Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

UF plans $11-million in faculty incentives

Hoping to boost morale and stem the exodus of top professors, Florida's largest public university will set aside more than $11-million in tuition revenue for faculty merit raises and staffer cost-of-living increases.

University of Florida president Bernie Machen called the merit plan, announced Friday, an "attempt to stem the brain drain" of professors who are leaving for jobs in states where the support for higher education is more stable.

Under the plan, UF's more than 8,300 staffers will get cost-of-living raises of 2 percent or $600, whichever is greater, starting with their Sept. 19 paychecks. The pool of money available for faculty merit raises will be expanded by 3 percent, and deans will decide how to dole out the money. That means some of UF's 5,285 faculty members could get raises of more than 3 percent, while others could get less.

The faculty and staff unions would have to agree on the conditions, university spokesman Steve Orlando said. The state's budget for 2008-09 does not include raises for state employees.

Machen said he anticipates some criticism from faculty and staff members who would rather see the tuition revenue used to avoid layoffs or to fill vacant positions.

"But I look at this as an investment in what we have," he said. "It's not a huge amount of money for one individual. But we needed to show the employees that even in bad times, we're focusing on our priorities and putting the faculty and staff above everything."

Florida State University administrators are exploring similar faculty raises and staff subsidies to cover rising costs.

All of Florida's public schools are in a difficult spot these days, with their annual budgets shrinking by tens of millions of dollars, thanks to Florida's declining economy.

And research institutions like the University of South Florida are trying to boost their performance and national profile — an achievement that depends largely on top faculty.

In recent months, dozens of professors have left for places such as Vanderbilt, Northwestern and the University of South Carolina, where administrators are unabashed in their plans to "poach" from Florida.

By giving out raises, Machen hopes to send a message .

“People can handle short-term difficulty. The thing that's beginning to worry people is, 'Will it be this way for five or 10 years?' " he said. "We're trying to show, 'Hey, it's awful right now, but we're still giving out raises.' "

Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403.

UF plans $11-million in faculty incentives 07/25/08 [Last modified: Saturday, July 26, 2008 12:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Seminole Heights restaurants face struggles amid killings, post-Irma

    Food & Dining

    SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — The neighborhood's hip circle of popular, well-regarded restaurants is feeling the squeeze in the wake of a recent killing spree. And the timing is rough.

    Ella's American Folk Art Cafe. Times files
  2. St. Pete-Clearwater holding food, supply drive for hurricane refugees


    CLEARWATER — St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Allegiant Air are holding a food and supply drive for the Hispanic Outreach Center in Pinellas County. The event, which will benefit refugees displaced by Hurricane Maria, will be held Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the airport at 14700 Terminal Blvd.

    St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Allegiant Air are hosting a food and supplies drive Tuesday for refugees displaced by Hurricane Maria. | [Times file photo]
  3. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  4. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.
  5. Tallest building in Pinellas County in search of a new name

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — The name "Priatek" is gone from Pinellas County's tallest building, perhaps to be replaced by that of a much better-known company new to the Tampa Bay area.

    The Priatek name is off of downtown St. Petersburg's tallest building.
 [LARA CERRI  |   Times.  2015]