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Merit increase process under way

June 13, 2007
By Elizabeth Boyle

A 3 percent faculty salary increase will move forward for the coming academic year and will be allocated primarily according to Faculty Compensation Task Force guidelines, Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl has announced.

As the task force suggested, colleges will disburse the 3 percent raise pool based on annual faculty merit evaluations. There will be one departure from the group's recommendations, however. The increases will range from 1.5 percent to 7 percent, according to Krendl. 

"The task force originally proposed a 0 percent to 7 percent increase, but after consulting with chairs, directors, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee the minimum was changed to 1.5 percent. Setting a 1.5 percent minimum will allow all faculty members to participate in raises," she said. 

The 3 percent merit raise pool, which faculty will benefit from beginning in the fall, is in addition to $1.2 million set aside for compensation for Group I faculty working full time as teachers and scholars. The $1.2 million is designated as structural realignment funding under a five-year plan designed to help retain and recruit faculty by making total compensation more competitive with that of peer institutions. 

According to guidelines of the Faculty Compensation Task Force, which was composed of faculty and deans, the total compensation from the structural realignment funding will be allocated based on faculty members' five-year performance versus the one-year evaluations on which the annual merit raise pool is based. The goal of distributing the funding in this way is to reward individual faculty who have demonstrated sustained past performance in achieving college and institution goals and who show promise of continuing contributions in the future.

Deans are working with chairs and directors to determine how they'll allocate the merit increase across their areas. The recommendations then go on to Krendl, who must approve each college's structural realignment funding allocations.

The process for faculty evaluation and allocation of the merit raise allocations varies among colleges and schools.

Shawn Ostermann, associate professor and chair of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, said his school uses an annual evaluation process that rates faculty in research, teaching, service and professional development. 

"We come up with a number for each one of those areas and combine them. That gives us a number to compare people," he said, explaining that the scores help directors determine what percent raise each person will receive.

Many areas employ such a scoring system, but an example of an alternative approach is that of the School of Health Sciences in the College of Health and Human Services. That school uses the Performance Evaluation Plan, a collegewide evaluation tool that looks at whether faculty met objectives they set for themselves the previous year in research, teaching and service.

"At the end of the year, the faculty members submit documentation of their achievement based on what they said they were going to do," explained Matthew Adeyanju, director of the School of Health Sciences.

After consulting with the Promotion and Tenure Committee, which reviews each report, Adeyanju does his own assessment of the report. 

"The merit raise is based on how they perform," he said. "You have to be able to do all three areas to be meritorious."

Administrative and classified employees also will receive the average 3 percent increase. Following standards from previous years, administrative employees will receive an average 3 percent increase based on merit, and classified employees will receive an across-the-board raise. Those employees can expect to see their salaries adjusted in the July pay period.

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