By KIRSTEN MORGAN
The Board of Visitors’ Executive Committee met March 16 to discuss changes in the faculty handbook, along with the possibility of increasing faculty salaries over the next couple of years.
The possible changes to the faculty handbook include examinations of wording in each section to increase clarity, and significant amendments to the policy and procedure sections.
On being asked about the future for faculty salary increases, President Rick Hurley answered, “it depends in large measure on the financial health of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Hurley also stated, “I am convinced that if the economy in Virginia continues to improve, one of the first actions of the governor and the General Assembly will be to look at salary increases for state employees.”
Jo Tyler, secretary of the University Faculty Committee and professor at the College of Education, discussed the salary and composition study currently underway. This study will examine the salary differences of faculty employees based on different categories, such as discipline, gender, longevity and rank.
Hurley believes this study will help to make decisions about salary increases when the money is available to the school.
The results of the study are expected to arrive sometime at the beginning of the summer and will be presented to the Board of Visitors during the September meeting. The Board of Visitors is expected to make a plan that determines how to make the salaries more equal for everyone across each category being studied.
With only three salary increases in the last 10 years, Ernest Ackermann, chairperson of the University Faculty Committee, showed his support for his fellow faculty members by stating that many members who have been at UMW for a long time and are becoming available for tenure, feel that they deserve more from the school.
Ackermann also expressed that the entire faculty loves to work here and be a part of the community, but that infrequent salary raises make it difficult sometimes.
Ackermann also discussed the funding allocations set to be given from the Commonwealth of Virginia, questioning how the school would develop priorities for spending the allocations.
He added that even though strategic plans are set in place, there is still a question as to how it will be determined which parts of the plan are to be implemented.
The Budget Advisory Committee has been asked to make a list of priorities for the money because a formal process has not yet been set in place to determine the priorities of the faculty.
Tyler stated, however, that “the Budget Advisory Committee is good but it may not be enough,” explaining that there may be other things and ways of giving more people a voice in the decisions of the budget.
It was also stated in the meeting that the movement to create an honors program has been approved by the BOV; however the development of the actual program cannot happen at the moment because there is no funding set aside for it.
The committee looked into finding ways to involve the community more extensively, Tyler explained.
“We compared what we do at UMW to several other institutions, and were shocked to find that at other schools the faculty was actually involved in budget advising,” she said.
According to Tyler, other schools have seen positive results from greater faculty participation in budgeting.
“We thought that was so strange and new, and it was almost like discovering a new world,” Tyler said of other schools’ policies about involving faculty in these types of decisions.
The BOV will make official decisions on these issues at the full board meeting in April.