The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life

Clarification on compensation policy with regard to non-tenure-track faculty

June 18th, 2016

Some questions have come up on how the proposed compensation policy might affect part-time, temporary, and non-tenure track faculty. Here’s what I think the situation is now:

For part-time faculty, compensation is handled using the new compensation structure implemented by Beth last year. This is as follows:

  • $4000 per four-credit course.
  • $1250 per one-credit course.
  • $2500 per two-credit course.
  • $850 per lab section.
  • For four-credit courses, faculty earn an additional $500 if the course enrolled more than 25 students.
  • For four-credit courses, faculty earn an additional $500 for courses that end after 10 pm.
  • This structure applies regardless of whether there are CCE or traditional students enrolled.
  • This structure does not apply to music lessons, which are compensated from student fees.

For visiting full-time faculty, salaries are currently set by or negotiated with the Dean’s office as for tenure-track faculty.  Under the compensation policy proposal, they would fit under the faculty formula, which includes a base for rank (visiting or non-tenure-track is one of the ranks) plus additional increments for a terminal degree, for experience, and for some disciplines (amounts and which disciplines still to be determined).  Full-time non-tenure-track faculty are included in the hypothetical salary calculator I wrote, which is here.

Sorry for any confusion. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments below this post or in the forums I’ve set up.

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Notes from informal compensation meeting June 17 2016

June 17th, 2016

We had an informal meeting to discuss the proposals and environment for compensation at Guilford today. About twelve people came, including four from the compensation committee (all also on the faculty salary subcommittee). All were faculty except Christine Riley (compensation committee consultant) and Daniel Diaz (staff member of the compensation committee).

We had a wide-ranging discussion covering many parts of the compensation policy and also some general questions and comments on present and past leadership and initiatives at Guilford. Though the conversation was free-flowing, here are some of the points that came up:

  • The draft of the compensation formula is a little depressing to some because it points out how far behind we are from comparison with other schools. Most present had used the draft salary target calculator to calculate their target. There was some concern about who would make decisions about its subjective components, like how to count previous experience. People expressed a desire for transparency, clarity and an opportunity to review the components of the formula after they’re assigned.
  • One faculty member described a current problematic situation where there was a visiting faculty member Guilford very much wanted to recruit, but the salary we were able to offer (despite approaching the average for tenure-track assistant professors) was $15,000 less than their current visiting position at a similar small school. Other faculty members talked about issues they faced when hired, or issues that have arisen as their careers have progressed, where their salaries have been out of balance with colleagues within or outside of their departments.
  • It is very hard to know how large the problems are, or where they are most severe, without knowing more information about salaries. Some present were frustrated that there is not more information provided. Some would want to go as far as to publish salaries, but others were uncomfortable with that idea. Compromise strategies for information release were also discussed, including describing ranges, trends, and distributions rather than individual salaries, or creating a randomized virtual data set that has a similar distribution and trend to ours but would not reflect the salaries of real faculty.
  • Prioritizing the order and magnitude of salary adjustments is complex, both within faculty and also across all faculty and staff. Most present who spoke seemed to feel that, while the worst off should gain the most prompt and largest adjustments, it would be worth making some progress for everyone who is below targets rather than only addressing the issues in order of severity. That would be closest to the third model on this page.
  • The component of the faculty salary formula that reflects market differences by discipline was discussed. Nobody seemed particularly excited about it, but the modest disciplinary adjustments, to be phased out as we approach targets, seemed not to be unacceptable to those who commented. Being very clear and open about how discipline-based adjustments will be made, and based on what data sets, was important to some of those who attended.
  • There was a significant amount of skepticism about whether Guilford would actually be able to commit permanent sustained funds, or commit them fast enough to make a difference, to move salaries towards their targets. Some noted that we have not ever really prioritized faculty salaries other than an occasional bump. Including annual growth in compensation budgets, which we have started doing this year, is an important positive change, but we are far enough behind that we’ll need to do more than this to make progress toward the target salaries, which seem very distant ideals at this point.
  • We also discussed (or speculated about) what opinions the Board of Trustees has about this process, or whether they could or should be a source of leadership on these issues. It was noted that there seems to be positive movement on that front with some board members who seem willing to advocate for employees and for adequate compensation.

