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General Faculty Council
University of Virginia

Meeting Minutes
February 9, 1999

Members Present: Barry Anderson,, Ron Berube, Donal Day, Tom Dowd, Trish Foley, Elizabeth Fortune, Nancy Garlick, Abby Gillette, Brad Holland, Carol Larson, Joyce Pastors (Chair), Jane Penner, Mary Smith, and Betsy Tucker

Members Absent: Dennis DeSilvey, Martin Hoard, Wayne Smith (Position Vacant: Administration)

Also Present: Marva Barnett, Robert Devoursney, Kim Guenther, Dan Heuchert, Suzanne Louis, Jonathan Lord, Peter Low, Eric Nagy, Justine Owens, Kathy Reed, Cindi Sanborn, Terry Saunders, and Peter Yu

Joyce Pastors chaired the meeting

  1. Joyce thanked Peter Low, Vice President and Provost, and Kathy Reed, Associate Provost for Management, for attending the General Faculty Council (GFC) meeting to share their insights and thoughts on the issue of salary increase disparity for non-instructional general faculty.

Background (thanks to Dan Heuchert of INSIDE UVA and Joyce Pastors): In December, 1998 the Governor proposed budget amendments to the General Assembly that included a 6.5 % average salary increase for teaching and research faculty and salary increases of up to 6.25% for classified employees. General faculty members in administrative or professional positions were to receive increases averaging 3.3%. The state Senate boosted the salary increase for adjunct and administrative/professional faculty and graduate teaching assistants by 1% to 4.3%. The senate version of the budget must be reconciled with the House of Delegate’s bill before being sent to the Governor. The House of Delegates made no recommendation regarding salary increases. The 1999-2000 U.Va. budget now goes to a Conference Committee for final decision. This committee, made up of 6 senators and 6 delegates, must report out on the budget by February 25th.

General faculty fall into two categories: those who spend 50% or more of their time teaching or performing research, and those who spend 50 percent or more of their time in a professional or administrative role. Research and teaching general faculty (approximately two-thirds of the general faculty) are eligible for the same average salary increase (6.5%) as tenured and tenure-track instructional faculty. Administrative and professional general faculty are eligible for the lower salary increase of 3.3% or 4.3%.

Joyce Pastors explained that many members of the general faculty, alerted to the issue of disparity in salary increases by an article in the January 15th issue of INSIDE UVA, have contacted the GFC and asked that it address this issue. Initial questions to the U.Va. budget office indicated that the priority for this year was on raising the salaries of teaching and research faculty and that a larger salary increase for professional and administrative general faculty would be looked at next year. The GFC felt that it was important to press for salary increase in the 6%+ range for all U.Va. employees this year. To that end, general faculty members have been encouraged to contact their representatives in Richmond to advocate for parity in salary increases to match those mandated for teaching/research faculty and classified staff.

With the stage set, Joyce asked Peter Low and Kathy Reed if they would like to comment on the issue of salary increase disparity. Low said that he’d like to make several points:

    1. the percentages for salary increases were not set by the U.Va. administration but came from bills in the legislature. When moneys come from Richmond to U.Va. the amounts are set by legislation.
    2. as far as the Provost’s area goes, the deans and heads of units that report to him get moneys for salary increases in a total sum based on the number of positions in various categories. How that money is allocated amongst employees of the unit is up to the head of that unit. In the case of classified employees, salary increases are based on performance. In the case of non-instructional/research general faculty, salary increases are determined by deans and unit heads and then reviewed by the Provost’s office.
    3. tenured and tenure-track faculty were targets of legislative cuts in salaries from the early 90s up until two or three years ago. General faculty were exempt from those salary limitations. That is why the first initiative U.Va. undertook two or three years ago was to bring salaries back up for tenured and tenure-track faculty.
    4. the general faculty category at U.Va. originally emerged to meet a legitimate need to hire professional administrators who weren’t educators. In the "old days" you had to use a faculty line when you hired professional administrators.
    5. President Casteen is aware of the salary increase disparity issue and has stated that he has had conversations with state legislators about the unfairness of singling out one category of employee (general faculty) for salary increases that are less than those of employment categories "on either side" of them.
    6. the idea of trying to benchmark the salaries of professional and administrative general faculty to some norm makes sense. The legislature believes that the local Virginia market is the comparable market when setting salaries for classified staff and that the national market is the one to be looked at in setting salaries for tenured and tenure-track faculty. What market should be looked at for general faculty?

