The University of California's four-year plan to return faculty salaries to competitive levels achieved its first practical effect this month with the implementation of a 3-percent salary increase for University faculty.
UC faculty were given merit increases plus a 1.5 percent range increase and a 1.5 percent "parity adjustment" as of October 1 as first step in returning UC's faculty salaries to the levels paid by the University's "comparison-eight" institutions. With this increase, UC salaries lag those of the comparison-eight by an estimated 7.2 percent, whereas prior to the change the gap was 10.4 percent. The long-term plan is to grant faculty 5-percent salary increases over each of the next three years -- a 2 percent range increase, shared in by all UC employees, and a 3 percent parity adjustment solely for faculty. If UC's projections about comparison-eight salaries are correct, UC's lag-to-parity should drop to 4.7 percent in 1996-97, 2.3 percent in 1997-98, and then disappear altogether in 1998-99.
Within the Senate and administration, however, there is increasing apprehension about UC's ability to attract and retain top faculty, given the University's current salary scales and comparison-eight benchmarks. A systemwide faculty working group has been studying faculty salaries with particular reference to the comparison-eight methodology.
President Peltason repeatedly stated that his first priority for the University was to return faculty salaries to competitive levels, and this year the University demonstrated it by making some tough choices regarding the salary increases granted to so-called "non-faculty academics." Employees in this category include librarians, professional researchers, Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors, Continuing Education at the Bar research attorneys, and University Extension specialists. Traditionally these groups have received the same salary increases that have been granted UC faculty. This year, however, non-faculty academics received only the 1.5 percent range increase and, as of now, are not scheduled to share in the 3-percent parity adjustments expected to be granted to faculty in each of the next three years.
This change has come about for two reasons. First, UC budget officials felt that the University could not afford to bring faculty salaries to parity if these salaries continued to be coupled to those of non-faculty academics. Second, UCOP Academic Affairs officers argued that non-faculty academics have their own comparison groups with whom their salaries are in reasonable accord. Thus, the argument went, it would be inappropriate to grant non-faculty academics the larger increases faculty are scheduled to get.
Not surprisingly, there is disagreement about this, and as such, UCOP agreed to do salary comparison surveys regarding two groups of non-faculty academics, librarians and the Cooperative Extension personnel. Neither survey has been completed.