By Billy Huntsman
This is the 13th installment in The Round Up/Oncore Magazine‘s 14-part series investigating professor turnover at NMSU.
What is being done?
The 2009-2010 Provost’s Project found participants wanted to increase their grant-seeking efforts, in order to conduct more research, but felt hampered by administrative offices associated with grant distribution.
“It can be difficult to manage grants at NMSU: hiring, and paying people, tracking budgets, disbursing funds–all are perceived as bewildering and difficult,” the report reads.
One such office frequently mentioned by participants in the focus groups was Human Resources, some of whose rules “are in opposition to funding agency rules, which can put grant recipients at risk with funding agencies.”
The respondents said they wanted such offices to serve as resources and aides in furthering the research goals of professors and of the university, the report reads.
In relation to this, Provost Dan Howard said this year NMSU has started offering bridge funding to professors who are in between grants.
“That is something that we will increasingly offer faculty that are between grants as a way of helping them understand how important we view their research,” Howard says.
Participants in Christine Eber’s study as to why professors leave NMSU further said deans, the provost, and the president need to get involved in negotiations with faculty members who make it known they are thinking about leaving NMSU.
This aligns with another initiative NMSU has recently undertaken to address faculty retention.
“Every single department head had to go this summer to an all-day training session,” Howard says. “The core of that training session was devoted to how do you build strong communities at New Mexico State?”
Though the majority of Eber’s respondents and TRU/OM’s interviews did not cite salary as a reason for their leaving, Howard says also over the last four years, faculty salaries have been significantly adjusted.
“Millions of dollars invested in faculty pay,” Howard says.