Proposal to use grants, other sources to fund salary increases causes concern

As the UC system faces another year of diminishing state support, a new policy has been proposed to increase salaries for certain faculty members to improve retention rates.

The proposed Negotiated Salary Program would increase faculty salaries by tapping into the many sources of self-generated incomes faculty have access to in an attempt to supplement their general income, according to the proposal.

Under the new proposal, non-state funds — grants and contracts, endowments or special course fees — would be used to augment faculty salaries under certain conditions, according to an email from Dianne Klein, spokesperson for the UC Office of the President.  If implemented, state funds that would be used originally for faculty raises could be used for other purposes.

However, according to Robert Anderson, chair of the UC Academic Senate, there would not be a large increase in usable state funds.

“It is not clear that this proposal generates any new money,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t use any revenue source that is not already being tapped.”

The proposed policy would increase a faculty member’s salary by charging the raise to grants or other sources of self-generated income, Anderson said.

“The salary scale has not increased very much, and it is now significantly below what a comparable person would be paid in a comparable institution,” said Joe Kiskis, professor of physics at UC Davis. “It makes it harder for the university to keep their best faculty and to hire new faculty.”

The policy states that faculty in good standing who are meeting teaching, research and service obligations may propose a new, higher negotiated salary. The decision to negotiate an increase in salary is determined by the department chairs, deans and the executive vice chancellors or provosts at each UC campus.

However, faculty are concerned that this policy would concentrate the decision-making authority into a few positions. The policy would give the deans extensive power to reduce or increase a faculty member’s salary on a year by year basis without a review to justify the change, according to Anderson.

“It would decrease transparency,” Kiskis said. “It is inevitable that there would be more imbalance in the system.”

At UC Berkeley, increases to faculty salary are recommended by the Committee on Budget and Interdepartmental Relations as part of an academic review, according to campus Academic Senate policy.

The proposed salary plan utilizes the principles found in the Health Sciences Compensation Plan, a policy that allows UC campuses to award competitive salaries by drawing on a broad range of revenue funds. The compensation plan uses clinical income as well as endowment earnings, grants and contracts to create a more competitive market salary for their clinical faculty.

“(The compensation plan) works fine for what it is,” said Stanton Glantz, a professor in the Department of Medicine at UC San Francisco. “If you try to apply this on the general campus, where you don’t have this big clinical revenue scheme, it will create chaos.”

The salary plan would not be enforced systemwide — each chancellor may decide whether or not to implement the policy. Currently, UC Berkeley is not set to participate in the program, according to UC spokesperson Steve Montiel.

“Campuses with medical centers seem more disposed towards the program because faculty in the sciences often feel at a disadvantage to their peers on the Health Service side who are able to take advantage of the (compensation plan),” Klein said in the email.

Currently, the proposal is still in the discussion phase, according to Klein. The Academic Senate is estimated to discuss the proposal in December, after which the proposal will be sent to UC President Mark Yudof for approval.

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  • Anonymous

     Like many academics of a “certain age,” I have long noticed the growth of the campus bureaucracy. For example, at the University of Illinois—where I spent 28 years—it seemed that half of all new construction was to house administrators. The administrative expansion was relentless even though enrollments remained almost unchanged and faculty salaries remained flat.

    Fortunately for myself and other puzzled but similarly observant academics (of “a certain age”), Professor Benjamin Ginsberg’s The Fall of the Faculty brilliantly (and with great wit) explains this rabbits-in-Australia phenomenon. Even better yet is his account of why this population explosion undermines the university’s core mission of teaching and research. To repeat a point impossible to exaggerate: the intellectual costs of bureaucratic expansion far exceed the extra salaries and expensive, wasted office space.

    Ginsberg’s cold statistics confirm every professor’s worst nightmare. Between 1975 and 2005, he reports, full-time faculty grew by 51 percent; administrators at an 85 percent rate and “other professionals” by 240 percent.  In some schools, Vanderbilt, for instance, the student-to-administrative staff ratio has come to resemble the passenger/staff ratio on a luxury cruise.

