By Billy Huntsman
This is the third installment in The Round Up/Oncore Magazine‘s 14-part series investigating professor turnover at NMSU.
Regarding the financial costs of professors leaving NMSU, consider the financial implications of this table.
Between Fall 2011 and Fall 2012, 54 faculty members, both tenured/tenure-track and non-tenure-track, left NMSU. Additionally, 73 faculty members were hired. NMSU covered the physical losses, created 19 additional jobs, and paid to search for applicants to fill all 127 positions.
So, if the average NMSU full professor’s salary is $81,500 a year, average associate professor’s salary is $67,400 a year, and average assistant professor’s salary is $56,300 a year, as reported by The Albuquerque Journal in 2012, the average faculty salary at NMSU is $68,400.
Using the reasoning—that the cost of replacing a single professor is one and a half times his/her salary—used by Christine Eber, NMSU professor emerita in the Anthropology Department, who in 2008 published a study about why professors leave NMSU, the cost of replacing a professor at NMSU is about $102,600. Multiplied by 54: $5,540,400. Plus the 19 additional jobs: $1,949,400.
Potentially, NMSU spent almost $7.5 million between Fall 2011 and Fall 2012 just on faculty replacements and job creation.
Or, using the midpoint—$250,000—between the numbers NMSU Provost Dan Howard gave—$200,000 to $300,000 in startup packages—the cost is even higher, nearly $32 million in that time period.
This is an extreme example, as not every year saw a turnover rate of 54.
So take the breakdown of 136 professors leaving in 13 years—10 a year. Using Eber’s reasoning, the cost of replacing 10 professors a year: a little over $1 million. Over 13 years: about $13 million.
Using Howard’s numbers’ midpoint, $2.5 million, over 13 years: $32,500,000
This is, of course, only speculation. The costs may be much higher or much lower.