Faculty Council calls attention to ‘uncompensated merit’

Motion being considered would ask administration to give greater consideration to salaries during budgeting process

The Faculty Council is considering a motion that would express concern over the concept of uncompensated merit, suggesting that salary models at the university are not in line with contemporary market forces.

“Long-serving faculty and exempt professionals are severely disadvantaged by our compensation models that are non-responsive to market forces and that are disjointed with regard to matching the rewards for merit with available funds,” reads the proposed motion, which was discussed by the council at its Jan. 23 meeting at 1800 Grant St. “In other words, faculty merit is often the result of long-term uneven outcomes that may not match available funding.

“Faculty with high merit primarily during years of low funding are penalized disproportionately. Some exempt professionals may suffer the same inequities.”

The motion was brought to the council by its Budget Committee, which originally referred to the issue as “salary compression.” At last week’s meeting, Council Chair Melinda Piket-May said the council’s Executive Committee preferred the term “uncompensated merit” to “salary compression.”

Budget Committee Chair Bruce Neumann, participating in the meeting via phone, said the wording change was acceptable. He said it was important for the motion to move forward as soon as possible in order to allow CU administrators and campus chancellors time to develop and implement a plan before the 2014-15 budget is approved by the Board of Regents in the spring.

The full council voted to advance the motion, but only after the council’s Personnel Committee has provided input. That process is underway, with the motion set to return for consideration by the Faculty Council at its March 6 meeting.

In other business at last week’s meeting:

-          Boulder Faculty Assembly Chair Paul Chinowsky said the group is putting together two committees to review the recent conflict between tenured professor Patti Adler and the campus Office of Discrimination and Harassment. “There’s going to be a review of the processes done, to determine if anything wrong happened or not – on both sides,” Chinowsky said.

-          Council Vice Chair Laura Borgelt said work on updating language in the council’s bylaws is continuing. She asked that Faculty Council members with input on the changes provide the information to her at by Feb. 28.

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