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UWRF faculty looks at salary adjustment plan

February 17, 2011

Faculty at UW-River Falls earn much less than faculty throughout the state and country but a plan that passed through the faculty senate Feb. 4 aims to even out the discrepancy.

The UWRF Faculty Salary Adjustment Plan is a systematic way of evaluating tenured and tenure-track faculty members’ salaries to see how their wages compare to other faculty at UWRF and throughout the country.

Every year, $100,000 from the universities operational budget will go into a salary adjustment pool.  The median distribution will be $3,000 and will be retroactive to the beginning of the current academic year, according to the plan.

If a faculty member’s salary is still below the university and national average after receiving compensation, they will be eligible three years after receiving the funds.

According to AAUP 2006-2007 averages, UWRF Assistant Professors earn $715 above their peer averages; UWRF Associate Professors are $62 below their peer average and UWRF Full Professors are $4,735 below their peer averages.

The plan will use data from the College and University Professional Association’s (CUPA) National Faculty Salary Survey for four-year Institutions (NFSS) and by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Faculty Salary Survey to compare the disparities between UWRF salaries and those of peer institutions.

The peer institutions were chosen by former Chancellor Connie Foster because of their similarity to UWRF in terms of the types of programs and enrollement.

Besides looking at the wage gap to find eligible recipients, the plan also looks at a faculty member’s rank, time in rank and seniority at UWRF.

According to the plan, each year the four colleges on campus will have a minimum of one recipient. Steve Olsen, chair of the Faculty Compensation Committee, said that in the gloom of the current economy, the plan is something positive for UWRF faculty.

Chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee and member of the Faculty Senate, Brad Mogen, echoed Olsens comments. “At the end of the day, faculty and the administration worked together to move $100,000 into the faculty salary line. That’s a good thing,” Mogen said.

The original motion was signed in2008 by Former Chancellor Don Betz but it lacked a distribution plan.

There needs to be a plan in place so that the money is distributed in a transparent, fair and equitable manner, Mogen added.

According to the plan, the “allocation shall continue at least until UWRF faculty (tenured and tenure- track) salaries at all ranks reach the average of our peer institutions as determined by the AAUP Faculty Salary Survey.”

Even though Wisconsin faces a budget deficit of $136.7 million, the $100,000 will be allocated each year, said Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance Joseph Harbouk.

Unless the campus gets hit with a 10 percent budget cut, the money will be allocated every year, added Harbouk.