By Rachel Williamson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Feb. 5, 2002
Likins says he still supports a merit-based system, despite opposition
Faced with opposition from faculty leaders, UA President Peter Likins said yesterday that he will not change his stance on guaranteeing $1,500 salary increases for faculty, instead of the 5 percent increases other staff and appointed personnel will receive.
Members of the Faculty Senate, which recommended in October that the University Compensation Advisory Team use state money to give faculty 5 percent salary increases, regardless of how much they make, expressed disappointment with the final recommendation UCAT presented to the president.
But Likins said he had to take other options into account.
"Faculty senate opinion is not the only relevant faculty view," Likins said.
The UCAT proposal Likins supported recommended guaranteeing faculty only $1,500 - with the possibility to receive more through merit increases.
Faculty salary increases will be in the hands of individual units - colleges and departments - under UCAT's recommendation.
Each department's governance group will decide the increase based on merit. The departments without a governance group have a mechanism, or an advisory, to use as a guide for salary adjustments, Provost George Davis said. Some colleges may decide that each faculty member is equally meritorious.
Sen. Marlys Witte said there is not a uniformed merit system in place at the university, and the faculty she represents do not have confidence in a merit based system.
"I don't have to answer to the president," she said, addressing Sen. Larry Schooley who serves on UCAT and helped to draw up the recommendation. "I have to answer to this particular group who is not going to get 5 percent."
Schooley said the senate's decision was overruled because of input from faculty on UCAT who disagreed with the vote. Schooley and one other senator serve on UCAT - the rest of the members are administrators, deans and other personnel.
Likins recognized faculty under-compensation as a serious problem. But, he said correcting faculty compensation discrepancies would require $66 million per year.
"It's not a question of whether there should be more dollars," Likins said. "It's a question of distribution of scarce dollars in a competitive environment."
Likins makes faculty salary decisions based on input from the faculty senate, UCAT and the Arizona Board of Regents, he said.
The board of regents voted Friday in favor of the merit-based system.
"There is a fear that our voice could be undercut by a decision from the president," said Sen. Roy Spece.
The salary increases, which were approved for all state employees last spring, could still be cut by the state Legislature.