Senate Source

June 2012

Academic Council Issues Faculty Salaries Recommendations


The Academic Council says the University should consider a 3% salary increase for faculty and non-represented staff as important as other mandatory cost increases, and is recommending a mechanism for increasing faculty salaries by that amount based partly on the report of a joint Senate-Administration Taskforce.


President Yudof asked the Taskforce to develop options and recommendations for maintaining faculty salary competitiveness based on the assumption that revenue will be available for annual 3% increases in addition to normal merits for five years. Its report recommends a two-phase, multi-year plan. The first phase would move the official systemwide scales at a given rank and step to the median of the nine general campus averages at that rank and step. The second phase would move each faculty member’s salary, at the time of a positive merit review, to at least the average of their peers at the new rank and step on that campus.


Council’s recommendations take a somewhat different approach. They advocate distributing the first-year 3% in two parts: a 2% across-the-board range adjustment of faculty salaries, applied to both the on- and off-scale salary, and 1% applied toward the two mechanisms described in the Taskforce report. Council says that phase two should be implemented only after phase one has been funded, although it also notes that funding for phase two is not likely in the coming year. The 2% range adjustment would raise the scales by 2%. The 1% applied to the mechanisms in the Taskforce report would raise the scales by considerably more than 1%, given the large fraction of faculty with off-scale salaries.


Academic Council Chair Robert Anderson says Council is concerned about the growing salary competitiveness gap for all UC faculty, as well as the growing irrelevance of the published salary scales, the increasing use of off-scale, and the “loyalty penalty” sometimes paid by longer serving faculty relative to their more recently hired peers. He says Council’s recommendations attempt to address all these concerns to the extent possible with the modest funds being proposed. Its recommendation for a range adjustment ensures that, if any funding is provided, all faculty will receive an increase, which is necessary to offset the increase in UCRP employee contributions.


Chair Anderson notes, “Council wants to help faculty with both on- and off-scale salaries and also take steps toward establishing more competitive salary scales, which are central to maintaining UC’s merit and reward system.


Not all of Council’s recommendations were supported by all Senate divisions, however. The Berkeley and Los Angeles divisions strongly oppose the specific mechanisms outlined in the report—citing their cost, their inflexibility (campuses may have other priorities), and expressing concern that the recommendations will conflict with their existing mechanisms that they argue work well in addressing individual recruitment and retention challenges. Berkeley expressed concern that phase 2 of the Taskforce recommendations would make faculty retention more expensive by increasing the salaries of faculty who were not retention targets. Berkeley also raised the concern that automatically awarding salary increases would undermine their CAP, which unlike most campus CAPs, makes a salary recommendation in all merit and retention cases.


“I am sympathetic to the notion that there may be other ways to increase salaries,” says Chair Anderson. “But the recommendations do not constrain the ability of any campus to set salaries at a higher level than the minimum systemwide salary. The common salary scales have been a cornerstone of UC’s excellence and must be restored. We must also take steps to ensure equity for highly meritorious faculty of long service whose salaries have fallen well behind those of more recently recruited faculty.”


Vice Provost for Academic Personnel Susan Carlson says UCOP will be taking Council’s recommendations into consideration as it contemplates next steps, but that salary actions are up in the air with the recent budget news and the uncertainty about the November ballot measures.