Thursday, February 08, 2007

Jeff Harrison's salary compression question, viewed from the standpoint of shared governance

In answering Jeff Harrison's question on salary compression with a comment of my own, I realized that I'd answered him from the standpoint of years of reviewing professors' annual reports, not from the standpoint of shared governance.

How should the dean work w/a faculty committee on raises? From the perspective of the dean and any faculty executive/budget committee, the point is to make sure that the reviews (and resulting raises) are fair across categories (across various faculty ranks) and to the individual professors getting raises.

At UH, the faculty executive committees over the years were generally willing to give me advice about general categories and to look over the recommended raises to see if I had missed something that would cause me to want to recommend a different raise amount. Very few committee members were comfortable doing a full-scale review of everyone's case for a raise. When committee members did such reviews, they (naturally) noticed cases most similar to their own.

I faced a fair amount of resistance in trying to adapt the criteria for review to individual professors' assignments, even though such individualized criteria are common in land-grant universities (e.g., X% of someone's time allocated to research, Y% of time allocated to teaching, and 100-(X+Y)% allocated to service). I still believe that individualized criteria would be more fair to those groups who traditionally provide a large amount of unrecognized service: professors who do significantly more student counseling than their peers (often, these professors are women or people of color); clinical professors; research and writing professors. Individualized criteria would also be more fair to those who tend to focus on either research or teaching, as long as the criteria still encourage both groups to pull their weight on their less-favored obligations. But I recognize that there's plenty of potential for a bad administrator to use individualized criteria for unsavory purposes.

What do other schools do? Feel free to post a comment here or at MoneyLaw, or better yet, at both blogs.

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