Chancellor Belcher receives raise, faculty gets small one-time bonus

Chad Grant co-authored this article.

Western Carolina University Chancellor, David Belcher, received a 19 percent pay raise in late October while WCU faculty pay remains stagnant.

The University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors voted in a closed-door meeting on Oct. 30, 2015 to give 12 of 17 chancellors in the UNC system significant pay raises.

Pay raises for Chancellor Belcher and Faculty/Staff since 2008

Pay raises for Chancellor Belcher and Faculty/Staff since 2008

Last year, the Board of Governors hired consulting firm, Buck Consultants, to analyze the pay of top university administrators, according to an article from The News & Observer. The firm determined the salaries were up to 19 percent below fair market value.

Chancellor Belcher was 72.8 percent below labor market rate, and the raise brings his pay up to 75 percent.

“What they [Board of Governors] want to be able to do is to attract and retain the very best chancellors,” said Belcher.

The raises ranged from 8 to 19 percent, and the board adopted a much higher pay scale for the leaders within the university system.

Belcher received one of the highest rate increases at 19 percent, bringing his pay from $280,500 per year to $335,000. Belcher said he feels flattered to receive the raise, but that it came at an awkward time. See what Belcher had to say.

Belcher said he is planning to give some of his raise back to the university in the form of his scholarship program.

Faculty/Staff Pay

Since 2008, the WCU and UNC faculty and staff have received only one 1.2 percent raise, according to the Higher Education Works Foundation.

“The cost of living has risen approximately 12% since the crash of 2008, and UNC faculty and staff, like many other North Carolinians, have been stuck in wage stagnation,” the WCU faculty senate said in a public statement. “We can’t help but feel some frustration with the realization that the average salary increase for the Chancellors is larger than the total salary for many of our valued faculty and staff colleagues”

Dr. David McCord, WCU faculty senate chairperson, said some faculty members are frustrated, angry and considering other jobs. Other faculty members, he said, are optimistic that raises will be coming their way soon, since the Board of Governors showed an interest in preserving the leadership.

“Now that the state is in stable economic shape, we welcome the first step of investing in university leaders. The second step is just as important, and we anticipate that in the near future the dire needs of faculty and staff will be addressed in a meaningful way,” McCord said.

This year the general assembly approved a one-time $750 lump sum bonus for faculty and staff to be paid out in December.

Byers said that the university currently does not have the funding to give an annual faculty-wide raise. Individual faculty and staff members can be approved for a raise under special circumstances such as receiving a competitive offer from another university.

The Plan

“Knowing that we’d never have the full amount to get everyone to 100 percent of market in one giant step, the goal was: we’re not going to ignore it because it’s too big of a problem,” Byers said.

The university administration plans to bring all faculty and staff pay up to at least 77.5 percent of market value this year, associate vice chancellor of human resources & payroll, Cory Causby, said in a university-wide email.

The plan also includes a minimum base salary of $25,000 for all positions.

The pay increase plan, said Byers, is part of a long term goal to get everyone up to 100 percent of the market rate.

See below  the full interview with Chancellor David Belcher [ 15 minutes].