Minutes of the Personnel and Benefits Committee of the Faculty Assembly

April 9, 2007 Meeting


Attending:  Mike Kisley, Don Morley, Judith Rice-Jones, Pam Carter, Tom Zwirlein

Guests:  Chancellor Shockley-Zalabak, Gayanne Scott, Wendy Clouse


Chancellor Shockley met with Personnel and Benefits (P&B) to hear recommendation from the committee regarding salary increases for faculty.  This budget office is projecting a 5 percent increase in salaries for faculty and PESA.  This amount is similar to the increase expected to be approved by the state legislature for classified staff. 


The P&B Committee wishes to point out that salary is only a portion of the total compensation pool.  In addition, faculty receive benefit, most notably a contribution to their retirement (401-a) and a contribution to offset the cost of the health care benefit.  This year the contribution to the health care benefit is expected to increase in the range of 10-16 percent.  This is an increase in the average contribution the University makes to cover the faculty health care benefit.  This is not the increase in the cost of individual health care plans for faculty which will appear in the open enrollment information coming out the end of April.  Rather, it is an increase in the University contribution.  If the total cost of the health care plan increases at a rate less than the increase in the University contribution to the health care benefit, the out-of-pocket expense for health care coverage from the average faculty member should drop.  If health plan costs increases at a rate above the University contribution increase, the faculty share of the health care benefit, on average, will increase.  What a faculty member ultimately pays out-of-pocket for health care next year will depend on other factors including the choice of a plan, the number of dependents covered and whether a dental plan is selected.  Make your selections wisely during the open enrollment period to make your plan as cost effective as possible.


Assuming the 5 percent increase to the salary pool for faculty, the Personnel and Benefits Committee (P&B) recommended to the Chancellor the following split of the increase.


Regular merit increases including promotions                 4.25%

Uncompensated merit                                                                  .75%

Total campus salary pool increase                                             5.00%


Past experience indicates that promotions will take approximately .4% out of the 4.25% regular merit pool.  Faculty should also realize that these are averages across the campus.  Individual salary merit increases may be more or less than the average depending on his/her merit evaluation


The Chancellor noted that the dean’s council recommended a 4.6% merit increase.  This increase is based on an expected Denver/Boulder/Greeley CPI increase of 3.6% plus 1%.  This is consistent with a policy of increasing faculty salaries by inflation plus 1%.   The committee was unsure whether the 4.6% included promotion increases.  If the 4.6% did include promotions only .4% would remain for uncompensated merit.  If the 4.6% did not include promotion increases the 4.6% plus .4% for promotions would leave nothing for uncompensated merit.


After considering the deans recommendation, the Personnel and Benefit Committee decided to stick with the original recommendation of 4.25% regular merit, .75% uncompensated merit split as reported above.  This recommendation is based on Resolution 1 of the “Report and Recommendations on Uncompensated Merit at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs” which was passed by the Representative Assembly in spring 2006.   Further, per Resolution 2, Sections A and B of the previously mentioned report, the Personnel and Benefits Committee recommends that uncompensated merit funds be made available to eligible tenure/tenure track and non-tenure track faculty. 


The committee then turned its attention to the uncompensated merit model.  Several points were addressed and the committee will meet with institutional research next Monday, April 16, 2007 to continue the discussion.  This action is per Resolution 2, Section D of “Report and Recommendations on Uncompensated Merit at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs” which was passed by the Representative Assembly in spring 2006.


At this point in time:


The P&B Committee agrees with the recommendations of the ad hoc faculty compensation committee that the denominator of the merit ratio be changed from 4 to an average merit rating.  This means the six year average of a faculty members merit evaluation will be divided by an average of the campus or the college average merit increase instead of dividing by 4 which is the maximum merit score that a faculty member can receive in a given year.  Institutional research is investigating whether it is more appropriate to use the college average or the campus average. 


The P&B Committee agreed that there should be a floor for receiving uncompensated merit in order to make meaningful difference in a given salary.  This is in response to the relatively small amount that will be allocated to uncompensated merit.  The floor for tenure/tenure track faculty was set at $300.00 while the floor for non-tenure track faculty was set at $150.00.


The P&B Committee agrees with a recommendation proposed by institutional research that uncompensated merit will not be awarded to any faculty with a low six-year average merit score.  The committee is still deliberating over what the cut-off will be.  This recommendation is consistent with the spirit of uncompensated merit – it should be merit based.


The P&B Committee is debating whether new faculty members who have not yet undergone their fourth year comprehensive review should be eligible for uncompensated merit.  This debate is based on Resolution 2, Section A and B of “Report and Recommendations on Uncompensated Merit at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs” which was passed by the Representative Assembly in spring 2006.


Institutional research is collecting data on library faculty.  This is always a difficult process because there appear to be no good peer comparisons.


Finally, the P&B Committee applauds Chancellor Shockley-Zalabak for her tireless efforts to identify and reallocate University funds in order to enlarge the faculty salary pool.  We encourage her to continue this effort until the uncompensated merit issue is resolved.  We encourage faculty to applaud this effort.