These were not the only topics, and I am sure I have not adequately summarized the complexity or breadth of people’s opinions here. Please feel free to ask questions in comments below, and if the people present wish to add more observations, please do so below.

We discussed whether to have another one of these meetings over the summer. If you would be interested in having another meeting, please let me know, and we can try to organize one in July or early August. Also, feel free to keep asking questions here or posting comments on the other pages.

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LAGER Committee Summer Update

June 16th, 2016

LAGER Committee Summer Update

 

On Saturday, June 4th, seven members of the LAGER Committee and Academic Dean Beth Rushing traveled to Boston University to attend the American Association of Colleges and Universities Institute on General Education and Assessment. During the five days of the institute, the team attended workshops with experts in the many areas of General Education and Assessment, participated in group cluster sessions in which we received feedback from Institute faculty as well as other participating institutions, presented our Guilford College poster, developed an action plan for the work ahead, and continued to develop the working details of the Guilford Curriculum draft proposal. The committee members returned to Greensboro on Wednesday, June 8th, and will be meeting throughout the summer to continue the development of the draft proposal. We will continue to keep you updated on our work throughout the summer. Please feel free to contact us with questions and suggestions at generaleducation@guilford.edu, or contact any of the members of the committee directly.

 

University of Washington struggles with salary policy

June 9th, 2016

Here’s an article about faculty at the University of Washington trying to work on a policy to address salary compression. We have salary compression at Guilford, to be sure, and we also have other issues, many of which are bigger and more pressing than theirs. One major parallel: I see writ large in UW’s proposed solution a desire for more salary transparency and better care of long-term employees.

Seeking Fair Faculty Pay, Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

Admissions Committee Minutes, May 9, 2016

June 7th, 2016

Ad hoc Admission Committee Meeting

May 9, 2016, 8:30-9:30 a.m., Bauman 210-C

Attending: Steve Shapiro, professor of physics, Michael Dutch, professor of business management, David Hildreth, professor of education studies, Kami Rowan, associate professor of music, Garland Granger, associate professor of accounting, Holly Peterson, assistant professor of Geology, Arlene Cash, vice president for enrollment management, Erin Kelly, director of admission, Cyndie Basinger, assistant to vice president for enrollment management

Steve opened the meeting with a moment of silence.  The agenda continued the discussion on enrollment planning and possibly determine a committee chair for the next academic year.

The committee asked what we can do to assist in enrollment planning.  Arlene envisions this committee working on the admission component of the total enrollment plan.  Other groups are working on the retention and academic success components.  The committee is asked to help craft an internal enrollment vision statement.

The College Mission statement found both online and in the Academic Catalog was distributed to serve as a starting point for drafting an enrollment vision statement.  The committee suggests senior leadership revisit some of the language in the Mission statement including the sentences, “We are not perfect at this.” And, “We are a community at best in a perpetual state of becoming.”  It was suggested deleting the term “somewhat paradoxically” in the final paragraph.

 

The committee discussed the following draft internal enrollment vision statement: We will increase enrollment to support a more vibrant and creative learning community that is financially viable for the institution and enhance the academic profile of our student body.  Words shared were creative, active, engaged, supporting the viability of the institution, enhancing the profile.  A complete statement should incorporate the core values.  Arlene will continue to refine the vision statement.

It would be determined later what specifics are included in the academic profile such as geographic region, socio-economic factors, diversity, etc.  Also to be determined are specific goals and the timeframe for achievement.  Growth in enrollment (ultimate capacity) incorporates many factors including housing, budgeting, athletic recruiting and retention rates.   Separate goals for CCE may need to be developed.

Arlene will create a Google site for people to add suggestions to help inform goals.  Arlene could also post on the site throughout the summer any analyses that are completed, ASQ data and admitted student number updates.

