Faculty Senate compares salaries, tenure, President’s compensation to benchmark universities

Infographic of changes to President Caboni’s contract

The Faculty Senate met Thursday to discuss faculty and staff compensation and President Timothy Caboni’s upcoming raise, as well as expectations for Fall 2021 and officer elections.

James Barker, faculty senator representing the Philosophy & Religion department, offered an amendment to a resolution raising concerns about Caboni’s 8% salary raise despite the lack of compensation increases for faculty and staff. 

Barker compared the salaries of university presidents, faculty and staff of benchmark universities to WKU and found that WKU’s faculty and staff compensation ranked last, while Caboni’s raise would bring him to the fifth highest among similar universities. 

“As best I can tell, WKU ranks dead last in faculty salaries compared to all eighteen of our benchmark institutions,” Barker said in an email.

According to Barker, a minimum raise of $11,000 per year, per tenure-eligible faculty member is what would be required for WKU faculty and staff to meet the median of benchmark universities. Barker proposed to add this information to the resolution.

“We are not remotely close to our peers,” Barker said.

This resolution was passed with Barker’s amendment. 

After this discussion, Provost Cheryl Stevens discussed course modality for the Fall 2021 semester. She stated that course modality will be decided at the department level rather than individual professors.

“I recognize that there are faculty who have personal situations going on that might lead them to want to be teaching remotely,” Stevens said. “We have mechanisms to make those requests if it’s not aligned with what the best pedagogical practice would be for those courses.”

According to Stevens, 18.2% of courses will be held online during the Fall 2021 semester, as opposed to 40.1% of courses being online during the Fall 2020 semester. The number of online courses will be up 2% from Fall 2019. 

After this resolution was passed, the senate held elections for next year’s Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary. 

Professor Julie Lee was nominated for Chair, and was elected unopposed.

Professor Janet Applin was nominated for Vice Chair, and was elected unopposed.

Professor April Murphy nominated herself for Secretary, and was elected unopposed.

For more on the Faculty Senate and upcoming meetings, visit their website.

Jacob Latimer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jacoblatimer_.