CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) _ Faculty and staff members at the University of Oklahoma will get average salary increases of more than 6% effective Oct. 1 under a plan approved Tuesday by university regents.
``We have one of the most outstanding faculties and staff in the entire nation,'' said University President David Boren. ``It is because of their efforts and their high standard of excellence that our university is coming to be recognized as a leader in American public higher education.
``Our faculty and staff have been tremendously loyal to our students and to the university during these tough financial times when we were not able to give any pay raises for almost three years. In addition, many have had reductions in take-home pay because of increases in health insurance costs.''
Boren also said the increases are necessary so that OU can keep pace with other competing schools and can recruit and retain good teachers.
``Even with these raises, we will only be at about the middle of the Big 12, while the performance of our faculty and staff is far above the Big 12 average,'' he said.
The regents also approved about $80 million in improvements in student housing over the next three years.
New housing projects include a $54 million apartment complex.
In April, the Oklahoma Legislature approved a resolution allowing the university to sell $100 million in bonds to fund the construction and refurbishment of residence halls and weather-related research facilities.
Boren also announced Tuesday that the university continues to set new records in research and funding for externally sponsored programs. Research funding has more than doubled at the university over the last 10 years. Research expenditures for the 2004 fiscal year were $210 million.