Office of the Provost
UH-Victoria Faculty Salary Plan
The goals and targets of the Faculty Salary Plan represent a commitment to equitable and competitive faculty salaries but cannot be considered a fiscal obligation. The following qualifications apply.
- The primary consideration for salary increases remains meritorious performance. Policies and procedures related to performance evaluation and merit increments are described in the Faculty Manual.
- Sufficiently meritorious performance is a condition of eligibility for any raise other than state-mandated cost-of-living adjustments. Merit is judged by each academic school on the basis of annual performance evaluations.
- The Faculty Salary Plan remains experimental. The method used to set salary targets relies on an annual survey of average salaries by rank and field. Since the survey reflects moving and possibly unpredictable phenomena, it could prove to be insufficiently reliable over time.
- Regardless of goals and targets, the institution must generate the necessary income if it is to meet or increase its payroll. There are always competing priorities for any funds that can be committed to salaries--e.g., new positions vs. raises, merit vs. equity considerations, summer salaries vs. all of these. These priorities must be weighed each year with the future stability and effectiveness of the institution uppermost in mind. Adjustments needed to meet targets thus cannot be guaranteed.
- Institutional income depends mainly on credit production. When the proportion of faculty shifts toward the senior ranks and/or salaries become more competitive, productivity may not keep pace. Thus, achieving such worthy goals as greater stability and improved compensation comes with the risk of eventually entering a period of low raises, difficulty in funding new positions, limitations on summer pay, possible loss of positions through attrition, and at worst retrenchment. Unanticipated enrollment downturns or decreases in state support can precipitate or exacerbate the situation. Such eventualities are less likely, if faculty and administrators understand and agree on the need to keep compensation and productivity in balance.
Goals of the Plan
- To maintain internal equity by addressing in a timely way salary disparities that cannot be justified on the basis of rank, seniority, merit history, or market conditions for different fields.
- To reduce the effects of salary compression.
- To maintain commitment to the principle of merit in making any salary adjustments.
Description of the Plan
The salary plan is the result of a systematic approach to faculty compensation developed at UHV in 1996. The approach is goal driven; it is empirically based; it takes into account market forces; it recognizes legitimate differences in salary owing to individual performance; it is race and gender neutral; it establishes salary targets but does not bind the institution to meet them. Although experimental, it is realistic and should prove to be sustainable. The intention was to develop a manageable plan that would have the support of both the faculty and the administration and that would better enable the institution to recruit and retain a highly capable and highly motivated workforce committed to the mission of the institution.
The plan uses the annual CUPA survey to generate targeted salaries by field, rank, and seniority in rank. Graduations in the scale are based on statistically derived growth rates specific to each field. The CUPA survey is broad-based and provides systematically gathered data by rank and field across all disciplines. CUPA stands for "College and University Professional Association for Human Resources," formerly called the "College and University Personnel Association." 5 (College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, formerly called the College and University Personnel Association)
History of the Plan
The approach employed was developed by a faculty task force working with the Provost and Institutional Research Officer in spring/summer 1996. It draws upon a model developed at another AASCU institution (Frostburg State University). That model has been published in the Journal of Higher Education (Sept/Oct 1996). The intention was, first, to develop a means of identifying and addressing salary inequities of the then current faculty as of September 1, 1995, and, second, to make the plan developed one that would enable the institution to monitor faculty salaries, with the intent of keeping salaries internally equitable and as externally competitive as resources might permit.
An amount was budgeted in spring 1996 to make justifiable salary adjustments in accordance with the plan, insofar as funds budgeted would suffice. The adjustments were proposed to be effective for the next fiscal year (1996-97). After a year's delay, the amount budgeted was approved by the Chancellor and Board of Regents and was added to base salaries as had been proposed. Since then, the plan has been implemented each biennium following the legislative session.
How the Plan Works
It should be noted that the plan does NOT propose to raise all faculty salaries to the CUPA average for each field and rank. Rather, the CUPA average is used to generate target salaries, based on years in rank and teaching field.
- Faculty members have been classified according to the academic fields reported by CUPA. However, the classifications have been simplified as much as possible, in accordance with actual UHV degree programs. Members are classified by the field in which they ordinarily teach and in which they hold the terminal degree or equivalent qualification.
- Reclassifications and classifications in newly added teaching fields will be determined by the provost and deans. If a dean is involved, the president will make the determination.
