General Faculty Council Resolutions


11 April 2013

Resolution on Merit-Based Faculty Raises


Salary increases at the University have occasionally been capped at a lower limit for academic non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) than for tenure-eligible faculty. Eligibility for tenure is not a mark of faculty rank at UVa and does not reliably correlate with productivity, stature in the field, or other appropriate criteria for determining merit-based increases. Arbitrary caps also tend to exacerbate pay inequities among faculty, including along gender lines, and promote divisiveness and poor morale. The General Faculty Council therefore urges deans, directors, and department chairs to exclude tenure eligibility as a criterion for consideration in the designation of merit-based faculty pay raises.


22 June 2012

Resolution Calling for the Reinstatement of President Sullivan


The General Faculty Council is both gravely concerned by the actions of the Board of Visitors surrounding the resignation of President Sullivan, and greatly impressed by the united and firm resolve of the UVa faculty and wider community during the current situation.

We strongly support and reaffirm our endorsement of the Faculty Senate's June 17 resolution and June 21 statement.

The Council acknowledges with appreciation the vice rector's resignation, and the Board's agreement to convene an open meeting in order to address the reinstatement of the president. We commend Dean Carl Zeithaml for suspending negotiations with the Board regarding his status as interim president.

We believe the Board has failed to act in the best interest of the University. We also believe that Rector Dragas’ statements fail to justify President Sullivan’s forced resignation and the process by which it was accomplished. Furthermore, installing an interim president and searching for a new president will hinder rather than help the University respond to the challenges it faces.

Therefore, it is resolved, that the General Faculty Council:

  1. Expresses its strong support of President Sullivan,
  2. Expresses its lack of confidence in the Rector and the Board of Visitors,
  3. Requests that the Board of Visitors provide a clear and coherent explanation of its reasons for securing and accepting President Sullivan's resignation, for the process by which it did so, and for selecting an interim president without faculty consultation,
  4. Requests faculty representation as voting members on the Board of Visitors, and a review and restructuring of the Board to better represent a cross-section of constituencies within the University,
  5. Urges the Board to act forthwith to prevent further damage to the University community by reinstating President Sullivan on Tuesday, June 26th, and
  6. Requests the resignation of Rector Dragas from the Board of Visitors.

We look forward to working with all who love, support, and respect the University to restore our community of trust.

This resolution was adopted in an open meeting of the General Faculty Council on June 22, 2012. The General Faculty Council represents 1750 non-tenure-track faculty and members of the senior professional research staff. www.virginia.edu/generalfacultycouncil


17 June 2012

Resolution on the Resignation of President Sullivan


The General Faculty Council supports the Faculty Senate Executive Council’s resolution adopted June 14, 2012 expressing its strong support of President Sullivan and its lack of confidence in the Rector, Vice Rector and BOV. (see resolution below)

University of Virginia Faculty Senate Resolution on the Resignation of President Sullivan

Resolved, that the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia hereby:

  1. Expresses its strong support of President Sullivan.
  2. Expresses its lack of confidence in the Rector, the Vice Rector, and the Board of Visitors.

We offer this resolution mindful of the best interests of the University and the Commonwealth.


12 May 2010

Resolution on the Attorney General's Investigation of Dr. Michael Mann


The General Faculty Council has endorsed the Faculty Senate Executive Council's recent Policy Statement on Attorney General's Investigation of Dr. Michael Mann.

The GFC felt it was important to support the Faculty Senate's work and add our voice to this statement. First, this incident directly impact our academic non-tenure-track and professional research staff constituents. But we believe that our administrative and professional faculty constituents view this incident as an assault on academic freedom, which is ultimately an existential threat to any research university.


12 January 2011

Resolution on Proposed Changes to the Virigina Retirement System (with the PECC)


At the General Faculty Council meeting Wednesday January 12th, the Council unanimously endorsed the Provost Employee Council’s resolution to the governor’s proposed changes to the Virginia Retirement Plan. Our endorsement of this resolution includes the following addition:

The General Faculty Council endorses the resolution of the Provost Employee Council regarding the proposed changes to the Virginia Retirement System and also requests that President Sullivan and the University administration work to address the similar issues around the Optional Retirement Plan.

Below please find the unanimously approved Council resolution regarding the Governor's proposed VRS funding changes. We believe several or all of the other employee councils may pass similar joint resolutions, which we will submit to President Sullivan by January 20th. Specifically, the resolution is in regard to Governor McDonnell's proposed budget amendment that would provide state employees with a 3% pay increase while requiring state employees to contribute 5% of their salary to VRS, resulting in a 2% pay cut.

