The Board of Regents is hearing a report today on the number of faculty who left the three state-supported universities in the last year.
The University of Iowa was the only school to see an increase in its faculty resignations, going from 66 to 90. During a committee meeting on the report Wednesday the U-I’s associate provost for faculty, Kevin Kregel, says much of the big bump can be attributed to the medical school.
“If you separate those numbers out, our numbers are quite stable in terms of resignations,” Kregel says. “When you look at the resignation report for the Carver College of Medicine, it’s a lot of clinical assistant professors — who when then get coded into the HR system as to why they resigned, a lot of it is going into the private practice.” Kregel says the movement in the medical college is unique to the university. The school has averaged 68 resignations in the past 10 years.
Iowa State University Associate Provost for Faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince says her school saw a drop in resignations, from 35 to 33 in 2015. “The trend at Iowa State over the past ten years has been a downward one. We’ve invested a lot of time and energy into supporting our faculty, and we believe that that is paying off,” She says. Bratsch-Prince says they have instituted several measures to retain faculty, and with record enrollment, expect to add more.
“We are aiming to increase our faculty numbers in part because we have the goal of reducing our student/faculty ration from 19 to one to our goal of 16 to one,” Bratsch-Prince explains. “And the president has been very clear that that’s important to ensure the high quality of the Iowa State brand of education that we offer our students.”
There has been a lot of talk about the need to increase salaries to retain faculty members. Bratsch-Prince says the resignations at all three schools come for a variety of reasons and they can’t pinpoint one specific cause. She says one thing they now find, is luring a faculty member to any of the three state schools often involves more than one job.
“I would estimate that 30 to 40 percent of the faculty that we hire come with a partner or spouse who also expects to have meaningful employment — whether at the institution or in the community,” Bratsch-Prince says.
The University of Northern Iowa saw faculty resignations drop by just one from eight to seven. UNI has averaged 16 faculty resignations in the last ten years.