“Nobody got into teaching to make money,” NSU Faculty Senate President Dr. Thomas Reynolds joked.
Higher education in Louisiana has long suffered from budget cuts across the board. On March 22, Lake Charles TV station KPLC reported that since 2008, more than $700 million in state funding has been cut from higher education in Louisiana. Budget cuts affect faculty and staff in addition to students, often causing them to make less money than average.
According to Louisiana Board of Regents statistics, faculty pay at NSU between 2013 and 2016 averaged roughly $11,600 under the state average for four-year public universities. Data for 2017 is not yet available.
“Faculty pay is a big issue,” Reynolds said. “We have a pay system where we often have to pay incoming employees more than current employees to be competitive with the market.”
The Faculty Senate president said they are working to make salaries more fair for long-time employees and new hires.
“We are hoping to address salary compression, which is where senior members’ salaries are too close to or even below new hire salaries,” Reynolds said.
Effective in the fall 2017 semester, NSU faculty received a pay raise of $2,500. All faculty received the raise except for those who had either been hired within the last year or recently received adjustments to pay.
“The fact that we did recently have a pay raise is significant,” Reynolds said. “It’s a sign that the university is moving towards meeting the needs of faculty and staff. But we’re still behind in appropriate compensation.”
The recent pay raise for NSU faculty as well as future raises are dependent on increases in enrollment rather than increases in funding, according to Reynolds.
Although he is unsure what plans are for future raises, Reynolds has faith that the university administration is doing the best with what they have.
“NSU faculty is focused on recruiting, retaining and graduating students,” he said. “Hopefully that will equate to pay raises so that student success leads to faculty success.”