Faculty Recruitment and Retention
Task Force Report - May 31, 2001

Findings
2.4 Startup Packages

Finding #14 – Competitive startup packages are critical in faculty recruitment, and yet insufficient funds are available for startup packages at CU-Boulder.

In interviews by task force members of the BFA Faculty Affairs Committee (Appendix E), the education dean (Appendix H), the engineering deans and chairs (Appendix J), and science chairs and directors (Appendix K), the need for larger startup packages was prominent in the discussions of faculty recruiting. The 2/18/00 CU-Boulder Research and Creative Works Task Force Report (summarized in Appendix M) noted that many units are asked to come up with 50 percent or more of faculty startup funds. Moreover, annual college budgets for startup funds have not changed significantly in a decade. In this section, we present data to help estimate the magnitude of the need for faculty startup packages.

In a survey by the CU-Boulder Research and Creative Works Task Force in November 1999, the chief research officers at the AAU public peer institutions were asked to estimate the range of startup packages in different fields. The median values for the schools which responded are given in Table 3.

Table 3 - Median ranges (low to high) of startup packages reported in a 1999 survey of the chief research officers at AAU public peer institutions (source: 2/18/00 CU-Boulder Research and Creative Works Task Force Report).

Field Low High
Arts $5,000 $10,000
Humanities $5,000 $10,000
Social Science $10,000 $20,000
Natural Science $25,000 $425,000
Engineering $50,000 $300,000

More detailed data on individual startup packages for specific disciplines for new hires starting in 2000-01 are available in the 2000-2001 Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences New Hires Survey. Average startup packages for assistant professors from this survey, as well as from the 2000 Big 10+ Chemical Engineering Chairs Survey, are provided for selected disciplines in Table 4. It is felt that these startup packages are low, in part because CU-Boulder competes for faculty recruitment with institutions above the average of public R1 (Research 1) universities and in part because many of the schools surveyed did not report the nonequipment (such as graduate students, postdocs, and summer salary) part of startup packages.

Table 4 - Average startup packages for assistant professors in selected fields starting in 2000-01 at public R1 (Research 1) universities (sources: 2000-2001 Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences New Hires Survey and 2000 Big 10+ Chemical Engineering Chairs Survey).

Field Startup
Equipment
Other
Support*
Moving
Allowance
Total
Startup
Biology $190,000 $ 27,000 $  4,000 $221,000
Chem. Eng. $225,000 $164,000 $  5,000 $394,000
Chem./Biochem. $231,000 $ 14,000 $  5,000 $250,000
Communications $  8,000 $  2,000 $  3,000 $ 13,000
Comp. Sci. $ 51,000 $ 35,000 $  4,000 $ 90,000
Economics $  6,000 $ 17,000 $  5,000 $ 28,000
English $  3,000 $  3,000 $  3,000 $  9,000
Geology $119,000 $  0 $  4,000 $123,000
History $  3,000 $  2,000 $  3,000 $  8,000
Philosophy $  4,000 $  3,000 $  3,000 $ 10,000
Physics $156,000 $ 20,000 $  4,000 $180,000
Political Science $  4,000 $  5,000 $  3,000 $ 12,000
Psychology $ 35,000 $  9,000 $  3,000 $ 47,000
Sociology $  5,000 $  4,000 $  4,000 $ 13,000

*includes graduate student support ($140,000) and summer salary ($24,000) for chemical engineering; other disciplines also include postdoc support, renovations, and travel, but many schools left off such 'other support' in the survey

The above data show that typical startup packages in engineering and natural sciences are very large (≈$200-400K), those in selected other technical fields (such as computer science, geology, and psychology) are moderately large (≈$50-150K), and those in arts, humanities, and social sciences are relatively small (≈$10-20K). At CU-Boulder, there is a substantial need for additional startup funds to be provided at the college and campus levels, especially when considering that CU-Boulder's competitors for faculty hiring are well above the average of public universities (Appendix B). For example, the College of Engineering and Applied Science currently provides $40K startup per new faculty member, plus an additional $20K from the new pool of startup funds provided by academic affairs; these amounts represent only 10 percent and 5 percent, respectively, of the total startup package required in chemical engineering to be competitive with Big 10+ institutions. Moreover, interviews with the BFA Faculty Affairs Committee (Appendix E) reveal that the current startup packages in arts, humanities, and social sciences are too small, with approximately $30,000 needed for computers, summer salary, professional travel, relocation, research assistants, and library collections.

 

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