Merit-based compensation program still under review

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The UA Faculty Senate decided yesterday to review further a plan for merit-based compensation for faculty, and consider an additional proposal for pay raises and tenure review.

The matter came under debate by the senate at the first meeting of the semester yesterday. The senate closed the discussion by including the consideration of a brief report, the Parity-Equity-Merit with Accountability proposal, from the American Association of University Professors.

In the proposal, salary increments would be used to increase salary with the cost of living, or provide parity. Then, equity would be addressed by adjusting salaries to be competitive with other institutions. After these two issues are covered, merit would enter in as an opportunity to reward faculty based on performance. This is where the performance-based plan could gain approval and work in conjunction with the proposal.

The performance-based plan would involve reviews of faculty to take place every two to three years, and would compensate employees on a scale according to the results of the review.

A faculty member would not receive a salary increase for "unsatisfactory" or "needs improvement" performance, and he or she would receive successively higher salary increases for "good," "excellent" and "truly exceptional" levels of performance. The plan would terminate any faculty member who received two "unsatisfactory" reports, regardless of rank.

Sen. Marlys Witte said the merit-based plan would be a "self-inflicted wound," and supports the additional proposal. She said by the UA enacting its own merit-based policy it would be undermining the state's allocated five percent pay increase. This would differentiate the UA from the other state universities, she said.

Other grievances about the plan included discussion on terminating tenured faculty. In a letter submitted to the senate, Sen. Robert Feltham criticized the plan for not allowing faculty to improve their performance after receiving a poor evaluation.

In an earlier interview with the Wildcat, Malcolm Zwolinski, the presiding officer, said the plan may be too narrowly focussed and would better serve the needs of the university by including administration and staff, as well as faculty.

Other items from the meeting include:

The senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Campus Climate Survey on sexual harassment and gender bias.

The senate did not discuss a Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy on the agenda. It will discuss the issue at its next meeting Feb. 6.

Provost Paul Sypherd read a statement from UA President Manuel T. Pacheco regarding his recommendations for several academic programs and departments. Pacheco supports the provost's recommendations to phase out the journalism department by 1998, merge nuclear engineering with electrical engineering, terminate the statistics program by 1996 and to merge exercise and sport sciences with physiology.

Sypherd also discussed the recent state budget proposals and the fact that the UA fell about $27 million short of its request.

Sypherd concluded by saying that seven of the 11 committees discussing the Core Curriculum Proposal have submitted their reports. The adminstration is still waiting for the reports of the other four committees.

Sen. John McElroy proposed "measuring the university's resources" to evaluate what portion of those resources are absorbed by administrators. He said he is "tired of waste" and that "the time has come" to look at various expenses and see where reductions can be made where administrative costs are concerned.

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