UW News

March 29, 2007

Faculty Senate chair calls all-faculty meeting on salaries April 3

UW News

Gail Stygall, chair of the UW Faculty Senate, is inviting all faculty campuswide to a meeting to discuss faculty salary policies from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, in 102 Johnson.

The meeting, Stygall said, is to address “the most pressing problems in the current salary policy, and possible solutions, as well as proposed changes in the 2 percent policy (on salary increases).”

Stygall said the Faculty Senate has had a committee studying salary issues throughout the year, with several members meeting with Regent Sally Jewell, whom Stygall praised for her attention to faculty salaries.

Three major issues are at play, Stygall said, which she hopes can be addressed in the meeting.

The first, she said, is salary compression, defined by the committee as a faculty member in a higher rank being paid less than the median salary of the rank immediately below, plus 7.5 percent. “There was some progress made when the Provost two years ago applied some money to the situation, but it’s not cured,” she said, noting that while full professors were helped by that action, “the associate professors are now in trouble.”

The second issue, she said, is that “In years where there is only a 2 percent increase available, or nothing as the case may be, there is no such thing as a raise for being extraordinarily meritorious.”

Stygall said, “People should not assume that the only raises will be 3, 2 and 2 (percent). In a good budget year, as this one may be, more money will be available, and we need to be thinking about what happens when there is more available than the absolute minimums.”

She said those two issues came up frequently when the Faculty Senate solicited e-mails from faculty on salary concerns a few weeks ago.

The third concern, she said, is competitiveness in the market, or the ongoing issue of UW salaries compared with those of peer institutions nationwide. “When you look at average salaries we continue to have units that are 20 percent and more behind,” she said.

Stygall said, “One of the downsides of the morale problems these issues cause is that people get so discouraged, they think that nobody’s going to do anything about it. But I think faculty can have some say in shaping what the administration decides to do with the additional funds.”

As for salaries, she said, “There are three fairly serious long-term problems that need to be addressed, and now seems like a good time to be talking about what the priorities are.”