PECC Resolution on the Governor's Proposed 2011 VRS Changes passed January 11, 2011


WHEREAS: The employees of the University of Virginia have not had a salary increase in the past three fiscal years and in five of the past ten fiscal years; and

WHEREAS: The employees of the University of Virginia have helped overcome the Commonwealth's current revenue shortfall by doing the work of the University's unfilled positions; and

WHEREAS: The current Virginia Retirement System funding shortfall was not created by the employees of the University of Virginia; and

WHEREAS: The current Virginia Retirement System promised benefits are a valued and necessary component of the University of Virginia employee compensation package; and

WHEREAS: The employees of the University of Virginia support efforts to ensure that the Virginia Retirement System is fiscally stable.

NOW THEREFORE the Provost Employee Council of the University of Virginia hereby requests that President Sullivan and the University administration work through the legislative process to find a long-term solution to better fund the Virginia Retirement System while not reducing the salary of University of Virginia employees.

Notes:


As you share this information with your constituents you may also want to provide them with the web address for the University's State Governmental Relations Office http://www.virginia.edu/governmentalrelations which provides weekly updates on the Legislative Session.

In addition http://www.virginia.edu/governmentalrelations/legislators.html contains a link to find out Who's My Legislator. While the Council and UVa encourage employees to be active in the political process, please be aware that if employees wish to contact their legislators, there are guidelines that must be followed:

  1. Do not use UVA letterhead or stationery
  2. Do not use UVA resources including email
  3. Do not contact legislators during work hours
  4. Make it clear in your correspondence that you are not representing the University of Virginia with your views

Sarah Collie, Assistant Vice President for Management & Budget/Director, State Government Relations, also suggests that during the Legislative Session constituents mail any correspondence to the legislators' Richmond address as that is where they will be located for the next couple of months. Sarah also recommended email as a good method of contacting legislators.

We are hopeful that our concern regarding the Governor's proposed VRS changes in his budget amendment will be heard by the Governor and legislature.


31 March 2010

Endorsement of the Declaration Against Discrimination

The General Faculty Council joined the Faculty Senate and endorsed the Faculty Senate Executive Council's Declaration against Discrimination:

Declaration against Discrimination


University faculties have a special charge to maintain an educational environment that fosters diversity and assures equal support to all participants – faculty, staff, and students alike. The Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia accordingly reaffirms its 2005 declaration that “Discrimination - whether based on a person's color, religion, nationality or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, age, or disability - has no place among us.”

We unite behind the University's current policy on Preventing and Addressing Discrimination and Harassment: “The University will not tolerate discrimination or harassment in the workplace, academic setting or in its programs or activities based on age, color, disability, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or veteran status.” These protections and our institutional commitment to an inclusive community are essential to the health of the academic enterprise and must not be compromised.


22 October 2002

Endorsement of Resolution of Assembly of Professors


The General Faculty Council, as the representative body for the Academic General Faculty, the Administrative and Professional General Faculty, and the Senior Professional Research Staff of the University of Virginia, has voted to endorse the resolution of the Assembly of Professors, dated October 14, 2002, recommending that tuition at the University be raised in response to the current budget crisis.

General Resolution in Support of a Phased and Fair Rise in Tuition Fees


Whereas:

  1. The University of Virginia is absorbing unprecedented cuts imposed by the state in its operating budgets ($33.8 million in this fiscal year alone).
  2. Aggregate state funding for higher education in Virginia, by the state's own formula, as fallen short by $300 million per year for the past twelve years.
  3. The University faces even greater cuts when the legislature reconvenes in January 2003.
  4. Political leaders in Richmond show no indication of addressing the structural shortfalls in state revenues by reforming the tax code.
  5. The effects of these cuts, both acute and chronic, threaten the ability of the University of Virginia to fulfill its fundamental mission of excellence in research and teaching.

