The West Virginia University Board of Governors (BOG) made history today (June 6) by approving the largest pay raise for faculty and staff in recent University yearscommitting $26.4 million to support the salary improvement program. The increases apply to employees of the main campus and take effect Oct. 1.

Under the plan proposed by the WVU administration, the salary increase for faculty will average 7.3 percent, or an average raise of $4,590.

The classified staff raise pool will result in an average increase of 9 percent raise, or an average raise of $2,800.

Increases for nonclassified employees will average 7.3 percent, or an average raise of $4,854.

One of WVU s longstanding goals has been to erase the disparity between salaries on our campus and salaries at institutions that compete with us. To compete nationally for top facultyand to attract and retain staffwe have to improve salaries,said WVU President Mike Garrison.This will be the second consecutive year that we can provide a pay increase that moves us closer to our competitors.

According to WorldatWork, the professional compensation association, pay increase budgets for 2008 will average 3.62 percent. Therefore, WVU s proposed pay increases for 2008 are more than double the national average.

In April, Garrison asked the BOG to make a commitment to fully fund the staff pay scale targets established by the Legislature, and to provide a pool of faculty salary funds larger than last years.(Last years salary budget resulted in an average increase of 5 percent.)

The approved budget will result in pay raises that will bring classified employees to 100 percent of the classified staff salary schedule established by the Legislature, putting WVU among the ranks of only six of 22 state colleges and universities which have fully funded the salary schedule. Under this plan, classified staff are guaranteed a minimum increase of 7 percent.

It also funds significant pay increases for faculty and nonclassified employees across the University.

Pay increases for classified staff will be made according to the salary schedule; faculty and nonclassified increases are based on merit.

Garrison said the salary move is crucial because WVU , like most major employers, is facing an increasing number of retirements in the next five to 10 years and will be competing with a national group of research universities to fill a large number of vacancies.

Maintaining a high quality educational experience for our students is always a priority. Our students expect and demand faculty members who are leaders in their fields,he said.Weve been extremely successful in attracting quality faculty, but more and more, we find that they are targets for recruitment from other schools who want to build the innovative academic programs we have at WVU . Our salaries must rise to meet the competition.

Garrison said advancing pay for WVU employees is crucial to meeting the needs of its students and the goals of the Universitys 2010 Planand to contributing to the states economic growth. He added that the Universitys growing research enterprise is also attracting faculty members who are in great demand nationally.

WVU has been able to give salary increases 11 out of the last 12 years, on average 3 percent.

In addition to these salary increases, employees receive an annual increment at the end of July of $60 per year of service. That, on average, amounts to approximately $900 per employee.

Additional resources from the Legislature and increased tuition will support the cost associated with the pay increase and increase in costs to operate WVU .

Affordability for pay increases at WVU s regional and division campuses will continue to be assessed and announced in the fall.

Strategic Plan for Research Fund Moves Forward

The BOG also approved WVU s strategic plan for participation in the Research Trust Fund, often referred to asBucks for Brains.West Virginia has committed $35 million to WVU as a basis for a one-to-one match for private dollars. The approved plan represents a $70 million investment in WVU research over the next five years.

When the �€~Bucks for Brainslegislation was introduced early this year, a committee of faculty, administrators and members of the WVU Foundation was immediately formed and charged with identifying the institutions areas of research and strategic uses for the investment,Garrison said.We will work extremely hard to prove to our elected representatives that this is a great investment for the state of West Virginias future.

The University will focus its efforts on four initiatives, building on current expertise and capacity to expand:

  • Energy and environmental sciences
  • Nanotechnology and material science
  • Biological, biotechnological and biomedical sciences
  • Biometrics, security, sensing and related identification technologies

A strategic plan of action has been developed for each initiative,Garrison said.These research areas at WVU are led by exceptional faculty and the University has a proven track record of success in each.

The WVU Foundation will oversee the fundraising efforts to match the available state resources and will serve as the fiduciary agent to invest and administer the directed research endowment for this initiative.

We know from talking with our private and corporate partners that this is the type of plan they are ready and willing to support, and we know that the states $35 million commitment to WVU to make this type of investment will attract even more support to our core research programs,Garrison noted.

The provosts office will be responsible for oversight of this initiative and will coordinate activities between and among the research initiatives, the academic deans and program directors, and the staff of the WVU Foundation. WVU will report annually to the BOG and the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC).

As required by the Policy Commission, WVU will develop a business plan for each initiative area.

Our plan combines two of West Virginias and WVU s oldest areas of research�€energy and health care�€and two of our newest disciplines�€nanotechnology and biometrics,said Garrison.Out of the investments will be contributions to the nations energy and sustainability challenges, discoveries that can transform medical care, clinical trials that provide hope to patients and their families, and partnerships that will improve security for all of us. We will push new frontiers in each of these areas by supporting the talented faculty who create and research ideas that the rest of us cannot even yet imagine.

WVU s strategic plan next must be submitted to the Higher Education Policy Commission for its approval.

University Spending Plan and Key Indicators

The Board also approved a $838 million 2009 plan for the main and regional/division campuses.

Vice President for Administration and Finance Narvel Weese said the plan is balanced, and includes new revenues from enrollment growth and additional state appropriations.

Weese also provided a report on key monthly indicators through March 2008, which continue to remain positive.

Student applications, state revenue and grant revenues are exceeding expectations,he said

Specifically, when comparing March 2008 to March 2007:

  • Student applications for the upcoming fall semester are 1,037 more than last year.
  • First-time freshman applications by residents for fall 2008 are higher and nonresident applications are ahead by 905.No qualified resident student will be denied admission to WVU due to the strong nonresident application level,Weese said.
  • Grant activity overall is 6.7 percent greater than last year.
  • Sponsored programs award dollars are up nearly $11 million, and the number of awards received through March has increased by 83 (815 compared to 732).
  • Weese also reported that the number of WVU full-time employees has increased. The University employs approximately 137 more full-time employees than last year.

In other action, the Board:

  • received the annual promotion and tenure report
  • received written annual reports from the vice presidents for academic affairs and research, Health Sciences, Student Affairs, Administration and Finance, Human Resources, and University Advancement and Marketing
  • approved nominees and alternates for positions on county Extension Service committees
  • approved the development of an early education endorsement to be added to the existing baccalaureate degree in elementary education at WVU Parkersburg