We will wait until the first meeting this fall to decide on the committee chair.

The meeting was adjourned with a moment of silence.  Arlene will arrange for a poll to be sent out in the late summer or early fall to set the first meeting in the fall for the Enrollment Committee.

Models for salary adjustments

June 3rd, 2016

The ad hoc Compensation Committee has been working to produce a formula for faculty compensation which I’ll be sharing with you over the next couple of days. We’ll be inviting participation and feedback as we head into next year, when we hope to implement a comprehensive policy with formulas and targets for faculty and staff salaries.

Supposing that all goes off without a hitch, there’s a chance we may have money to allocate to salary increases as early as the middle of next year. I and others have encouraged the college to include salary adjustment money as a continual and growing part of the college’s budget process, the same way we budget for maintenance, computers, subscriptions, and supplies. Under that plan, if approved, we will have some room to make salary adjustments every year *(unless the budget reaches deficit and faces cuts, in which case the pool for salary adjustments might be cut just as any other budget line might).

So, with perhaps unwarranted yet unbridled optimism, a question interesting to me is how we might apply adjustments to existing salaries. The following are in place as starting conditions:

  1. There will be a formula in place for faculty (and probably staff) salaries based on parameters like length of service and rank
  2. Most faculty will be below their targets, although possibly not all
  3. After guaranteeing a living wage for all employees, which is our first priority, the draft compensation philosophy recommends that we address those employees farthest below their targets first.
  4. Even if above formula targets, no salaries will be reduced as part of this process, although such highly compensated people will likely not get raises for a long while.

Imagine, then, a set of faculty who are mostly below their targets, like this:

StartingConditions

As you can see, most faculty are below their targets, although two (#5 and #9) are above. Faculty member #4 seems to be the worst off, while #8 is close to the target.

Here are some models that could be used to get faculty up to their formula-specified targets.

Model #1: Capped flat percent raises

One of the simplest models for salary adjustments is to assign all raises based on a flat overall percentage. Although the methodology for allocation of raises at Guilford in the past has been secret, it seems in many cases to have followed this model for most faculty (likely with additional adjustments for increased rank, positive performance, and other factors).

Imagine if we applied this model, but capped salaries at their formula-specified limits. This would violate our principle of helping those farthest below their targets first, but it would be simple to calculate. I’ve created an animation of how that might look here:

CappedPct

As you can see, faculty member #8 reaches the formula target first, while #4 takes the longest to hit the formula.

This model, while simple, is really the opposite of what we want to do. I don’t think we should follow it, even though flat percent raises are often broadly applied in academia and in the general job market.

Model #2: Help the worst off first

Another approach would be to give raises to those faculty members farthest below their formula targets first. This could be calculated either as a dollar amount or as a percentage, but the percentage approach seems more appropriate. Here’s what that looks like:

FillHoles

As you can see here, application of raises is somewhat spotty, as the worst-off people get helped first. Faculty member #4 gets many raises, including several from the first few phases, while faculty member #8 waits nearly to the end of the process to receive a raise.

Model #3: Proportional adjustments

Finally, here’s another model. This is mathematically more complex, but what it does is assign a pool of raise money to everyone below the formula target based on how far they are from the target. Again, this could be done by dollars or by percent, but I used percentages. It looks like this:

PropPctBelowFormula

What you see here is that everyone below the formula target grows towards the target and receives a raise every year, but the size of the raise is proportional to the deficit. This also means that everyone reaches their target at about the same time (other than the folks who are already at or above when the process starts).

Conclusion

One caveat – obviously, our formula targets should move upward over time in response to inflation and salary changes at our comparison schools, so these models I’ve made don’t include that factor. It’s not hard to add, though.

I’d be curious what people think of these. Both #2 and #3 above honor the priority to help those worst off first, although #2 does it more literally. I think #3 might generate less confusion and more goodwill, although it is slower to correct the worst problems.

If there are other models or approaches people would like me to animate, let me know and I can do it.

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The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life