We, the Assembly of Professors, RESOLVE

  1. To urge the administration and the Board of Visitors of the University to take the necessary steps to introduce a phased and fair increase in the rates of student tuition until it reaches levels comparable to peer institutions such as the University of Michigan. This rise in tuition must be guided by several core principles, namely
    • the resulting increase in revenues should come directly to the University, without further reductions in state funding.
    • financial aid available to students should be commensurately increased, with the goal of meeting the financial aid needs of every qualified student.
    • the allocation of additional funds generated by the tuition increase should be fairly apportioned by the provost so it will have the greatest positive effect on the core academic mission of the University.
  2. We further ask that the Assembly of Professors forward this resolution to the Board of Visitors for its urgent consideration, and that the Faculty Senate, the Student Council, and other constituencies throughout the University consider, endorse and support this resolution.
Assembly of Professors
October 2002

 

 

The General Faculty Council has unanimously adopted six separate resolutions regarding the Policy on the General Faculty, benefits, disability leave, professional development, and salary increase equity to help focus our efforts on resolving important and long-standing issues of concern to the general faculty. These resolutions together with synopses of the underlying issues are available for review and comment. We encourage all general faculty to aid in our institution’s self improvement by contacting University administrators to express their support for these resolutions.

  1. Policy on the General Faculty
  2. Issue: For the past 7 years, the General Faculty Council (GFC) has been engaged with the Provost’s Office in revising the University’s Policy on the General Faculty. We recognize that some issues are complex, that many stakeholders are involved, and that other pressing matters demand attention by the Provost and his staff. However, it is in the collective best interests of the University, its constituent units, and its general faculty that this process be completed as quickly as possible. We are confident that a good-faith effort by all parties could finalize a mutually acceptable version of this 8-page document within a matter of weeks.



    Resolution: The GFC requests that the Provost post a revised draft Policy on the General Faculty for review by and endorsement of council and that he subsequently implement a mutually acceptable revised Policy by October 1, 2004.

  3. Temporary Disability Leave Benefit for General Faculty
  4. Issue: The Policy on the General Faculty that was posted on the Provost's web site prior to 13 July 2004 states, “Temporary disability leave (sick leave) with salary and fringe benefits is available to members of the general faculty for the period of temporary disability (up to six months) caused by accident, ill health, pregnancy, or childbirth and the recovery therefrom.” The current leave policy is covered by reference in the recently revised version of the Policy on the General Faculty (dated 13 July 2004) but the details are reported in a separate document (dated 9 February 2004) on the Provost’s web site at http://www.virginia.edu/provost/docs_policies/leaves.html#temporary.

    This version of the leave policy specifies an important difference in the temporary disability leave benefit for those faculty who do not participate in the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (categorized as groups A and C in the Leave Policy document). Specifically, “… Up to six months of leave (or to the end of the contract, whichever comes first) is available for the period of temporary disability caused by accident, ill health, pregnancy, or childbirth and the recovery therefrom.” The restriction (“or to the end of contract, whichever comes first”) has important implications for general faculty. Under the current leave policy, the full benefit could be denied if the contract ends before the disability leave expires. In our view, all Faculty should be eligible for equal duration of protection as provided under the previous version of the Policy on the General Faculty.

    Resolution: The GFC requests that the Board of Visitors make the benefit for temporary disability leave (for categories A and C of faculty) conform to the previous version of the Policy on the General Faculty.

  5. Benefits for Sponsor-Supported General Faculty and Staff (Primarily Research Faculty and Professional Research Staff)
  6. Issue 1: Paid Temporary Disability Leave. The University’s current Policy on the General Faculty guarantees up to 6 months of paid “temporary-disability (sick) leave” for general faculty. However, the University does not have an established policy or mechanism to fund extended temporary leave (as opposed to normal sick leave) for sponsor-supported employees. Cases are handled on an ad hoc basis leading to substantial administrative burdens on all parties (the individual disabled faculty/staff, their departments, and Human Resources). The following points illustrate aspects of the problem:


    • In some cases, departments have been required to pay salary and benefits for temporarily disabled, non-working employees through existing grants and contracts. However, because salary in such cases is not allocated for its intended purpose, the departments’ and University’s ability to meet contractual obligations may be compromised.
    • The Federal Cost Accounting Standards require that costs for temporary disability leave for sponsor-supported employees be distributed proportionately across all funding sources. However, individual faculty who are supported by multiple grants/contracts are not allowed to “bank” funds from past projects that could be used to meet this requirement.
    • Departments have also been required to pay temporary disability leave for sponsor-supported employees through recovered overhead from grants and contracts. However, all departments may not be aware of their potential financial liability in this regard or have sufficient resources available.

    Although the temporary disability leave costs for sponsor-supported employees University wide are modest, when billed to individual research programs or to individual units, the financial implications can be very serious. The GFC believes that the simplest, most-cost effective, and least disruptive solution to this problem would be to treat the benefit like an insurance policy. Specifically, we feel that the risk should be spread proportionately over all stake holders by establishing a University-wide, self-sustaining pool to cover the cost of this benefit through a minor (perhaps trivial) tax on overhead recovered from all sponsor-supported grants and contracts.

