West Virginia University will commit more than $6.5 million to a faculty and staff salary improvement plan to take effect in January, about $1.5 million more than had originally been set aside, President James P. Clements told the Board of Governors Friday (Sept. 17).
The increases, part of the University’s $901.4 million fiscal year operating budget approved by the BOG in June, will be one-time, non-recurring increases and be spread over the 12 pay periods from January to June 2011 for year-round employees or from January through May 2011 for nine-month faculty, Dr. Clements said.
Internal reallocation of funds, increased efficiency measures and an increase in enrollment enabled the administration to increase the pool available for the pay increases, he added.
For faculty and non-classified employees, the program takes a 1.75 percent pool of funds based on annual salaries and distributes the raises based on meritorious performance. In addition, faculty meritorious performance this year, will be considered next time the University has the ability to provide base pay raises.
For classified staff, all are guaranteed a 1.75 percent increase, or $648, whichever is greater.
There were two possible approaches considered for salary enhancements to classified staff: a flat dollar increase and a percentage increase. Using only one or the other approach would have disadvantaged some staff; therefore, the two approaches were combined into a plan that ensured each classified staff employee receives the maximum benefit.
As a result, the minimum salary increase of $648 will allow approximately 1,500 employees to receive a higher increase than they would have with the percentage increase approach. In addition, approximately 750 classified employees will receive more than $648 through the 1.75 percent increase.
It is important to note that other higher education institutions in West Virginia may be reporting raises on an annualized base, he added. For comparison purposes, a 1.75 percent raise plan implemented in January would translate into a 3.5 percent annual increase.
“One issue that we know is crucial to our strategic goals is compensation,” Clements said. “We have worked hard over the summer and into early fall to come up with the best way to help as many people as possible within the parameters we have.
“Financially, we are in challenging times, and the forecast for state funding also presents challenges,” he said. He also pointed out that higher education was not approved to make across-the-board base adjustments this year.
“Our plan is consistent with that directive; however, it is clear that we are not where we need to be on a national scale in terms of salaries and benefits, so we will continue to make improving faculty and staff salaries one of this administration’s highest priorities.”
He also thanked staff and faculty for their input, saying, “That feedback helped us get to a better plan than where we started this summer.”
In discussing the raise plan, Clements noted, “This approach does two things: One, it increases the pool beyond the 1.25 percent discussed in the spring and the 1.4 percent approved by the Board in June. Two, it ensures increases for our red-lined employees – those at or above the salary schedule – and who are some of our longest-serving staff. With this approach, we believe we found a way to do the best we can for all of our employees during these uncertain times.”
All full-time, benefits-eligible employees who have been on the payroll as of June 30 will receive the one-time supplements. These will not be base increases.
Nationally, budget pressures have forced many colleges and universities to implement salary freezes, pay cuts, layoffs and furloughs.
“I am pleased that we can provide a one-time salary enhancement program to our faculty and staff who work so hard every day to provide a top quality education to our students,” Clements said.
The raise will be implemented on all campuses, including Potomac State College of WVU and the WVU Institute of Technology. It is in addition to any base increases employees may receive for tenure, a promotion, an upgrade in position or the annual increments in July.
Board Member Jo Morrow, who represents the staff, praised the administration’s efforts to come up with a salary plan that benefits all employees. Paul Martinelli, a former staff member on the board, called the raise plan “a shot in the arm” for staff.
Faculty representative Nigel Clark also expressed approval of the increase saying, “Many thanks from Faculty Senate and I know that the divisional campus faculty will be pleased as well.”
Also at the meeting, the Board approved two strategic plans – one to upgrade the University’s recreation/intramural/club sports enterprise and another to improve student health and wellness services. The combined plans will cost approximately $27 million over six years and feature a new one-stop-shop for student wellness along with new playing fields, tennis courts and other recreational space for intramural and club sports.
Each component of the two plans over a million dollars will still need approved by the Board as the projects move forward. (Related story is available here.)
Other Board Action
In other action, the Board approved $221,505 in new Research Trust Fund contributions for submission to the Vice Chancellor for Science and Research for matching funds from the state. With this request, private and state dollars combined will bring WVU’s total to $15.8 million in investments in key research areas.
The Board also formally recognized a donor gift at a later time with a naming opportunity.
In his report to the Board, WVU Foundation President and CEO Wayne King said a consulting firm will conduct a feasibility study this fall in preparation for a comprehensive capital campaign. Results of the study are expected to be presented to the Foundation board of directors in February. Part of that study will provide a recommended goal for the campaign.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Board members posthumously honored attorney Stephen P. Goodwin with the status of Board of Governors Member Emeritus for his lifelong devotion to his alma mater. Goodwin received undergraduate and law degrees from WVU in 1969 and 1972, respectively, and served on the BOG from 2002-2009, including as chairman. He was also president of the WVU Alumni Association and served on many other college and school committees. He died April 21 of this year following a brief illness.
Accepting the honor on his behalf was his wife, Ellen; son Carte Goodwin, U.S. senator from West Virginia; and daughter Aly Goodwin Gregg, along with her husband Patrick and other family members and friends.
Board of Governors Chairman Emeritus Curtis “Hank” Barnette and his wife, Joanne, also attended the ceremony. Barnette, a WVU alumnus and attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher and Flom, LLP, is the former chair of the WVU Foundation Board. He also chaired the recent search for the chancellor of health sciences, among other volunteer service. He is the former chairman and CEO of Bethlehem Steel.
Plaques will be hung in the Erickson Alumni Center’s Barnette Conference Room in honor of both men and their service to WVU.
Although sworn in by phone in July, new Board members were officially sworn in at the meeting: J. Robert Rogers, Carolyn Long (second term), Andrew A. (Drew) Payne III (second term), Thomas Flaherty and Chris Lewallen.
CONTACT: WVU University Relations – News
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