Jane’s E-mail to Clerk’s Committee (May 24, 2016)

To the Faculty Clerk’s Committee (outgoing and incoming members):

I am writing to provide you all with an update on the work of the Compensation Committee, one of primary ways we are implementing the Strategic Priority to “Invest in Faculty and Staff.”  As part of the Compensation Committee’s Charge, I committed to providing a report to the Faculty Clerk’s Committee and the campus community at the end of each semester.  My Spring 2016 report to the Faculty Clerk’s Committee is provided in the attachment below for your information.

As you will see in that report, we have worked diligently to find ways to incorporate the best and widest possible wisdom and advice to make sure this is a project we can all be proud of. Your feedback has been critically important as we have wrestled with difficult topics together. Our committee’s work has been richer and more credible by virtue of the candid advice we have received from across campus. I hope that each of you found a way to avail yourself of the many opportunities to provide your input.

Though the academic year has come to a close, the work of the Compensation Committee continues. Several sub-committees have set an ambitious schedule of work planned for the coming months. For example, one group will be working to determine what a “Living Wage” should be for Guilford College, and the faculty will be reviewing, discussing and providing me feedback on the recommendation I received on the Faculty Salary Equity Formula before I make a decisions about how to proceed.

When the campus community comes back together in the fall, I plan to share an overview of a comprehensive Compensation Plan that will build on and tie together the work of the various sub-committees, and to identify our specific priorities for implementation.

The Compensation Committee has determined that its highest priority is to establish a Living Wage for Guilford College, and to make sure that no employee earns less than the identified Living Wage. When we are able to make funding available for salary improvements, the lowest paid employees on campus will be the first to receive salary increases.

Many of you have reminded me that the the initial impetus for the formation of the committee was the deep disenchantment on the part of the faculty when they learned that top administrative salaries were much closer to their peers than faculty salaries were to theirs, and the differences were dramatic. Though I am unable to change the past, I have committed to you that I would work to change what we do going forward.

My overarching goal is to create a process to determine and manage the salaries of all Guilford College employees that is more predictable, more transparent and more consistently applied than it has been in the past. For example, I plan to share information about how our staff, administrator and faculty salaries compare to our peer institutions on an annual basis; though this has the potential to actually hamper our ability to recruit top talent in the short run, it will hold us accountable to reaching our goal of equitable salaries and transparent processes, and inspire us to do better every year.

I believe that this work has deepened our collective resolve to make meaningful changes to the fundamental ways we do business, so as to better serve the Guilford College students of today and tomorrow.

I hope that each of you will find your own version of rest and rejuvenation over the summer, and I look forward to coming together and sharing more about the Compensation Project with you in the new academic year.

Jane K. Fernandes