Strategy 2025 Documents

Faculty and Staff Retention, Recruitment and Well-being (Faculty & Staff Session 2 Recap)

Members of faculty and staff gathered online on April 16 for their Impact 2030 strategy session, facilitated by Smitha Warrier, associate professor in the department of anesthesiology. She thanked everyone for attending the session and started the presentation by discussing the purpose of the strategic planning process and goals of the university.

She asked general questions about mission, vision and values, and then directed participants to break into four subgroups. Two of these groups were for faculty members, divided alphabetically; and two of the groups were for staff members, divided alphabetically. Brief summaries of the verbal comments from the breakout sessions are below:

Faculty breakout 1

Members of this group gave few answers about what sets the U apart, suggesting that this was not a strong viewpoint for this group. They felt that access to affordable daycare was very important, and that it is important for the U to position itself as an advocate for the historically marginalized. The process for selecting faculty is not transparent, and non-tenure-line faculty are carrying a disproportionate load of teaching.

They mentioned that salaries are low, and faculty feel they are not supported by their leadership. Pay increases are subjective and faculty expressed an interest in more support for attending conferences, and a balanced workload of around 30 hours of week for clinical work to allow time for scholarship. The issue of workload was a primary topic, with faculty saying that workload expectations are becoming unreasonable and unsustainable.

Faculty breakout 2

Faculty in this group said that location is a primary attractor to the U, however the current political climate and expectations for high teaching load and high research output are detractors. Faculty highlighted the importance of campus visits in helping faculty to decide to come to the U, but the hiring process limits the number of visits. The cost of living, low salaries, and overreliance on student evaluations are deterrents for faculty. Better mentorship and improved flexibility, allowing work from home, could be better tools to retain faculty.

Staff breakout 1

More than 100 participants were in this staff breakout session. Participants noted that they value opportunities for career advancement, and would like to see more ways to do this at the U. One participant with a master’s degree noted that the average starting salary for staff with a master’s degree is $43,000 yet President Randall says average earnings for new U graduates is $65,000, and that is a striking contrast.

Staff value remote work options and would like more options for out-of-state employees. The group noted that staff feel dismissed because they are not faculty, and suggested implementing trainings for leaders to understand that staff have valuable input, inclusion of staff in institutional decision-making, and support groups. A key takeaway was the importance of creating a culture that values the ideas and contributions of staff.

Staff breakout 2

There were 96 participants in the second staff breakout session. Participants noted the positive functions of having good benefits, including tuition waivers, as reasons that make the U an appealing place to work. However, pervasive problems of a lack of opportunities for advancement, lagging pay and lack of support almost seemed to outweigh the positive, in terms of the time spent discussing the negatives.

New staff need more networking and orientation opportunities, it makes it hard for them to feel part of the community. Staff said they feel like they are treated as less than faculty, are not valued, and do not receive recognition for a job well done. They would appreciate more opportunities for professional growth and development.

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