Faculty Retention Hits Five-Year High

Carolina posted a 72 percent success rate in keeping faculty members who were recruitment targets of other universities in the last year – the highest in five years.

In the 2006-07 academic year, 87 faculty members received offers from other schools, and UNC made counter offers to 58 of them. Of the 58, 42 stayed and 16 left.

Four professional schools within the University – dentistry, education, social work and business – remained untouched despite offers from institutions such as Furman, Rice and Michigan.

UNC lost faculty to schools such as Princeton and Northwestern.

Steve Allred ’74, executive associate provost, told the Board of Trustees on July 26 that professors stay because they like Chapel Hill and the collegial atmosphere among the faculty and because of factors such as lab space, good graduate students and support for research.

What pulls members of UNC’s faculty to other universities, Allred said, are better health benefits, better tuition support for families and better domestic partner benefits.

Another factor in this year’s retention came from a $5 million recruitment and retention fund from the N.C. General Assembly to the UNC System. Almost $1 million from that fund was used by Carolina, leading to the recruitment of nine faculty members and the retention of six others.

“We can compete with other top public universities, but we have a harder time competing with elite private institutions,” Allred said. “It’s very hard for us to go head-to-head with Princeton.”

“We know that one of the main things that makes Carolina attractive is the support that faculty give to each other and receive from other faculty,” he said. “That’s really important. If you’re going to be spending 60 to 70 hours a week some place, you want it to be somewhere you like being.

“People like living here. If you’re choosing between living here and North Dakota, it might matter to you about the weather and cultural amenities.

“We are doing better overall in our salary competitiveness than we were. But it is still the case that elite private schools pay more and have more benefits than we do. If you’re talking about the Stanfords of the world – Princeton, Duke, Harvard, Yale – sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.”

Related coverage is available online:

  • Faculty Retention Rate Improved Last Year
    News report from October 2004
  • Catch and Release: The College of Arts and Sciences is losing more of the faculty who are sought by rival universities. While struggling for the salary money to keep top professors, Carolina also casts its hook on other campuses.
    Feature coverage from the July/August 2004 Carolina Alumni Review, available onbline to Carolina Alumni members.
  • UNC Losing Ground in Effort to Retain Top Professors
    Issues Department coverage from the November/December 2003 Carolina Alumni Review, available onbline to Carolina Alumni members.

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