On April 25 I blogged about the claim made by some NBP proponents that the policy change was needed in order to stem the tide of faculty turnover at UW-Madison. In that post I referred to some data from a 1999 report, which at the time was all I could locate on the web.
I have now had the opportunity to examine more recent data (UW-Madison faculty have access to it at the APA website) and here are some updates:
(1) In the prior post, I claimed that there hadn’t been much change over time in turnover rates at Madison. As I said, I was looking at data up til 1999 and it showed a rate of about 5 or 6% (based on number of leavers divided by total number of faculty). The more recent data shows even lower turnover rates since that time– no doubt due in large part to the efforts of UW Administration and the fact that the 2005-07, 2007-09 and 2009-11 biennial budgets provided High Demand Faculty Retention Funds (HDFRF) to address recruitment and retention issues. In the graph below, the blue and red lines show the number of faculty (blue is headcount and red is FTE) and green and purple show the turnover rate calculated two ways (green by dividing # leavers by headcount, and purple dividing #leavers by FTE). As you can see, there’s no evidence that our turnover is climbing.
(2) The percent of our faculty receiving outside offers declined during the 1980s and 1990s (from a high of 7.7% in 1983 to a low of 2.4% in 1999) and then grew again during the 21st century to a high of 8.1% in 2009. However, after a steady decline in the 1990s, our success at retaining faculty who receive offers has increased from 60% in 2001 to 84% in 2008 and 80% in 2009.
(3) Probably due to the state support in this area, the percent of payroll devoted to these retention offers declined from up to 10% in the 1980s to barely 1% in 2009.
It certainly seems that those funds from the state helped stave off an uptick in faculty turnover rates. What isn’t clear is that the NBP–and the Public Authority model in particular– is necessary in order to continue to use funds in this manner. In 2009-2010 we spent less than $1.5 million on this effort.