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$750,000 merit pool established for Athens Group I faculty

Positive enrollment projections made money available

On Monday, Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis approved moving forward with the establishment of a merit raise pool of $750,000 for Athens tenure-track faculty. 

"I was very pleased to approve Dr. Benoit's recommendation to distribute the faculty merit raise pool to the colleges and the Voinovich School," said McDavis. "It is so important to support and encourage excellence in teaching, research and service and we are happy that we can recognize our exceptional faculty in this way."

Executive Vice President and Provost Benoit announced the establishment of the merit raise pool in an e-mail to Athens Group I faculty. The College of Osteopathic Medicine and the regional campuses, which are not included in the $750,000 merit pool, have their own plans for recognizing and rewarding the efforts of their Group I faculty that will be announced soon.

The creation of the merit pool, which formed part of the FY 2011 Athens budget plan, was contingent on meeting enrollment goals. 

"In addition to the one percent across-the-board pay raise that all faculty received, we wanted to be able to offer some additional recognition and reward to our Athens tenure-track faculty who have been inspirational teachers and researchers," said Benoit. "But given the difficult budget circumstances, we needed to have confidence that our enrollment-based revenue projections would be met."

As of last week, admission and pre-registration counts had reached the point where Benoit felt comfortable recommending the establishment of the pool even though it is still possible to see some changes in those numbers. 

She noted in her e-mail that while the "preliminary numbers are promising" there was still some risk. She also stated that her decision to recommend the establishment of the merit pool was made in large part because the risk was mitigated by having budgeted conservatively and could be mitigated further by continuing faculty dedication to "students' academic success, personal development, and persistence toward timely graduation."

"Our enrollment success, both in terms of recruitment and retention, depends heavily on Group I faculty going the extra mile in their work with students be it through teaching, advising and mentoring, or involving students in their research," said Benoit. "In order to acknowledge those efforts, it made sense to take the earliest possible opportunity to move the $750,000 from the realm of the possible to the actual." 

With the pool established, Benoit will begin working with the leaders of the colleges (Arts and Sciences, Business, Fine Arts, Health Sciences and Professions, Patton, Russ, and Scripps) and the Voinovich School to formulate guidelines for its distribution.