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Faculty Compensation Task Force releases draft recommendations

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 13, 2007) -- Ohio University's Faculty Compensation Task Force has released a draft of its recommendations for increasing full-time tenure-track faculty compensation to levels competitive with peer institutions.

The committee's charge was to verify where Ohio University ranks among its peers and determine what it would take for compensation to land in the middle quartile -- one of the university's top three Vision OHIO goals.

Using straight dollars-to-dollars comparisons, Ohio University currently ranks 9 out of 11 peer institutions for continuing full-time Group 1 faculty compensation (salary and benefits). About 750 faculty members fall into that category, with an average compensation of $91,300 (all ranks combined). The task force looked at how to improve that ranking.

Using a U.S. News and World Report-type approach of adjusting for cost-of-living differences, the data place Ohio University fifth among the peer universities, many of which are in more costly locales. The task force deemed it more appropriate, however, to use adjusted figures only as background.

The committee determined that raising salaries to meet Vision OHIO goals would require an investment of $1.2 million in the first year and $5.1 million for the following years. The total of $6.3 million is in addition to the projected average raise pool slated in the baseline budget assumptions for next fiscal year.

Despite shortfalls projected for the university's overall budget, the committee believes this initiative is achievable. "The funds to meet the faculty compensation goals will come from the Vision OHIO realignment fund. It is base money that we will invest in the outstanding faculty in this institution as we go forward," Krendl says.

The task force, which Provost Kathy Krendl formed and chaired, comprised Faculty Senate-nominated members Molly Morris, Shawn Ostermann and Rajesh Narayanan. Dean representatives included Ben Ogles, Charles McWeeny and Renee Middleton. Michael Williford, Greg Fialko and John Day provided support and conducted analyses that task force members requested. 

The recommendations were based upon certain assumptions: the proposal would be based on total compensation; salary and benefit increases would run 3.2 percent for compensation on average and 10 percent on average for health insurance benefits over the next five years; the recommendations would be for the total compensation package, not just base salaries; and the university would meet enrollment and state allocation budget goals.

Analyses generally did not unearth surprises except for one. In peer comparisons of total compensation, the committee discovered that although Ohio University salaries are lower than comparable institutions, benefits are considerably more generous.

The committee recommends further analysis be directed toward determining how salary and benefits are weighted.

To achieve faculty compensation goals, the committee recommended two steps. The first involves continuing the practice of distributing on a merit basis the designated raise pool, which the Budget Planning Council is assuming will average 3 percent each year. Those raises would range from 0 percent to 7 percent for faculty members.

The second step would involve using the additional $6.3 million over five years for a structural alignment pool reserved for faculty members who have shown deep commitment to the university's goals of teaching, research and creative activity, and service to their units. Individual awards would have no maximum limit.

The structural alignment pool would be distributed to each college on a formula that considers what proportion of the total faculty pool a college employs and how close salaries are to market rates in specific academic areas. Deans, chairs and directors together will determine who is deserving of additional funds. The provost will give the final stamp of approval to college allocation plans.

Peer institutions include: University of Delaware, Newark (1); University of Connecticut, Storrs (2); University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (3); Indiana University – Bloomington (4); University of New Hampshire, Durham (5); University of Tennessee, Knoxville (6); University of Missouri – Columbia (7); Clemson University, SC (8); Auburn University, AL (9); Washington State University, Pullman (11). These institution share key characteristics such as size, scope of academic offerings, proportion of graduates and undergraduates, residential campus nature and distribution of financial aid.

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Written by: Sally Linder

Media Contact: Acting Senior Director of Media Relations Sally Linder, 740-597-1793 or linders@ohio.edu

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