The University Record, December 11, 2000

Assembly Roundup

Editor’s Note: The following article is a summary of discussions at the Nov. 20 Senate Assembly meeting.


By Theresa Maddix

Faculty Compensation Guidelines

On Oct. 23, the Provost’s Academic Program Group voted unanimously to accept the report of the Faculty Compensation Guidelines Study Committee with regard to faculty compensation guidelines.

For the past four years, the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) and the Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty (CESF) have been working to find clear ways of “making the whole compensation process more transparent, trying to demystify the merit increase/salary compensation process,” said Senate Assembly chair Jackie Lawson.

CESF chair Rudi Lindner updated the Assembly on the background and status of the issue. The committee’s guidelines, as endorsed by the Assembly, include non-discrimination, openness, consistency, peer-review, communication and accountability. After discussion between SACUA and the administration, Provost Nancy Cantor “convened an advisory committee of faculty, administrators and experts from personnel and counseling center that revisited the guidelines and other compensation issues and made recommendations,” Lindner explained.

The recommendations accepted by the deans at the Academic Program Group meeting are as follows:

  • The Provost should arrange a conference of deans to share knowledge and best practices and otherwise make technical consultation available to all units. Deans and chairs should be encouraged to initiate review of their units’ procedures and mechanisms, paying particular attention to the CESF guidelines of increasing non-discrimination, openness, consistency, peer review, communication, and accountability of compensation.

  • The Provost should ask each dean to develop a system for periodic review (every three to five years) of the effectiveness of the school’s or college’s compensation scheme.

  • Deans and decision-makers should be encouraged to examine their communication with individual faculty members and the unit as a whole regarding the quality, adequacy and usefulness of information on relative performance and relative compensation.

  • The central administration should study and consult with units on alternative methods of reporting the annual salary program.

    Draft policy on commitment, intellectual property

    Lawson called the Assembly’s attention to a draft policy on Conflict of Commitment and Intellectual Property presented to SACUA by President Lee C. Bollinger for SACUA’s endorsement. “This has to do with faculty not competing against their home institution, the University of Michigan,” Lawson explained. SACUA did not endorse the draft policy because, Lawson said, “we felt there had not been enough discussion with the faculty.”

    Provost Nancy Cantor, who attended the Assembly meeting, emphasized that “this is very much just a draft and the point of the committee James Hilton will be chairing is to go over the draft in the light of other University’s procedures and to have more faculty input and discussion. This is clearly a broader issue.”

    The committee will include SACUA members and the Academic Affairs Advisory Council. Hilton is special assistant to the provost for intellectual property and professor of psychology.

    Assistant General Counsel Jonathan Alger noted that the emphasis on Conflict of Interest/Conflict of Commitment policies “arise out of the age of the Internet. How do our existing policies, practices and procedures apply to the digital environment? That’s the issue we want to focus on. We want to think about the existing policies—what to apply and what the procedures and policies ought to be. We want to have faculty input to make sure we think carefully about the different units and how these policies apply to different schools and areas faculty are involved in.”

    Alger asked that faculty with questions contact Hilton or members of the committee. Committee membership is not finalized.