If the total sum of dollars that come to U.Va. for employee salary increases is set by the state legislature, Low and Reed were asked, how does the legislature determine what percentage of increase is allocated to each category of employee? Reed responded that the state looks at its budget and projects costs for proposed salary increases. The dollars are based on a state-wide profile of merit increases. The state passes the dollars on to U.Va. and then U.Va. has to decide how to distribute them. Low added that until two or three years ago if U.Va. increased tenured and tenure-track faculty salaries above the percentage set by the state U.Va. got penalized. There was an important breakthrough when privately raised dollars were no longer counted in the state formula. Until then the state would reduce its contribution by the amount of private dollars spent on salary increases. Reed stated that U.Va. still has some restraints but not as many as before the decentralization process began. The important thing to note, she said, was that no matter what sort of faculty salary increases are set by the legislature actual salary increases are based on merit and resources available at the unit level. In almost all units that have departments some of the percentage of salary increase is held back by the unit head for use for competitive salary increases, addressing salary equity issues, etc.. The percentage of salary increase set by the legislature does not guarantee an employee will get the full percentage increase approved by the legislature, it simply identifies the funding increase for the pool the employee is in. In answer to a question, Low stated that the range of increases for each pool is typically a bell curve.

Low and Reed were then asked about the possibility of cost of living salary increases for general faculty members that would supplement merit-based salary increases. Reed replied that the GFC could bring the issue of cost of living salary increases forward for institutional consideration but that the case in favor of cost of living increases would have to be based on hard data. Low agreed, saying that such a request would have to be benchmarked to meaningful data, for example, whether there are large numbers of general faculty getting salary increases below the cost of living threshold. Any such request that is taken to Richmond must be defensible and there must be neither too little supporting information nor too much.

In a follow-up to Low’s statement that individual salary increases were merit based, he was asked about the Provost’s policy on performance reviews. Many general faculty members report that their performance is not formally reviewed annually. Low said that he encourages annual performance reviews. It was suggested that the general faculty be polled to see if they are asked to submit an annual report of activities and if they receive feedback on their performance.

The GFC stated that the issue of salary increase disparity was one it would continue to pursue. Efforts will be made to gather the hard data necessary to make the case for raising the percentage of salary increase for administrative and professional general faculty. This will involve surveying other schools, gathering information from the Office of Institutional Planning and Studies, etc..

  1. The GFC-WFPA General Faculty Forum will be held on Wednesday, March 10, from 12:30-2:00 pm in the Newcomb Hall South Meeting Room. The focus of this meeting will be on the problem of general faculty salary increase disparity and what can be done to solve that problem. Leonard Sandridge, Peter Low, Dr. Cantrell, and Colette Capone have all agreed to attend.
  2. Joyce reported that President Casteen has received, and acknowledged, the GFC resolution urging the administration of the University to make sincere and vigorous efforts to increase the wages of the lowest paid employees of the University.
  3. Nominations are being sought for vacant seats on the GFC.
  4. The new employee resource fair will be held on April 8, from 2:00-5:00 in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom. Volunteers are needed to staff the General Faculty Council booth.
  5. The proposed revisions to the Bylaws of the General Faculty Council were approved. The next step will be to submit the revised Bylaws to the entire general faculty for a vote.
  6. Next Meetings:
    Tuesday, March 9: 12:30-2:00 pm, in 389 Newcomb Hall
    Tuesday, April 13: 12:30-2:00 pm, in 389 Newcomb Hall
    Tuesday, May 11: 12:30-2:00 pm, in 389 Newcomb Hall

Submitted March 1, 1999

Tom Dowd, Secretary
General Faculty Council