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The University of Minnesota School Of Dentistry senior administrative staff unanimously agreed to shoulder a 2.3 percent reduction in salary for the 2010-11 academic year. The proposal is two times larger than the cut approved by the faculty senate.
Dean Patrick Lloyd said the estimated $86,000 saved will go toward retaining faculty and staff positions.
“It’s an effort to demonstrate the importance of making additional sacrifices to safeguard the jobs of others,” he said.
University President Bob Bruininks’ budget plan includes a 2.3 percent reduction that applies to administrators systemwide but excludes those within schools.
Deans are included in the 2.3 percent reduction. Lloyd, who currently makes $233,380 annually, has committed to a 3.8 percent salary reduction next year.
The move was discussed at a meeting two weeks ago held at the request of Dental School administrators. Attendees were told to e-mail Lloyd with their decision, and all nine sent “yes” votes within two days.
“What’s happened here is the fact that our staff and faculty have a closeness,” he said. “They work together really intimately.”
Over the past year, interim chairman and professor Don Simone, who agreed to the deeper cut, said he’s seen several people lose their jobs in the Dental School.
“The University runs best with everyone here — from professors to students to staff to faculty,” he said. “As people get let go, it really takes away from the ability of all of us to perform our best.”
As a school that provides dental care in the community, the Dental School is directly impacted by the state’s health care cuts in that it receives less funding for those who can’t afford care, Lloyd said.
The school is especially impacted by reductions to Medical Education and Research Costs, a state-funded program the school relies upon to send its students to clinics in Willmar and Hibbing.
Judith Buchanan, associate dean for academic affairs, said it makes sense for those with higher salaries to set the right example and take higher cuts.
“We’re the ones that have towards the highest income,” she said, “so it makes a bigger impact.”
On Friday afternoon, Lloyd announced the decision to faculty members in an e-mail.
Professor Jill Stoltenberg, the Dental School representative to the faculty council, said she’s not surprised by the decision, as the school has dicussed the idea of greater contributions from those who can afford to give more.
“It’s an important gesture on the part of the senior administrative faculty,” she said. “In this difficult economic time, it means a lot for those who can give more to do so.”
Stoltenberg said she expects that some faculty members will take additional salary reductions in the coming weeks as well.
The idea behind the additional cuts, which Buchanan said she hopes catches on among other schools within the University, is to keep staff intact and retain educational quality for students.
“We’re looking at every aspect of the school, at how we could do it more efficiently and save money,” she said. “The more that we can find that doesn’t affect the quality of our students and educational programs, the better.”