‘No guarantees’ for faculty salary increases


Kaitlin Hetterscheidt

Stan Wearden, senior vice president and provost, attended the Faculty Senate’s monthly meeting on Feb. 27 to discuss faculty salary increases, among other issues. 

By Campus Reporter

Faculty salary increases cannot be guaranteed for the upcoming academic year, Stan Wearden, senior vice president and provost, told the college’s Faculty Senate Feb. 27 at its monthly meeting. 

The announcement comes in response to recent concerns raised by faculty members regarding the Feb. 18 email sent out by Wearden and Michelle Gates, vice president of Business Affairs and CFO, about budget cuts throughout the college that will allow for the allocation of financial resources to other areas of the college, including compensation rewards for faculty and staff. 

“I think some faculty were delighted to see this and some felt concern that there was no mention of cost of living adjustments in that letter as well,” said Peter Carpenter, president of the Faculty Senate. 

During the meeting, Wearden made it clear that faculty salary increases are dependent on multiple factors, including reaching the planned target for collegewide budget cuts and hitting the college’s fall enrollment mark.  

“I don’t want people to leave here with any false hope [about salary increases] at all,” Wearden said. “We would love to be able to give salary increases, but these are two big hurdles that have to be cleared before we can do that.” 

Even if these targets are met, the administration will have to determine how to create a pool of funds to go toward salary increases, because implementing sweeping increases across the college would not allow any significant increases in salary to occur, Wearden said.  

Wearden also said that cost of living increases have become a low priority due to current low inflation rates and the college’s generous benefits packages. 

“Although I recognize and am sympathetic to the need for a cost of living increase, at least it doesn’t have the same sense of urgency as it has had in previous years,” Wearden said.     

While raises are not guaranteed, Wearden stressed the importance of faculty compensation and finding ways to give out faculty raises for promotions. 

“I think it’s unconscionable that we don’t do that,” Wearden said. “What’s a promotion if there’s no raise? To me, that’s priority one.” 

According to Wearden, the college’s compensation rates are not in line with those of other institutions, averaging lower salaries at every rank level. Wearden said this process is important to the college but will take time. 

Wearden said he and Gates stressed the importance of compensation for high-performing faculty because it is something  that he and President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim believe in doing. 

“That’s how you keep our high performers, so that’s the reason that you saw that language in there,” Wearden said. 

When concerns were raised about how merit-based compensation would be determined, Wearden said it would be necessary to determine a set of criteria-—a process in which he hopes to involve the Faculty Senate. 

During the meeting, the Senate also discussed the possibility of creating a position for a liaison between the faculty and the provost, with the goal of creating a strong faculty voice within the provost’s office. The proposed title for this position is Provost Administrative Fellow. 

“I think the idea of the administrative fellow is very attractive and in line with what other schools are doing,” said Eric Scholl, associate chair of the Television Department. “I really like the idea of being able to try out an administrative role.” 

Details on the position are still in development regarding which faculty members will be qualified for the  position. The Faculty Senate and Wearden  hope that the position will be created by the Fall 2015 Semester.

The next Faculty Senate meeting is set to take place on March 20.