Rookies make more than experienced college faculty in Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

Rookies make more than experienced college faculty in Nevada

Cy Ryan
Special to the Appeal

Rookie professors make higher salaries than the experienced university teachers in some cases at the Nevada System of Higher Education.

A legislative committee received a report Tuesday salaries in general are competitive with other similar universities. But the study by Gallagher Human Resources & Consulting found there was a major problem in "compression" of the salary schedule. James Fox, of the Minnesota-based company, told the committee new professors are paid at a higher rate than those who have been with the system.

And in other cases, some professors are earning more than their superiors.

The Legislative Committee on the Cost and Affordability of Higher Education also heard testimony from faculty representatives the take home pay of teachers is 13 percent less than it was in 2008.

Kent Ervin, the legislative liaison for the Nevada Faculty Alliance, said the national turnover rate of faculty is 6 percent but it's 16 percent at UNLV and 11 percent at UNR.

"We're losing qualified faculty," he said

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The legislative committee will make its recommendations June 4 for consideration by the 2019 Legislature.

There are an estimated 6,000 faculty members and more than 100,000 students in the system. The 2017 Legislature allocated $1.2 billion or 15.3 percent of the state's two-year general fund a system budget of $7.9 billion. The regents are expected to meet this summer to propose a budget for the next two fiscal years.

Fox told the committee it would take an extra $90 million in the next year to cure the "compression" problem. But Ervin, noting the state's economic position, suggested a slower approach of 5 to 10 years to solve the "compression" problem.

Ervin also challenged the Gallagher report the salaries in the university system were generally competitive. He said pay was 17 percent behind comparable colleges.

Fox said each school in the system was compared with 60 similar schools.

Ervin said in 2008 the Legislature deleted any money for performance or merit pay. And so far, that money has not been restored.

His figures showed student fees are now supporting 35 percent of the school's budgets.

Documents show registration fees for undergraduate students at the universities are $224 per credit; $157 per credit at the Nevada State College in Clark County; $161.75 per credit for upper division students in the community colleges and $95 per credit in the lower divisions of the community colleges.

Committee members Sen. Moises Denis, D-Las Vegas and Assemblyman Chris Edwards, R-Las Vegas, expressed concern student fees would be raised to help solve the "compression" problem. Edwards said this could put the students further in debt. Denis said this may prevent students from going to the universities or community colleges.

The Gallagher study said the salary schedule shows the midpoint salary for a professor in the university system is $108,873 which is 12-29 percent higher than similar institutions. In the community colleges, the report shows the mid-range point was $82,162

But the report showed certain salaries in the various categories were below the mid-range in comparison to other similar schools. For instance, a professor in business-finance is 19 percent lower than peers in similar schools. And those in marketing, management and human resources are 13.8 percent below professors in other similar schools.

The Gallagher report didn't count the benefit packages such as retirement and health insurance.