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Release: Jan. 9, 2002

UI loses 60 faculty members to better offers in fiscal year 2001

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Of the 67 faculty members who resigned from the University of Iowa in fiscal year 2001, nearly 90 percent left to accept better offers at other universities or in government or the private sector, according to an annual report to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

The report, which will be presented to the Regents (next week), shows that 49 tenured or tenure-track faculty members left to accept positions at other institutions of higher education, 19 went to positions in government or the private sector, and seven left for personal reasons. The report reflects the period between July 1, 2000 and June 30, 2001.

Resignations occurred in nine of the university's 11 colleges, with the largest number of resignations in the College of Medicine, followed by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

While the number of resignations is down from last year's total of 74, the figures are still a concern, says Jon Whitmore, UI provost. "These are some of our best faculty taking their teaching skills and their research dollars to prestigious universities, as well as to peer institutions in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Missouri. Satisfaction surveys show that while they generally like the atmosphere at the University of Iowa and in Iowa City, resigning faculty were less satisfied with the level of compensation they found here.

"We're working hard to improve the conditions for faculty here, to make the positions attractive," Whitmore says, "but we need strong state support for the salaries so that Iowa can remain competitive."

This is the second year for a satisfaction survey that asked resigning faculty to rate six areas of satisfaction. Faculty rated the general university atmosphere highest, with the commitment to teaching, research, and diversity next. Compensation and departmental atmosphere were rated lowest. The figures showed increases in satisfaction over last year in all categories except compensation.

Confidential exit interviews were conducted this year for the first time by emeritus faculty members. The results of these interviews , together with data from the satisfaction surveys suggest

specific areas where Iowa can look to improve faculty retention, Whitmore says. "My office is working closely with departmental officers in improving their communication with faculty. We're in the second year of a program of DEO workshops and we're also working to improve the mentoring of junior faculty across campus. We will be asking the Regents to help us look for ways to improve faculty salaries. We know how difficult salary increases will be in these times, but it is in everyone's interest to maintain faculty vitality in Iowa."