- Years in rank needed to reach the CUPA average have been estimated and established as follows: Assistant Professor, 4 years; Associate Professor, 6 years; and Full Professor, 10 years. Adjustments beyond 6, 8, and 10 years in each respective rank will not be considered, and so the scale does not extend beyond those times. No national data on the actual average time spent in rank has been found.
- Teaching field, rank, and seniority in rank apply only to the faculty member's employment at UHV. Prior experience is considered only at hire.
- The incremental difference between the years in rank is determined by the method described in the explanation below (the method was devised by Dr. Massoud Metghalchi of UHV). Note that the incremental differences per year are quite modest and that they vary necessarily from field to field because they are empirically driven. Since salaries are based on market phenomena, the averages for rank and field are expected to shift from year to year, but they are unlikely do so by a great deal, given the scope of the survey. It is conceivable but not likely that the average in a given rank could decline.
- The salary targets for years in rank are set, based upon the incremental differences indicated above. In the attached table that lists target salaries, note that the CUPA average appears in the 4th, 6th, and 10th year for each respective rank in each field.
- To determine the need for individual equity adjustments (to be effective in the next year), the current year’s salaries are compared to the targets derived from the previous year's CUPA survey report. Any disparity between the actual and target salary for each faculty member is thus identified.
- The institution determines the total amount of salary dollars that can be committed to equity adjustments. This amount is used to reduce the disparity of each salary that is below 100% of target, with the same percentage of reduction applied to each disparity. E.g., if the total equity pool available can address only 50% of the total salary disparities, a faculty member with a $1,000 disparity receives $500 and one with a $600 disparity receives $300. The greatest dollar increases thus go to those furthest behind target.
- Salaries more than 10% below or above target are reviewed to ascertain whether the disparity is justifiable on the basis of merit or for other defensible reasons. In the case of salaries unjustifiably above this variance, future salary increases may be limited.
- No equity adjustment will be made if the faculty member’s annual performance evaluation is below the level expected in teaching, if the member's overall performance is judged be insufficiently competitive with that of others in the school, or if the member is on a remedial or development plan. The expectation of the UH System is that faculty salaries will be merit based. Thus, equity adjustments are allowable only in the case of evident merit.
- To avoid windfall increases, individual equity adjustments will be limited to no more than 10% of the average faculty salary at the institution (this provision is currently under review).
- To reduce the likelihood of unjustifiable disparities, the institution tries to hire new tenure-track, terminally-qualified assistant professors at the targeted first-year rate or within 95-105 % of the CUPA average for new assistant professors in the given teaching field. In justifiable instances of critical need, this guideline may have to be exceeded; in times of fiscal constraints, it may not be met.
- In that the state of Texas operates on a biennial budget, equity adjustments ordinarily will be considered only in the year prior to the next biennial budget--i.e., in odd numbered years.
Explanation of MethodologyThe methodology developed by the faculty task force to achieve a Salary Goal Model is a value centered approach, which takes into account discipline differences in salary levels in the national market. A complete rank-discipline salary table is generated to address salary goals.
Rank-Discipline Salary Table
We assume, in each field, that the 4th year’s salary of a UHV assistant professor should be equal to the CUPA average. For associate professor 6 years in rank and for full professor 10 years in rank are assumed to be equal to the CUPA average respectively.
We assume 6, 8, and 10 years in rank for assistant, associate, and full professor respectively.
We equalize the CUPA averages for assistant and associate to the 4th year of assistant and 6th year of associate in the Salary Table. Then we find the growth rate that marks the CUPA average for assistant to grow in 8 years to the associate CUPA average. (8 years = year 5 and 6 in assistant and 6 years in associate). Once we have found this rate, then we can use it to find year 3, 2, and 1 in assistant and years 1 through 6 in associate simply by the following formula:
Salary (n+1) = Salary (year n) * (1+ the rate)
We then equalize the CUPA average for associate and full professor to the 6th and 10th years of associate and full professor respectively in the Salary Table. Then we find the growth rate that makes the CUPA average for associate to grow in 12 years to the full professor CUPA average. (12 years = year 7 and 8 in associate and 10 years in full). Once we have this rate, then we use this rate to find salaries for years 7 and 8 for associate and years 1 through 10 for full professor by applying the above formula.