I would like to elaborate on a few points state Sen. Mike Carrell made about professor salaries at the University of Washington (Viewpoint, 11-5).
The highly paid untenured professors he refers to are listed as “without tenure (WOT)” because they are specifically not paid from state funds and are responsible for generating their own funding, either from research grants they compete for and receive – mostly from federal granting agencies – or because they are physicians working at one of our medical centers and supported mostly from patient revenues.
The UW’s top 100 salaried faculty are paid mostly from non-state, non-tuition revenue sources. Many of these researchers and physicians are in high-demand, high-paying fields whose compensation levels are determined by a nationally competitive marketplace.
Moreover, these individuals are net importers of revenue and jobs to the state of Washington. The faculty on the list of top-paid 100 in 2011 alone generated $972 million in research grant funding, funds spent in our state creating jobs and spurring research and innovation.
It is also worth noting that our costs of educating a student have remained the same for the past 20 years, at about $16,500 per student. What has changed is who pays: 20 years ago, the state paid 80 percent, and the student paid 20. Today, the state pays 30 percent and the student 70.
We have seen a seismic shift from the state to the student. That alone is responsible for the recent rise in tuition.
(Arkans is an associate vice president for media relations and communications at the UW.)