With more students pursuing postsecondary education and the need for excellent educators as important as ever, there is a drive at institutions of higher learning in the Carolinas and across the country to keep valued faculty members and attract new prospects. To strengthen higher education in the Carolinas, The Duke Endowment has awarded more than $44 million since 2007 to Davidson College, Duke University and Furman University to hire faculty, keep faculty salaries competitive and and attract faculty who are experts in their fields.
In an increasingly competitive global environment, college attendance is on the rise, according to research from the National Center for Education Statistics. As the demands on educational institutions increase, universities find themselves trying to accommodate growing numbers of students, recruit and retain quality faculty, and provide up-to-date and relevant educational experiences that prepare students to enter a global workforce. At the same time, they're also trying to keep tuition increases moderate.
Attracting Excellent Faculty is Key
For colleges and universities, the ability to attract excellent faculty is key to meeting many of the other demands they face in educating students. In Duke University's strategic plan, Making a Difference (adopted by the university's board of trustees in 2006), one of the primary goals identified is to recruit and retain high-quality faculty, an objective shared by the four schools the Endowment funds in higher education. "The university's first obligation is to attract, nurture, and retain faculty of the highest excellence, where excellence is understood to include both powerful intellectual creativity and the eagerness to stimulate and support the creativity of students. Our identity is, and will continue to be, driven by the quality of our faculty."
For many institutions, striving to provide equitable wages for faculty while also seeking to provide an affordable college education for students can pose challenges. For example, at Davidson College, faculty salaries have ranked below those at peer institutions in North Carolina, South Carolina and across the nation. In response, Davidson trustees established a goal of gradually increasing faculty salaries to meet the median average salary at each rank (full professor, associate professor and assistant professor) by 2010.
With the increased demand for excellent educators, it is becoming even more important for institutions of higher learning in the Carolinas to keep valued faculty members and attract new prospects. Funding from The Duke Endowment is helping Davidson College, Duke University and Furman University provide for faculty growth at a time when many institutions across the country are challenged to do so.
Recruiting New Talent
The Duke Endowment granted more than $44 million to help the colleges and universities it funds strengthen and support their faculties. Duke University received $40 million to help create 32 new faculty positions. Of the grant, $25 million is for 10 new assistant and 10 new associate professorships, while another $15 million matches additional funding to establish 12 new endowed full professorships.
The grant money enables Duke to launch a first-rate faculty recruitment campaign while ensuring that the financial commitment of hiring more faculty is not passed on to students via higher tuition. As part of its efforts to recruit faculty that reflects the diversity of students, the university is committed to "encouraging and enabling the hiring of women, minority, and minority women faculty in fields where they are underrepresented."
Retaining Valued Faculty
The Endowment also granted $1.5 million to Davidson College to support its effort to retain valued faculty members.
At Furman University, a $3 million grant from The Duke Endowment is helping the school establish endowed professorships in Asian Studies. The new positions will support the work of existing faculty and expand the reach of the nationally prominent program. The program provides an interdisciplinary approach to learning; faculty members hold joint appointments in economics, religion, philosophy, political science, history, modern languages and literature, business and accounting.