    Resolution: The GFC requests that the Provost, the Vice President for Research, and Human Resources work with us in establishing a University-wide pool to fund paid temporary disability leave for all eligible sponsor-supported employees.

    Issue 2: Eligibility for Employer Contributions to Health Benefits. Due to vagaries in funding cycles beyond their control, sponsor-supported faculty may sometimes experience temporary breaks in full-time extramural support for salary and benefits. According to current University policy, if sponsor support for these faculty falls a fraction below 100% for a single pay period (and if other sources of bridging support cannot be negotiated on an ad hoc basis), all employer contributions to health benefits immediately cease. More importantly, those members of the faculty remain ineligible for employer contributions to health benefits until such time as 6-months of full-time support into the future can be guaranteed. We believe that this policy and, in particular, the latter (6-month) criterion is not in the University’s self interest in recruiting and retaining the world-class research faculty that will be required to meet its stated goal of building national prominence as a research institution.

    Resolution: The GFC requests that the Provost, the Vice President for Research, and Human Resources work with us in developing an alternative policy whereby employer contributions to health benefits for sponsor-supported faculty would continue during and immediately following temporary breaks in full-time sponsor support without respect to the duration of full-time support guaranteed into the future.

  7. General Faculty Professional Development
  8. Issue: The teaching general faculty usually teach as many hours as or more hours than tenure-track faculty and often have at least as many students. When the University initially articulated differences between general and track teaching faculty, it was decided that general faculty teach more courses to qualify for full time than track faculty because general faculty did not have the same research obligations as track faculty. In addition, it was assumed that general faculty would not need the same access to professional development as track faculty because general teaching faculty were usually adjunct, teaching occasional classes and maintaining professional lives off grounds.

    The reality today is quite different. More than half of the faculty are general faculty. Most non-track teaching faculty are employed full time and are also expected to engage in research. Indeed, these faculty are evaluated on their research in addition to teaching and service to the community - that is, by the same criteria as track faculty. Despite their commitments to teaching, to students, and to research, general faculty often lack the professional development opportunities available to track faculty. To name a few examples: reimbursements for student activities; travel funds for professional conferences; and eligibility for grants and fellowships. The University has become increasingly dependent on its general faculty (while there has been a 3% increase in track faculty over the past ten years, there has been a 43% increase among the general faculty), and these inequities fail to recognize the substantial contribution of teaching general faculty to the quality of instruction at the university.

    For administrative and professional general faculty, similar inequities exist. The general faculty recognizes that its members are ineligible for tenure, but all faculty should have opportunities for professional development. It is in the best interest of the entire University that its general faculty, without whom the University could not function, be given equitable opportunities for professional development.

    Resolution: The GFC requests that the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement review, with the assistance of the GFC, all current professional development opportunities for teaching and research faculty and revise policies regarding faculty development to make them fair and equitable to all members of the faculty. In addition, the GFC requests that the Vice Provost for Management and Budget undertake the same review for administrative and professional faculty.

  9. General Faculty Salary Increase Equity
  10. Issue: The “Salary & Wage Increases” web site on the University's Budget Office web page, (http://www.virginia.edu/budget/faqSalary.html), documents that, since 1987, when Administrative and Professional General Faculty lost the right to promotion in ranks, we also began to lose equity in salary increases. We understand that all faculty salary increases are merit-based. However, we question why administrative and professional faculty are distinguished from teaching and research faculty in the base percentage salary increases allotted to faculty. The salary increase inequity has been particularly pronounced since 1998/99, when the percentage increase was less than that for teaching and research faculty, and for classified staff. Since FY1998, administrative and professional general faculty have received smaller increases than other faculty four of the seven years with no one receiving raises in another two of the seven years. In addition, in FY2004, while our state-funded raises were the same, the additional salary increase funding provided by the Board of Visitors was distributed to administrative and professional faculty as the last priority—and required special justification if a Dean wished to award an amount over 10%, as opposed to over 15% for teaching and research faculty. Further, the plan from SCHEV for raises in the 2004-2006 budget biennium is to award 5.2% to teaching and research faculty but only 3% to administrative and professional faculty. We believe that administrative and professional general faculty contribute equally with other faculty and staff to the mission and success of this institution. We feel that we should be rewarded equally for that effort.



    Resolution: The General Faculty Council urges the University of Virginia administration to pursue salary increases for administrative and professional faculty equal to those enjoyed by their fellow faculty members, regardless of the funding source.