Employee reps share need for salary increases with regents

In their annual appeal to the state Board of Regents April 12, Iowa State's faculty and professional staff representatives said the burden of "doing more with less" is taking its toll. Faculty Senate president Tim Day and Professional and Scientific Council president Jessica Bell were among the regent employee representatives invited to address salary issues ahead of the board's discussion of the topic in June.

Day said that due to rising enrollments in the last decade, tuition "stuck" at the bottom of ISU's land-grant peer group and the state's defunding of higher education, faculty have been asked to do more with less -- and "have answered that call pretty well."

"Faculty on average are teaching 35 percent more student credit hours than they were a decade ago with better results in the form of increasing retention and graduation rate, decreased time to graduation and decreased student debt at graduation," Day said. "All the while, doing a better job of attracting external research dollars (a 22 percent increase since 2013).

"So, while they've answered the call, our faculty are mired at the very bottom of our peer group in terms of salaries," he said.

The result was an uptick in tenured faculty resignations last year.

"I think we're seeing a leading indicator of what could be a crippling loss in faculty and faculty morale at Iowa State," he told the board.

He concluded, "Supporting and retaining our best faculty is absolutely critical to supporting and protecting our place in public higher education and supporting a modern and healthy economy in the state of Iowa."

Bell, too, told board members that Iowa State's P&S employees are doing more with less, taking on additional work when open positions can't be filled "without the hope of meaningful salary increases."

"Two years of midyear deappropriations have left many of us working more hours, overstressed and without prospects for improvement in sight. Employee morale is at a dangerously low level," she said, and retaining high-quality employees is a challenge.

While salary increases won't "fix" employee morale, they would "go a long way to address some of the systemic concerns we are facing."

Bell commended President Wendy Wintersteen for her commitment to salary increases this year and asked board members to "do whatever you can to help her accomplish this."

Promotion and tenure

The board approved promotion and tenure requests for 81 ISU faculty. That number includes 52 promotions to associate professor with tenure, 28 promotions for faculty already with tenure and one tenure-only award. The faculty list features 34 women and 47 men. The promotions officially take effect for the 2018-19 academic year.

The table below shows that while faculty numbers have remained steady, the makeup of the group has shifted over the last three years.

ISU faculty by tenure status

Faculty group








Tenure track




Non-tenure track








Source: 2018-19 Annual Faculty Tenure Report, State Board of Regents

In other business the board approved:

  • Housing and dining rates for next year. Residence hall rates will go up 2.9 percent and apartment rates 1.9 percent. In dollars, the increases vary from $119 to $254 for the year, depending on the hall and room style. Apartment increases vary from $89 to $160 for the year. ISU Dining will raise student meal plan rates 1 to 2 percent next year, with no adjustments planned for Dining Dollars or Flex Meal options. The walk-in rate at dining centers will go up 50 cents, to $10 for breakfast and $13 for lunch and dinner.
  • Parking permit increases for July 1. General staff permits will go up $5 (to $175), reserved permits will go up $17 (to $550) and 24-hour reserved permits $28 (to $950). Departmental permits will go up $30, to $200, and vendor permits will go up $90, to $300. Employee motorcycle permits will increase $2, to $60. Memorial Union ramp permits will go up $5 for a summer permit (to $197) and $12 for an annual permit ($558). Fall, winter or spring permits will go up $6, to either $238 or $244. The MU also will raise the illegal exit fine another $20, to $140.
  • Three honorary degree requests. This spring, alumnus Dwight Ink, holder of the first government degree (1947) from Iowa State, federal civil servant and adviser to seven U.S. presidents (Eisenhower to Reagan), will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Jon Kinzenbaw, inventor, entrepreneur and CEO of Kinze Manufacturing, Williamsburg, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science. In December, alumnus Theaster Gates, artist and professor of visual arts at the University of Chicago, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. More information about their accomplishments is online.
  • Unanimously re-elected president Michael Richards and president pro-tem Patty Cownie to two-year terms. There was one nomination for each leadership post.