University lifts salary freeze, hires for open positions

Amy Sandquist

Due to an improved financial
climate, Lawrence plans to lift the
freeze on faculty and staff members’
salaries for the 2010-2011
fiscal year and to continue filling
open faculty positions.
Last year, Lawrence’s board of
trustees voted to freeze the salaries
to combat the economic crisis
and to ensure that the university
would be able to balance its budget.
Though enrollment at Lawrence
was unaffected by the economic
crisis, the university’s endowment
fell substantially. However, almost
a year after Lawrence’s administration
made the decision to freeze
salaries, Dean of the Faculty David
Burrows explained that Lawrence
is in “much better financial shape.”
Both Burrows and President Jill
Beck stressed that the Lawrence
faculty, staff and administration
regarded academic success and
students’ intellectual well-being as
more important than all other factors.
Even during the financial difficulties
of last year, Lawrence
placed nine new professors in tenure-
track positions.
Beck described the importance
of “[sustaining] the integrity of
[Lawrence’s] faculty.”
Burrows said that Lawrence
successfully filled every faculty
position left open by retirement
and resignation.
In a letter sent to faculty
members last month, Beck related
information about Lawrence’s fiscal
status as well as plans for a lift
on the salary freeze as discussed
at the board of trustees meeting
in February. More than halfway
through the 2009-2010 fiscal year,
which ends July 1, Lawrence’s budget
remains balanced.
During the February meeting,
the board of trustees’ financial
committee approved, in principle,
a number of budgetary measures
for the 2010-2011 fiscal year,
including lifting caps on faculty
and staffs members’ retirement
funds, increasing faculty and staff
members’ salaries, instituting
“Individualized Learning Credits,”
which reward faculty members for
teaching tutorials and independent
studies and providing healthcare
premiums to employees.
The board of trustees will officially
vote on instituting the new
budgetary program during their
May meeting.
In the midst of financial stability,
Burrows noted that Lawrence’s
improved fiscal state has not come
without some sacrifices. After
Lawrence’s athletic director left
last year, the university was unable
to hire a full-time staff member to
replace him.
Additionally, Burrows
expressed regret that Lawrence
has been unable to amply support
collaboration between faculty and
students on scholarly projects.
Beck also acknowledged that
there are “many staff positions
that remain unfilled at this time,”
a consequence of the “tough economy.”
Burrows said he remains
hopeful that cutbacks such as
these will be accounted for as
Lawrence regains its fiscal momentum.
Although the economic crisis
forced Lawrence to restructure its
2009-2010 budget, the university
is moving forward with newly tenured
professors and money-saving
Burrows praised the nine
newly hired tenure-track professors,
describing them as “fine faculty
who are excellent teachers and
strong scholars or creative artists.”
New programs allow Lawrence
to effectively conserve energy
costs. Beck’s letter to the faculty
said that Lawrence’s Green Roots
Initiative has not only saved natural
resources but has also saved
the university money.
At a university where individualized
learning is valued above
all else, Burrows said he remains
“cautiously optimistic” about
Lawrence’s financial future.