Ideas from community forum on salary policy, April 8, 2015

We held a community forum on a fair salary policy on April 8, 2015. There’s more information about this including other materials here: Salary Policy Home

Sheets from community forum

At the community forum, we provided large poster sheets on the wall for people to add comments. We divided these into four general areas:

Principles – principles and goals we would like to use in crafting a salary policy

Process – ideas for how we might go about creating and implementing a salary policy

Concerns – potential problems or issues we might run into during this process

Ideas – Other ideas, concepts, or thinking to take into account while thinking about compensation issues.

Below, I’ve transcribed these sheets, keeping these categories. In places, I’ve expanded some of the entries for clarity. Feel free to comment or respond below.


  • Ratio between highest and lowest paid employees
  • Use accurate benchmarks to compensate staff comparably to relevant institutions for all of the work they do
  • Inclusiveness
  • Transparency
  • Start from living wage for lowest paid: Start from basic need and justice
  • Simplicity
  • Mindful of anti-oppression work in process
  • Gender/race equity in salary decisions
    • Job security for staff
    • longer contracts?
  • tenure or job protection
  • Salaries should reflect training/education and hours
  • A living wage is in alignment with Guilford values



  • Develop staff level or rank policy and detailed position descriptions with annual review (merit raises)
  • “Exceptional” circumstances we are facing now should lead to an exceptional and inclusive process
  • Clear, open, safe communication
  • Effective, responsive, accountable
  • Performance reviews should matter and connect to salary
  • The process needs benchmarks and deadlines
  • We should have standardized annual reviews for faculty and staff
  • The process needs official support from the president and trustees
  • We need all (including trustees) to agree in principle on issues like a living wage and basic ratio limits


  • Endowed chairs or other donations may be distorting salaries
  • When looking at averages for staff salaries, we need to take highly compensated administrators out of the aggregate
  • There is no clarity behind the upcoming cut decisions
  • We need to weigh budget woes vs. human capital
  • We are losing good people to low salary
  • Supervisory roles are not always clearly defined or awarded
  • Do high salaries reflect actual performance at Guilford?
  • We need a better process for part-time hiring
  • Salary problems affect our community and our ability to recruit students and employees


  • Re-allocation of executive compensation to promote equity
  • Give folks on the bottom immediate relief such as paying in full their health premiums
  • Possible staff policies
  • Flex time
  • Leave sharing
  • Vacation accrual
  • Reducing the number of vice presidents
  • Vice presidents going back to faculty salary levels
  • In the first year of this policy, make equity a priority for lowest paid @ 130% of poverty level
  • Our efforts should be connected to national discussions and actions, such as the Faculty Forward movement
  • We should post salaries for advertised positions
  • We should re-title vice president positions to directors, which could reduce salary expectations


  1. Caroline McAlister

    When you talk about living wage for lowest paid that you are including part time faculty. Wages for part time faculty should match more closely the pay per course for full time faculty.

  2. If there is no possibility of staff raises, perhaps other sorts of compensation can be considered? More vacation days or a 4 day week over the summer (or some variation of summer hours).