University Senate Budget Committee White Paper: A Plan to Improve Faculty Compensation

Executive Summary

The University Senate Budget Committee (David Frank, Mike Kellman, Nathan Tublitz, Wayne Westling), in consultation with the Faculty Advisory Council and the University Administration, are in the process of developing a plan to significantly augment faculty compensation (salary and benefits) to levels competitive with peer institutions. The goal of the White Paper is to provide background, financial information, and salary data as a framework for a campus-wide discussion of this important issue and to prepare faculty for a survey to be conducted in early winter quarter. After the survey results are analyzed and discussed by the community, a final plan to increase faculty compensation will be presented to the University Senate and Administration for adoption during Winter Quarter. In this White Paper we:
  1. Frame the faculty compensation issue and provide quantitative data as a basis for informed discussion. A meaningful community discussion on faculty compensation (salary and benefits) must involve the topics of compensation, comparison, and compression. Faculty compensation should be judged using a comparison with a representative list of American universities sharing our mission.
    1. Currently, University of Oregon average faculty compensation is at 82.1% of the comparator mean.
    In addition, compensation compression has eroded the distinction among tenure track ranks and has served to produce significant comparative inequities in the ranks of Associate and Full Professor. Such compression threatens the integrity of the ranks and faculty morale. During the first phase of a campus wide discussion, we hope to feature the topics of compensation, comparison, and compression.
  2. Describe the opportunities and hazards of the new funding model. The new Oregon University System funding model is based on the principle that the money follows the students to the institutions they choose. This new model represents both significant opportunities and hazards for the University. This White Paper details some of the funding challenges raised by the new model.
  3. Propose the first phase of a long-term plan designed to address issues of faculty compensation. In setting the agenda for a long-term plan, we have used and will continue to use comparative data drawn from our peer institutions and from the Office of Resource Management. We recommend the following objective:
    1. Over the next five years, average faculty compensation (salary and benefits) will be brought to and maintained at 95% of parity with comparator institutions.
    The survey will likely reveal several other worthy objectives and these will be advanced for community discussion after comparative data and other necessary information are gathered.
  4. Highlight the benefits and tradeoffs of various revenue sources. Each source of revenue offers benefits and costs. For example, increasing the number of students enrolled at the University or enhancing the compensation of current tenure-line and tenured faculty rather than hiring new faculty members, would involve tradeoffs deserving serious discussion. We identify several sources of additional funding, and briefly discuss their advantages and disadvantages. Adoption of any or all of these sources will require broad community dialogue and consensus.
  5. Consider the communal implications of our plan to improve average faculty compensation plan We recognize the OPEU and GTFF are critical to the achievement of academic quality, and urge the administration to provide classified staff and graduate teaching fellows fair compensation based on appropriate comparative standards.

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