The Weekly Blab
Volume 6, Issue 4—September 5, 2011
Overpaid and Underloved
For those of you who missed it, the Atlanta Journal Constitution ran an article in Sunday’s paper as part of their AJC Investigation series entitled “No Recession in College Pay”. The main point of the article was that while the state was cutting its budget, the University System of Georgia was increasing the number of people making $100,000 or more by 30%, and the number making $200,000 or more by 46%. The usual host of people was quoted as saying how terrible and unfair this increase is. Well, how terrible is it?
A lot of the increase is just a function of simple growth. When a University grows (and SPSU has grown by 23.6% in enrollment from 2007-2010, according to numbers at the USG website), it hires new faculty and staff, and it has to pay market rates to get them. The University System as a whole has grown by 15% over this period. So, much of the increase is simply a function that the university system has grown. Did the article adjust the numbers to take growth or increases in average faculty/staff salaries into account? No.
Who are the people making all this money? The article listed the top 10 salaries in the state (none of which are at SPSU, of course). Three were presidents (Georgia Tech, UGA, and Macon State College [which included much deferred compensation—his regular salary wouldn’t have made the list]), one was a business professor at Georgia State, and the rest were all faculty, chairs, or deans at the Medical College of Georgia. As to more “regular” faculty and staff, since the article used annual salaries, any faculty member who makes a base salary of $75,000 and teaches a full load in the summer would qualify for the list. Money from research funding shows up in the annual pay as well. Did the article factor out the number of faculty who are in this category because of summer pay or research funding? No.
The article did quote the Chancellor as saying that Georgia’s faculty compensation dropped from 5th to 7th over this period among 16 states (I assume the 16 states are the SREB, but the article doesn’t say). It did note that the universities in Georgia compete with the rest of the country for the top faculty and administrators. So, the analysis begs an obvious question: What would be a fair and competitive salary to pay a faculty member (or administrator) with a Ph.D. and multiple years of service to teach our students to build tomorrow’s economy and meet tomorrow’s challenges? Did the article answer this question? No.
Shake It, Don’t Break It
Kudos to Profs. Oncul (CET), Barham, and Oguzmert (CE) for overseeing an innovative project of building a house out of rubble with charity organization Conscience International. In Haiti, there is a need for inexpensive housing and there is a lot of post-earthquake rubble available. Houses can be built by hand (no power tools needed!) by loading the rubble into wire frames that serve as walls, and covering the outside with a concrete stucco. The faculty and their students will be testing how well the house can withstand shaking from earthquakes. You can follow the construction progress on the Rubble-House webpage.
Meanwhile back in Washington…
Many of you will recall that Arthur Vaughn (of SPSU business office) was responsible for getting Dr. John Carter (the initial project manager for the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial foundation) to speak on our campus last year about how the memorial went from being a dream to reality. The talk was reported in a previous BLAB. You may have read that the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opening ceremony on August 26 was postponed because of the hurricane. It turns out that only the public ceremony was affected—a private ceremony was held a few days earlier (before the hurricane was due) for people involved in the project, and Arthur Vaughn was there. Arthur shared some pictures from the ceremony, one of which can be seen below:
Polytechnic Summit Redux
SPSU will be hosting the 4th annual Polytechnic Summit this coming June, before it packs up and goes to Wentworth Institute of Technology up in Boston. Last year’s summit was a great success, which we’d like to repeat. If you are interested in working on the Polytechnic Summit Task Force, please send me an email. Also, this would be a good time to start thinking about the paper or workshop you would like to present at the Summit, to encourage your students to present their research there, and to begin designing your departmental exhibit. More details as we roll along.
Last Week’s Winner
Last week’s questions on songs that have the word “moon” in their titles drew a huge number of responses, with multiple entrants getting all five right. First with all the correct answers, and winning the Bruce Springsteen DVD “Live in Barcelona” was Ann Parker (ETCMA and Honors Program).
This Week’s Challenge
Everyone liked songs about the moon so much, I thought we’d go with something similar—songs with something astronomical (other than the moon) in their titles, or in the singer’s name. First with the correct answers wins a Paul McCartney DVD of the PETA Concert (also featuring the B-52’s!). No looking up the answers now!