funding for pay, research
By Carol Wood
a difficult three years laden with hefty state budget cuts and
no state salary increases, the Universitys Board
of Visitors delivered some good news Saturday morning during
its policy discussion on compensation and research issues.
came approval of $3.5 million (which includes benefits) for targeted
faculty and classified staff salary adjustments, to be effective
Nov. 25. These are in addition to the 2.25 percent increase already
authorized by the state.
was approval to invest $60 million for research, including $40
million, in concept, for the first phase of a creative initiative
meant to bolster the Universitys status as a top-ranked
research institution, and $20 million toward construction of MR-6,
the planned medical research facility that already had been earmarked
to receive state bond referendum funds of $24.2 million.
Board of Visitors unanimously approved the following compensation
plans to become effective in November:
For faculty, both teaching and general, and graduate teaching
assistants, a pool equal to 1.75 percent of base salaries
was created to give targeted merit adjustments.
For classified staff, a pool of $250,000 plus benefits was
created to give strategic base salary adjustments. A third
University-wide annual pool of $200,000 plus benefits was
created for one-time bonuses and awards. This pool will
be managed at the senior vice presidential level.
addition to these immediate actions, the board committed, in concept,
to a $125.8 million plan (which includes the $60 million mentioned
earlier) to attract 10 leading research teams to the University
by 2009 and to restore faculty compensation to nationally competitive
levels by 2007. Long-range, permanent plans on both these initiatives
will be presented to the board at its April meeting.
John T. Casteen III said the session was the culmination of a
series of conversations begun six months ago when board members
asked him to enumerate key critical issues facing the University.
and compensation quickly moved to the top of the list, and last
summer the board requested a focused analysis to ascertain what
it would take to accomplish three goals:
it has been clear for some time that the University was falling
behind in salary compensation, the state showed no signs of being
able to shoulder its financial obligation to state employees.
W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer,
gave a brief historical overview of the states failure to
adequately fund faculty salaries. Despite a State Council of Higher
Education for Virginia proposal in the late 1980s to bring faculty
salaries at all of Virginias public colleges and universities
to the 60th percentile of their peers, it has met that goal for
the University only once in the past 12 years, he said.
2000-01, U.Va. salaries ranked in the 46th percentile among its
SCHEV peer group, and in 2002-03, that ranking dropped to the
said that the University would seek to make strategic compensation
decisions with both faculty and staff.
2000, the state modified its classified pay system, and in the
process introduced a special rewards and recognition program.
While the state has never funded that program, each vice presidential
area has tried to keep it alive through funding at departmental
levels. This is the first time University-wide resources have
Gene D. Blocks idea to attract 10 National Academies-level
faculty teams to the University was cause for special enthusiasm.
as a board are fundamentally making a commitment to the faculty
of the University and a commitment to elevating this University,
said board member John O. Wynne. This plan has the possibility
to elevate this University in a way only private universities
are doing today.
Gordon F. Rainey Jr. and Casteen underscored the importance of
institutional discipline and following carefully calculated guidelines
at every step of the way.