    Moreover, Ginsberg argues, the usual glib explanations offered by administrators—burgeoning enrollment, government mandated record-keeping, pressures to hire faculty spouses—fail to survive close scrutiny. The real impetus for aggrandizement ispower. Today’s administrators want to dominate university life, and like some alien life-form introduced into an environment that lacks natural predators, they just keep multiplying.   

    What do most administrators actually do? The answer, Ginsberg assures us, is what many senior faculty suspect: almost nothing of any intellectual value. His well-documented catalogue of make-work projects includes endless meetings to fashion long-term “strategic” plans filled with boilerplate and homilies (commonly called “vision statements”) that are quickly forgotten, expensive conferences that are dripping in psychobabble and activities like canoeing to sharpen “decision-making skills,’ and supervising committees to concoct meaningless benchmarks, targets and lists of “best practices.” All the while, the administrators voice the latest managerial buzzwords (e.g., SWOT, ECM, and MBO) to impress gullible outsiders. Further, add expensive image polishing campaigns and energetic fund-raising whose purpose is often to hire yet more administrators. 

    The word for all of this: waste.

    Where The Fall of the Faculty really shines is demonstrating how the expansion-minded administrators manipulate the radical egalitarian agenda—multi-culturalism, affirmative action, the tribal victimization departments, Draconian speech codes, and all the rest—to expand their power. This analysis alone is worth double the price of the book ($29.95) and should be mandatory reading for every academic, student, and tuition-paying parent.

    They’re able to get away with it because of the faculty’s reflexive, unthinking embrace of the PC (politically correct)agenda. What liberal-thinking academic can oppose helping the supposed victims of oppression? Ginsberg gives the example of the Johns Hopkins Africana Studies program that in 2007-8 had all of four undergraduate students. Nevertheless, there was a program director, an eleven-person executive board, ten affiliated faculty, an associated research scholar, and a program administrator

    Robert Weissberg

  • Moravecglobal

    UC Berkeley savings from cost reductions can arrest tuition increases.

    I love the University
    of California (UC) having been a student and lecturer. But today I am concerned
    that at times I do not recognize the UC I love. Like so many I am deeply
    disappointed by the pervasive failures of Regent Chairwoman Lansing, President
    Yudof and the ten campus Chancellors from holding the line on rising costs and
    tuition increases.

    Californians are
    reeling from19% unemployment (includes those forced to work part time, and
    those no longer searching), mortgage defaults, loss of unemployment benefits.
    And those who still have jobs are working longer for less. Faculty wages must reflect California’s ability to pay, not what others
    are paid.

    Pay increases for
    generously paid Faculty is arrogance. Instate tuition consumes 14% of Ca.
    Median Family Income!

    UC Berkeley (ranked #
    70 Forbes) tuition increases exceed the national average rate of increases. Chancellor
    Birgeneau has molded Cal.
    into the most expensive public university.

    President Yudof and Chancellor
    Birgeneau have dismissed many much needed cost-cutting options. They did not
    consider freezing vacant faculty positions, increasing class size, requiring
    faculty to teach more classes, doubling the time between sabbaticals, cutting
    and freezing pay and benefits for all chancellors and reforming the pension

    They said such faculty
    reforms “would not be healthy for University
    of California”. Exodus of
    faculty and administrators? Who can afford them and where would they go?

    We agree it is far
    from the ideal situation, but it is in the best interests of the university
    system and the state to hold the line on cost increases. UC cannot expect to do
    business as usual: raising tuition; granting pay raises and huge bonuses during
    a weak economy that has sapped state revenues and individual Californians’

    There is no
    question the necessary realignments with economic reality are painful. Regent Chairwoman Lansing can bridge the public trust
    gap with reassurances that salaries and costs reflect California’s economic reality. The sky above UC will not fall


    Opinions? Email the UC Board
    of Regents   [email protected]




  • Admin Always Lies

    where does the money go?
    administrators now outnumber faculty at UC:
    growth of administrative positions far outpaces growth of student body and number of faculty:

    $6 billion in 5 years as “Miscellaneous Services” at UCOP
    “… Miscellaneous Services, to account for about $6 billion in expenses, or approximately 25 percent of its public noncompensation expenses over the five‐year period reviewed. Lumping such a large amount into a single accounting code in its corporate financial system impedes the ability of the university and its stakeholders the opportunity to analyze and understand these expenses at a systemwide level.