The UC Academic Council recommended in May that the university consider a 3 percent salary increase — for both faculty and staff not represented by collective bargaining agreements — to maintain the quality of its faculty and the university’s competitiveness with other higher education institutions in the nation.
The council’s recommendations, which states the salary increase could cost the university $30 million, were issued in response to the UC Joint Senate-Administration Task Force report from February.
The task force report recommends first adjusting systemwide salary scales of faculty at a given rank and step, which is the level of a faculty member’s academic title based on merit reviews. The report also recommends shifting each faculty member’s salary amount, at the time of a positive merit review, to at least the average of their peers at their new rank on a particular campus.
The council advocates splitting up the proposed 3 percent salary increase into two parts, according to the council’s report. The first motion the council recommends applying is a 2 percent across-the-board adjustment to both on- and off-scale faculty salaries, which would mean the increase in salary would apply to both faculty whose salary is published within a systemwide salary of their particular rank and to faculty whose salary is higher. The second motion the council recommends is a 1 percent adjustment toward the two phases described in the taskforce report.
UC Vice Provost for Academic Personnel Susan Carlson said the council’s recommendations were important in order to keep up with other competing universities.
“The report was commissioned because the university was trying to do some long-term planning for faculty salary and we lag on our peers by quite a bit. Right now, our faculty are paid 10.8 percent less than faculty in our eight comparison universities,” Carlson said. “It really hurts our efforts to recruit and retain faculty that make UC as good as it is.”
But the UC Berkeley and UCLA Academic Senate divisions both strongly oppose the increase due to cost and inflexibility to campuses that wish to set their own budget priorities.
Richard Walker, a UC Berkeley geography professor and co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association, said the proposed faculty salary increase was a good idea in order for the UC to be more in line with comparable institutions.
He also said the salary increase should only be applied to on-scale, not off-scale, salaries and that university staff must not be treated as a secondary to the university’s functioning.
“The salary scale has been a fundament of UC’s success in recruiting the best young faculty, and it has been gradually dismantled over the last 20 years in order to offer high salaries to stars and to favored groups, like economists,” Walker said in an email. “This has been wretched for faculty morale, particularly those who are most devoted to this university and who don’t run around getting outside offers to jack up their salaries.”
According to council chair Richard Anderson, the recommendation will be considered by UC President Mark Yudof, but Anderson is unsure when Yudof will review it.
“Now the senate responses as well as other responses from campus faculty and administrations are being funneled to Yudof, who is at the moment waiting to see what the budget will be for next year,” Carlson said. “Nothing has been decided yet. He will take this very seriously, not to make any decisions until the university has the funds to do so.”
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