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Faculty Retention Rate Improved Last Year

Carolina lost fewer faculty members in the 2003-04 academic year to other institutions than in years past – essentially reversing, at least temporarily, a three-year trend in which the success-failure rate in fending off raids from other schools had slipped from 60-40 to 40-60.

Administrators said the improvement was due in part to several University efforts to improve faculty retention.

Of the 69 faculty members who received external offers in 2003-04, 43 were retained by the University, a 62 percent retention rate. The retention percentage in the College of Arts and Sciences was 57 percent.

“If you were to do a two-year comparison, it would look great,” said Executive Associate Provost Steve Allred, who offered two reasons:

– Increases in campus-based tuition, which played a “critical role,” he said. “We used these funds as the basis for salary offers and increases.”

– Efforts by Provost Robert Shelton to offer salary increases to faculty members before they received a formal offer from another institution. Allred said his office encouraged school deans and department chairs to communicate with faculty considering leaving Carolina and to “sit down and say, ‘Tell us what’s going on. What would it take for you not to pursue this offer?’ ”

Concern about the number of faculty leaving for new positions prompted UNC administrators in the summer of 2003 to investigate the factors that draw faculty to Carolina and those that cause them to consider leaving.

The Office of Institutional Research, the Office of Faculty Governance and the Office of the Provost surveyed faculty members in March about their perceptions of the working environment at UNC, salary and benefits, and other issues. About half of the University’s 3,000 faculty members responded to the survey, which was conducted primarily through the Internet.

Faculty Chair Judith Wegner presented results from the survey at a Faculty Council meeting Oct. 8. A survey report distributed at the meeting summarized the results and offered a list of 20 common concerns.

According to the survey report, nearly two-thirds of the faculty who responded believed that their salaries did not correspond to their contributions to the University. The same proportion expressed the belief that the only way to get a raise in salary was to receive an offer from another institution.

The concerns listed include issues about how salaries and raises are determined, employment benefits, workplace environment and support, and resources and recognition available to faculty. At the Faculty Council meeting, Wegner asked faculty representatives to comment on the survey findings and to offer feedback on issues to be addressed in the future.


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