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Bloomington Herald-Times

August 20, 2010

McRobbie requests 3 percent raises for IU faculty, staff
By Mike Leonard
August 19, 2010, last update: 8/19 @ 3:36 pm

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie has requested a 3 percent raise for university faculty and staff, to become effective Nov. 1.

McRobbie made the request to the IU board of trustees, which is meeting Thursday and Friday on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

McRobbie told the trustees he is now confident that continuing budget cuts, strong fall enrollments, and funds set aside in this year's budget for university priorities are sufficient to move forward with a pay increase. The university's major sources of operating revenue -- student tuition and state support -- are estimated to be adequate during the 2010-11 academic year to allow a raise of that size.

"I have concluded that a modest salary increase at this time is appropriate, affordable, and strategically important for Indiana University," McRobbie said. "I come to you with this recommendation in the sincere belief that our faculty and staff have performed remarkably over the past year."

The Finance and Audit committee approved the president's request. It will now go to the full board for a vote Friday.

Money to fund the increase will come partly from a $17 million pot of money set aside to hedge against possible funding cuts from the state. That amount is roughly 2 percent of the current year's budget. By pushing the pay increase until November, the 2 percent set aside becomes more than 2 percent of what it would be had it gone into effect at the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1. Additional funds to support a 3 percent overall increase will come from budget cuts and efficiencies still to be realized.

The cuts and efficiencies should add up to as much as $12.75 million, which could be used in future years, McRobbie said.

The pay increase is an overall average. Units within the university could distribute pay increases differently than an across-the-board 3 percent.

McRobbie pointed out that although they did not receive a salary increase in the 2009-10 fiscal year, IU faculty and staff nonetheless contributed to record-breaking progress in nearly every major area of importance, including numbers of faculty awards for excellence, enrollment levels at almost every campus, attracting a record $603 million in research grants and awards, and achieving $343 million in private-sector fund-raising during an economic recession.

"We have achieved all of this, along with significant reductions in administrative overhead and personnel, at a time of great economic challenge thanks to the efforts of outstanding faculty and staff on every campus," McRobbie said.

Overall last year, the IU workforce declined by 225 employees and enrollment climbed by 6,000 students.

McRobbie froze salaries for IU's 17,000 employees during the 2009-10 fiscal year in response to cuts in state support and uncertainty as to how deeply the recession would impact IU.

McRobbie said an overall 3 percent raise this year would enable IU to remain competitive with its Big Ten peers, placing IU in the middle with regard to salary increases in the current biennium: above Wisconsin, Michigan State, Minnesota and Purdue, but below Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa and Northwestern.

"For many of our employees, we will not be able to be as generous as I would like, or as they deserve, but under this plan we will be able to make significant progress in compensating IU faculty and staff at competitive levels," McRobbie said. "These raises are an investment in the university's most important resource: its people; and they are also an investment in the future of Indiana University."

This story will be updated.

Officials: Raises give local 'positive economic impact'
By Chris Fyall
August 20, 2010

Raises at Indiana University are a good thing for the local economy, officials said Thursday.

"We know intuitively that there will be a positive economic impact from that," said Ron Walker, president of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp. "There will be more money circulating in the local economy."

Faculty and staff at the university could get 3 percent raises in November if university trustees approve today a recommendation from President Michael McRobbie.

The exact impact of the raises on local spending and tax coffers isn't known, said Mayor Mark Kruzan.

Monroe County governmental units took a $3.7 million hit this year in their share of state income tax receipts, as local incomes fell due to unemployment, loss of overtime wages, slumping interest incomes and other causes.

Local income tax revenues are calculated on an 18-month average, however, and so the effect of IU raises this November won't be felt for a while.

"(These raises) certainly go toward offsetting the loss -- whether it offsets it completely, or surpasses it, I don't know," Kruzan said. "It is definitely good news, though."

IU welcomes new class of nearly 1,500 international students
By Lindsey Erdody
August 20, 2010

Indiana University has a record number of international students enrolled this year and attending orientation this week.

There were about 1,200 international students last year, and the number usually grows by 100 students every year, said Rendy Schrader, director of international student and scholar advising for IU. But this year, it has jumped to almost 1,500 students. That number isn't final until all scheduling is completed next week.

"It's the biggest crowd we've ever had, but it's one of the smoothest orientations we've ever had," Schrader said. "They just seem really, really happy to be here."

During orientation, the International Center on campus provides housing for the students, helps them with their immigration documents, teaches them about academic life and provides advisers to assist with scheduling. There are a variety of events throughout the week to help the students feel connected to IU, Schrader said.

She said staff aim for students to feel fully integrated with the help of the program.

"They'd be lost without orientation. It teaches them the rules and it gets them connected with their academic department," Schrader said.

Carina Liu and Fiona Yang are freshmen from China and said orientation has helped them transition.

"All the activities are great because throughout the activities we know new people, we make friends," Liu said.

Since arriving in Bloomington, Liu said, her biggest challenge was finding somewhere to eat.

"Everyday I meet new people and I get to know new stories, I have a lot of troubles and I solve the troubles," she said. "Everyone is really nice here."

Liu said she hopes to join a variety of organizations this year, while Yang said she wants to focus on improving her English.

Throughout orientation, international students are introduced to a variety of opportunities available to them. One of these is being involved with Bloomington Worldwide Friendship. The organization pairs students with host families who meet with the students two to three times throughout the semester to give them a wider perspective of American culture. Schrader said the International Center has worked with this organization "since the beginning of time."

"It's not completely unique to Bloomington, but it's special," she said. "To have that sort of family support available for those that crave it is really great."

Harriet Kulis, co-president of the organization, has been speaking to the students at their daily welcome session to inform them of the opportunity. The deadline for students to apply is today at 5 p.m.

Kulis said even with a high volume of new international students this year, she expects the number in her program will remain around 150 students. Currently it has about 100 families involved.

Kulis, who has hosted around 30 students in the past six years, explained it doesn't require families to take more time out of their daily lives.

"It shouldn't be an extra event. It should just be part of their daily life," Kulis said. "It's really doing what you do on a daily basis but bringing along one other person."

Kulis said the organization is always looking for more families and encourages people to join because of the experience with the students.

"They are so appreciative of the sharing and the willingness to open up your home to them," she said. "This is their first time away from home, and sometimes they just want to hear a friendly voice."

To get involved with Bloomington Worldwide Friendship, visit the website