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Jan. 30, 2014 Volume 35, No. 17

Merit raises for qualifying faculty could be in February paychecks

Administrators base raises on performance rather than retention or seniority

Faculty raises, information technology security and a report on MU’s nuclear engineering curricula were topics Jan. 23 at the first Faculty Council meeting of the spring semester.

Merit Raises

Select faculty are scheduled to receive merit raises that could be in February paychecks, Interim Provost Ken Dean said. Dean received 224 faculty nominations from campus deans, coming to $2.21 million. But funds allocated for faculty raises are about $1.7 million.

Two criteria for merit raises were the nominee’s research grants and number of citations.

Sudarshan Loyalka, Curators Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of the Faculty Affairs Standing Committee, took issue with the amount of some of the requested raises; there are five requests exceeding $30,000 and six of $25,000.

“These are huge raises in a time of limited funds and when most faculty will receive no raises,” Loyalka said.

Some council members said they did not favor raises when implemented as a counter offer to retain a professor being wooed by another university.  

“This is not first and foremost about retention,” Dean responded. “It is about performance. The worse thing that could happen would be [if instructors] only got a pay raise after they got another offer.” The raises are about rewarding good work, though Dean added that he approves several counter offers to MU instructors each year.

Mid-year merit raises are part of MU’s Strategic Operating Plan. Dean said he is assembling a committee of faculty, administrators and a student to evaluate this and other aspects of the plan.

Tech Security

Beth Chancellor, associate chief information officer and chief information security officer at the University of Missouri System, discussed information technology security. With the growing use of personal smartphones, laptops, desktops, tablets and flash drives for work, faculty and staff might be out of compliance with MU policies safeguarding electronic content. 

Among the tips from Chancellor:

  • When connecting to campus network or campus resources, use VPN or other secure remote access services as deemed appropriate by the Division of Information Technology.
  • Put a PIN or pattern on portable devices, including smartphones and iPads.
  • Use mapped network drives or collaboration applications provided by campus to store work files rather than storing files exclusively on a workstation computer. This will protect content in the event of a hard drive crash.
  • Do not join unsecure wireless networks when working or use VPN or other secure remote access services.
  • Report the loss or theft of a device, regardless of ownership, to MU Police, IT Support and to UM System’s Information Security Office.
  • Encrypt personal devices, including flash drives, that hold DCL4 data, a highly restricted data classification level that holds passwords, Social Security numbers, laws and standards, patient information, and credit card numbers. If you own a device that can’t be encrypted, you should not store DCL4 data on it.
  • Do not download suspicious or obscure applications onto your computer, and never click on links in emails.
  • Use common sense and best practices when traveling, especially abroad.

Nuclear Engineering Report

Controversy over MU’s Nuclear Engineering Program and the Nuclear Sciences Engineering Institute led to the creation on Sept. 18, 2013, of a committee appointed by Faculty Council Chair Craig Roberts to research the history of both entities. On the committee were Jay Dow, professor of political science; Paul Ladehoff, director of the LL.M in Dispute Resolution program; Bill Wiebold, professor of plant sciences; and Bill Lamberson, professor of animal sciences and chair of the committee.

The committee reviewed more than 1,500 pages of documents and interviewed 12 people. “We tried to lay out what happened, no fault or blame,” Lamberson said. After council members read the report, they can submit questions to Lamberson. The questions will be discussed with committee members and answered in written form.

The seven-page report was released Jan. 21 and can be read at facultycouncil.missouri.edu by clicking on “Nuclear Engineering” under the heading Issues of Current Interest.