CHAPEL HILL – Aziz Sancar, the UNC-Chapel Hill scientist who just won the Nobel Prize in chemistry along with Duke scientist Paul Modrich, is paid $103,000 a year by the state. 1
And Silicon Valley venture capitalist Jim Goetz of Sequoia Capital recently told a Triangle audience that Stanford’s president isn’t looking to Harvard or MIT for research talent – he wants the entire chemistry department from UNC- Chapel Hill.2
What do the Nobel Committee in Stockholm and Stanford’s president in California understand that the North Carolina General Assembly doesn’t?
Faculty at our state’s public universities have seen one measly raise from the General Assembly in the past seven years. This year they’ll receive a $750 bonus – the equivalent of $2.05 a day. And the bonus will do nothing to raise base compensation.
Apparently we have to lose great faculty before we appreciate them.
Over the past two budget years, 419 faculty members at our state’s public universities have received competing offers from other institutions. Seventy-six percent – 320 instructors – accepted those offers and left.
Of those who left, 93 accounted for $91 million in grant dollars.3
The Fayetteville Observer might have put it best:
“When we listen to public-policy debates, we don’t hear anyone discussing how we can better support the work of brilliant researchers like Modrich and Sancar…. And all the while, people at the universities are leading the world in research. Maybe we should pay more attention to that.”4
Indeed we should. We need to pay the folks who teach our kids – at all levels.
1 http://www.newsobserver.com/news/databases/public-salaries/?appSession=382526310578769&RecordID=17751&PageID=8&PrevPageID=2&cpipage=1&CPIsortType=desc&CPIorderBy=totalsal&cbCurrentRecordPosition=1&Mod0LinkToDetails=True. Sancar receives another $74,000 in salary from non-state sources.
3 UNC General Administration, “Faculty Retention Efforts Summary, July 2012-June 2014,” August 13, 2014, p. 1.