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Faculty Senate awaits decision on raise request

Faculty at UCM has gone without across-the-board pay increases for nearly three years and the salary compression brought to light by Faculty Senate reports in 2017 continues to exist two years later.

Salary compression occurs when there is a lack of variation in employee salaries regardless of experience or skill. UCM faces a situation where the faculty has been paid near the lowest acceptable percentage of the mean salary in the region. The data that is used to calculate faculty compensation is determined by the American Association of University Professors. UCM policy states that faculty compensation must fall with 90-105 percent of the mean salary.

“When people are hired, they are usually hired at the bottom of that amount,” said Dianna Bryant, Chair of the Faculty Salary and Fringe Benefits Committee. “When you are promoted, you are promoted to the bottom of the next level.”

Faculty Senate recently passed a motion requesting a 4-percent across-the-board salary increase for all faculty. The percentage recommended by the faculty salary and fringe benefits committee reflects the lack of raises over the last two fiscal years.

“It stems from the fact that we haven’t had across the board raises in recent years and they have been historically customary,” Bryant said. “The amount has often been influenced by the cost of living and things like that.”

UCM policy states that “Subject to budget constraints, all full-time faculty members shall receive a permanent annual across-the-board percentage increase in base salary.” Former President Chuck Ambrose cited budget constraints in his previous denials of the Faculty Senate’s request for pay increases.

Bill Hawley, chief financial officer, said budget constraints continue to prevent the administration from administering across-the-board raises.

“We have to factor state appropriations — which were flat this year and project to be flat next year — along with tuition revenue, which is declining due to our volume decreasing from year to year,” he said. “There’s a limited pot of money there and we have other expenses that continue to climb and things that can’t be adjusted.”

Bryant said across-the-board raises are the only way to advance from making the minimum 90 percent of average salaries for our region.

Hawley said salary compression is a larger issue that is felt across the entire campus and not just at the faculty level.

“That’s a problem across the board, really, from our facilities folks to the entire institution,” he said.

Hawley said there isn’t a quick fix for salary compression given the budget issues and excess deferred maintenance on campus.

“We want to be as transparent as possible in these processes so that everyone can see that we’re making the best decisions that we can with the finances we receive,” Hawley said.

Faculty Senate’s recommendation is awaiting action from President Roger Best. If approved by Best, the recommendation will be presented to the Board of Governors for consideration.

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