Faculty Retention Rebounds; UNC Acting Preemptively

Following two years of dramatic rise in the number of faculty members lost due to failed attempts to keep them out of the hands of other schools, Carolina had a big improvement last year in keeping professors at home.

In 2009-10, in the early days of the University’s financial downturn, UNC lost 29 faculty members who it had tried to keep using counter offers — up from just eight the previous year. In 2010-11, it lost 46. Last year, the losses fell to 10.

“I am feeling pretty good after a couple of tough years,” Provost Bruce Carney told the UNC trustees Thursday. He said that was a healthy success rate but that faculty retention still is not as good as the normal rate.

One probable factor in the improved rate was preemptive offers — salary boosts and additional research money given to 78 professors who were believed to be potential targets of raids but had not received actual offers. These “helped stabilize our best faculty,” Carney told the trustees.

Most of last year’s raids — 32 percent — came from public universities. Private schools represented 23 percent, and other raids came from schools that are not members of the American Association of Universities, from private businesses and government and from foreign universities.

Carney listed examples of schools that had made offers to UNC faculty: Vanderbilt, Duke and Ohio State universities and the universities of Miami and Pittsburgh.

“The word is out about us,” Carney said.

Carolina plays the pirate as well, though statistics are not yet kept. Carney listed two coups in the past year — the Eshelman School of Pharmacy took an entire research group from the University of Nebraska, and the medical school did the same with a group that was based in Zambia.

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