Spring 2007

Private gifts part of three-pronged strategy to support faculty

By Chancellor James Moeser

We have much to celebrate in Chapel Hill—in large part thanks to you.

But as great as it is to have exceeded the Carolina First Campaign’s $2 billion goal, we’re just as determined to maintain the campaign’s momentum in the drive’s closing months. That’s particularly true with faculty support. Faculty retention and recruitment remains our highest priority. We can’t be a leading university without outstanding faculty, and we must secure the resources to compete for them.

Carolina First has enabled us to take great strides. We’re closing in on our goal of endowing 200 professorships, with 193 so far. These chairs have been created across campus, from the College of Arts and Sciences to our professional schools. We’re also raising funds to support important faculty retention and recruitment initiatives—research stipends, summer programs, materials, graduate support and course development. And as you’ll read elsewhere in these pages, we’ve launched a special drive to raise an additional $100 million for faculty, increasing our goal for this area to $500 million.

But private support represents just one prong in a three-pronged strategy.

For several years, we’ve used campus-based tuition increases to bolster faculty compensation. These revenues have made a real difference—more than $24.6 million since we were authorized to use these funds in 2000-01 to address pressing campus priorities. In February, the UNC Board of Governors approved a series of increases, effective next fall, ranging from $250 for North Carolina undergraduates to $500 for graduate students to $1,250 for out-of-state undergraduates. More than 60 percent of the resulting revenue, approximately $5.5 million, will supplement any additional appropriations from the North Carolina General Assembly for faculty pay increases in fiscal 2007-08.

Such support has been invaluable in past years in which the General Assembly was unable to appropriate significant funding for faculty. At the same time, we’ve made these gains without harming students’ accessibility to Carolina. With this year’s campus-based tuition increase, as with past increases, we’ll set aside 35 percent of resulting revenue for need-based aid.

Our strategy’s third prong comes from UNC President Erskine Bowles and the General Administration. He’s seeking merit-based 4 percent salary increases for faculty in both of the next two years, following raises that averaged about 6 percent last year. The president also has asked for another $87.6 million to bring the average faculty salary at each UNC campus to the 80th percentile of its public peers. For us, this would mean $20.7 million over the next two years.

The president’s budget also seeks $2 million across the UNC system for more distinguished professorships created by the state’s Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund. In Carolina First, we have been enormously effective in leveraging these state appropriations with private gifts.

President Bowles’ proposals put some real muscle behind our collective push to improve faculty salaries. By far, this was the best set of proposals we have had to work with before a legislative session in recent history. We’re grateful for the president’s leadership and support.

Thanks to our generous donors, modest campus-based tuition increases and the promise of President Bowles’ proposals, our strategy to keep the best faculty in Chapel Hill and bring more of them here is positioned for success.