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Faculty Compensation Committee

Faculty Compensation Committee

April 18, 2007

Committee Membership:
Kim Dillivan, Hamner Hill, Elaine Jackson, Walt Lilly, David Naugler, Carolyn Rainey, Mary Harriet Talbut, Pat Willingham (chair)

The Faculty Compensation Committee began this academic year by reviewing the previous year's activities and accomplishments. The Committee then proceeded to develop a list of issues or concerns that might be included in the annual compensation proposal. Two issues that did not get addressed this year, but that may need to be given further consideration, are:

  • Students pay for thesis advising credits, but faculty don't get that responsibility factored into their compensation, and
  • Rates for “windshield time” are not equitable: A 2-credit course brings with it a “windshield” rate of X, while a 3 or 4 credit course taught at the same site brings with it a “windshield” rate of Y. It is unclear as to why there is a difference between the 2-credit course and the 3- or 4-credit courses, since it is the same driving time regardless of the credit hours involved.

The Committee has met with the President, Provost, and VP for Finance on several occasions. Most of the year has been spent working with Dr. Christina Frazier, who was asked by the President to assist the Committee in developing a compensation proposal that would address some of the market and equity issues that have arisen in the past few years. The proposal that was approved by the Senate on March 28th has been presented to the University Budget Review Committee. Yesterday, the Faculty Compensation Committee met with the Provost, VP Mangels, and, via telephone, with the President to negotiate a position with regard to that proposal. The University Budget Review Committee will meet on April 26th to complete the budget planning process.

There are some issues that should be addressed in the coming year. First, it might be wise to add the position in the Provost's Office currently filled by Dr. Frazier as a permanent, non-voting member of the Faculty Compensation Committee. This would formalize an already existing working relationship and expedite the Committee's work. Then there is the matter of the Merit Pay policy, which must be reviewed next year. There may be portions of that policy that the Senate would like to see reworked. The Committee's work would be facilitated if the funding for Post-Professorial Merit were to come from a base funding pool separate from the Base Merit dollars. Chronically tight money, combined with an institutional distaste for disparate percentages for the salary pools for different categories of personnel, continues to leave those faculty not receiving either a promotion or Post-Professorial Merit with a base merit increase that is 25% lower, percentage-wise, than personnel in other categories receive. This would be only slightly less objectionable if it were not always put forth to the media that the raise is equivalent to the percentage value of the total faculty dollars pool; as it is, the public is being given an incorrect impression while the faculty continue to fall further behind financially.

Finally, an issue that is beyond the scope of this Committee, but which will surely impact its work in the future, is the tying of the minimum wage to the CPI. This creates a situation in which the student labor pool will reap considerably better increases, percentage-wise, than full-time, long-term employees can even begin to hope for, and will put steadily increasing pressure on the low end of the salary scale across the University, causing compression not only within personnel categories but across all categories.