Drastic pay cuts to UW-Milwaukee’s faculty and staff was one of the ways that UWM has decided to cope with a decrease in overall funding, which was spurred by decreasing freshman enrollment. Chancellor Michael Lovell addressed the recruitment and workplace initiative at his plenary address this past September, and how the school is planning on getting the faculty and staff competitive salaries.
Lovell believes staff retention is a significant factor that must be addressed. For the purpose of recruiting and keeping quality educators, the salaries of the faculty and staff members should at least be at “market value.”
“We are doing everything we can with the existing campus funds to make faculty and staff salaries more competitive,” Lovell said at the plenary. “These funds are not nearly enough to address the significant salary compression on our campus.”
The Best Place to Work Initiative is designed to develop and implement plans to foster a positive work environment. This initiative addresses the compensation of the employees.
Currently the average 12-month base salary for a professor at UWM stands at approximately $66,100 according to the university’s website. An instructor, however, will make around $36,000 per year. Comparatively, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a full-time professor makes around $71,000 a year whereas a basic instructor earns on average $44,676.
With professors at Milwaukee making significantly less than their counterparts at larger universities, Lovell is making it a priority to adequately pay its professors in the ballpark of their peers at other institutions. This is intended to bring in more qualified professors, which will in turn bring in more students to receive a quality education.
With the competing salaries of universities in Madison and Milwaukee, there are students who feel that increasing the salaries of professors could positively reflect the outcome of the education of students.
“I think an increase in pay can be beneficial while giving professors incentive to teach because they’re getting paid more,” said Jamesetta Davis, a junior at UWM.
Davis believes that the pay raises will cause jobs to be more competitive while pushing educators to be more creative in the many facets of teaching. Structuring lesson plans, study sessions and being readily available to the needs of the students are examples of what could potentially improve.
“I think it would affect teaching here positively because the professors would feel more obligated to prepare their lesson plans better, have better lectures and figure out how to get their students to co-me to lecture more,” she said.
With the retention rate of the staff and students being the main objective in order to pay the staff for their quality, The Best Place to Work Initiative has been created for that purpose specifically.
“At the heart of campus climate is the compensation of our most valuable competitive asset – our employees,” Lovell said.