff,” Guilfoile said.

On other topics, Meyer referred to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to allocate $42.5 million in additional state assistance for the UW System based on a list of metrics intended to assess the individual campuses’ performances.

Meyer said he supports the concept of outcome-based funding, “but any system of outcome-based metrics has to be flexible enough to fit every UW institution, from UW-Madison to UW-Stout.”

Guilfoile thanked the Joint Finance Committee for deleting many nonfiscal items from Walker’s budget proposal. He then asked the committee to support a tuition plan forwarded by the Board of Regents that would freeze tuition in the first year of the biennium and allow an increase based on the consumer price index in the second year of the biennium.

Guilfoile concluded: “I can assure the committee that we would use the additional revenue from a small tuition increase to continue our efforts to meet the demands of businesses and industries in Wisconsin for the educated and job-ready workforce they need to grow the state’s economy and to develop well-rounded graduates who will make our great state an even better place in which to live.”

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Photos

Top: Bob Meyer

Bottom: Patrick Guilfoile