Raise granted to university employees

Story by Kyle Davis

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Two weeks ago, Chief Operating Officer Susan Lindahl saw a quote from Thomas Jefferson, which read, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

As the Baker University Board of Trustees met on the Baldwin City campus Friday, Lindahl was reminded of that message in relation to Baker.

“You have to be vigilant,” Lindahl said. “And I thought, for us, I think there’s an awareness in the room that moving forward, growth and mission are very linked. We have to be very vigilant that we have the financials to support that growth.”

The BOT passed the parameters for the 2011-2012 budget, which included a tuition increase and the amount allowed for the endowment distribution. The university will take out $500,000 from the endowment, which is what was also taken out this year. However, an additional $250,000 can also be made available from the endowment to fund new projects.

“I was pleased that the board approved the $250,000 extra that, when we have growth initiatives, we can really invest in (projects) that are going to make a difference,” University President Pat Long said. “We’re conservative, we’re cautious, because we want to get through one more year.”

Under the new parameter, the tuition for the College of Arts and Sciences will increase 5 percent, from $22,200 to $23,310. Also, a 2 percent raise was approved for all faculty and staff, which comes after a 2 percent pay cut was taken during the reduction and reallocation process last year.

“It’s the starting of a rebuilding process,” Long said. “As we move forward, that will be my No. 1 priority, is to see what we can do for our human resources. We’ve got to keep great faculty and great services for our students.”

The day came to a close with a reception honoring the promotion of several faculty members.

Alan Grant, associate professor of business and economics, was granted tenure and a promotion to professor, Joe Watson, assistant professor of mass media, was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor and Sandra Schumm, associate professor of Spanish, was also given a promotion to full professor. All promotions will begin at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.

“It’s a very incredible reward because we want so much to invest in people,” Lindahl said.

Trustee Kathy Rainen enjoyed the chance to hear from the Baker faculty members who were honored at the reception.

“I’m always impressed by the faculty … how their hearts and souls are in it,” she said.