The University Record, July 6, 1993

Faculty urge Regents to develop ‘appropriate’ salary programs this year

By Jane R. Elgass

Their messages were short, sweet and similar: salary, salary, salary.

Chairs of the Committees on the Economic Status of the Faculty (CESF) for each of the U-M’s campuses urged the Regents at their June meeting to develop “appropriate “ salary programs for faculty this year.

“CESF believes wholeheartedly that a salary program is needed this year,” Ann Arbor Chair John Tropman stated. “Discussions with a range of campus officials as well as faculty suggest that this perspective is widely shared. We urge the Regents to continue to support such efforts, as expressed to the committee in our meeting with you last fall.”

Tropman also noted that CESF “endorses the concept of flexibility in the creation and dispensation of total compensation packages,” adding that CESF has formed a joint faculty/staff/administration committee to look into the total compensation package.

The new committee has just begun to meet, Tropman explained, and said that its members “are looking at various compensation configurations, new things to add to the mix.”

Tropman also noted that “pay is raised centrally by the market and cost of living. The units could consider other types of compensation, including bonuses, one-time increases or funding for special equipment. Compensations flexibility at the U-M could be handled well with diverse units, as not all have the same resources.”

Dearborn’s CESF request focused strictly on salary improvements that would meet two goals:

  • To bring faculty salaries to the 50th percentile in American Association of University Professors’ rankings for Class IIA state institutions for the short term.

  • To bring the salaries to the 80th percentile point over the long term.

    Devlin noted that last year’s salary program “was particularly burdensome because inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, increased from 3.2 percent to 4.3 percent.

    “At the beginning of the decade,” Devlin explained, “our full, associate and assistant professor rankings were 3,3 and 2, respectively. Through significant tuition increases and internal reallocations those rankings had risen to 2,2 and 1 by 1992, indicating a more than above-average ranking by national standards. The 0 percent salary program of last year has reduced these rankings to 3,2 and 2, almost to the same point we were at at the start of the decade. Thus,” he added, “last year’s salary program wiped out three years of steady gain in terms of AAUP rankings.”

    Citing Devlin’s comments, President James J. Duderstadt noted that “we are now seeing the significance of last year’s no-raise decision.”

    Flint’s CESF Chair Charles Johnston told the Regents that Flint faculty salaries are below both the mean and median, and encouraged a salary program increase that would reward current faculty and attract new faculty; programs that would decrease Flint’s increasing reliance on part-time faculty; and an addition of new benefits or improvement of current benefits.

    Johnston noted that CESF members “believe that some improvements in fringe benefits should be achieved. Tuition waiver or cost reductions for dependents of U-M-Flint faculty is one potential new benefit that could be provided at a reasonable cost to the U-M-Flint,” he stated.