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Chancellor's Blog: Investing in our faculty and staff

| Chancellor James Schmidt

At the Blugold Breakfast last August, we introduced our new 2020 strategic plan. The very first goal — a goal that I highlighted in my speech — is to “invest in our faculty and staff.” It is only through your dedication and innovation that we can fulfill our mission and provide the truly distinctive education for which we are known. Attracting and retaining the best is vital for the future of our university.

I remain hopeful that the coming biennial budget will include a state-funded pay plan. But we can and must do more to remedy a decade of disinvestment in our employees.

So this year, using mostly one-time funds from UW System utilities and benefits savings, I asked two work groups to help determine how we can re-invest $3 million in GPR funds in our faculty and staff.

I want to thank the faculty and staff who served on the Equity and Merit Task Forces, as well as the Resource Team, who gave untold hours to the task. They grappled with policy and procedural constraints, explored new ideas, and provided data-based, thoughtful recommendations. From their reports I created an investment plan that will accomplish three key purposes:

  1. Make a start in righting the salary inequities that have grown over time. While we cannot eliminate all, we can take an important step forward.
  2. Recognize and retain talented employees who are making significant contributions to our future.
  3. Support faculty and staff members who go above and beyond in contributing to our strategic goals over the next year.

Beginning April 30, we will begin to implement our compensation package, outlined below. I will be meeting with chairs and supervisors later this month to provide them with more details. In the meantime, faculty and staff can:

  1. Make sure you and your chair or supervisor have completed an annual performance review, so you are eligible for consideration for a merit award.
  2. Watch for more information about how you can contribute to our strategic initiatives to improve student retention and enhance equity, diversity and inclusion.

Three investments

1. Improving salary equity — $1.4 million

Using national benchmarking data from the College and University Professional Association-Human Resources (CUPA-HR), we are addressing equity in three ways:

· Base wage will increase to $13/hour, effective April 30, 2017. This will happen automatically.
· One-time equity adjustments will be given to employees with satisfactory performance who are 10% or more below the CUPA-HR average. Eligible employees will be notified and paid June 1, 2017.

  • $1,000 – employees at 10% to less than 15% below the CUPA-HR average
  • $1,500 – employees at 15% to less than 20% below the CUPA-HR average
  • $2,000 – employees at 20% or more below the CUPA-HR average

· Base equity adjustments. We will also be able to offer additional base equity adjustments of $100-$5,000. These will be given to employees who are 20% or more below the CUPA-HR average and who have satisfactory or solid work performance approved by the supervisor and divisional leader. Eligible employees will be notified and adjustments made this summer and fall.

2. Recognizing employee excellence — $600,000

Awards of 10 percent of salary (with a minimum of $3,000 to a maximum of $6,000) will be given to individuals for performance excellence during 2016-17. One-time merit awards are given to employees based on a performance review completed anytime during the period July 2016 through June 2017, approved by the supervisor and divisional leader. Approximately 25 percent of eligible employees will receive an award. Eligible employees will be notified this summer and paid in September or, for nine-month employees, in October.

3. Compensation for supporting our strategic initiatives — $1 million

Individuals and teams receive compensation for projects that support student retention and equity, diversity and inclusivity. Divisional leaders will identify and approve projects and participation is voluntary. Payment is lump-sum after project completion. Individuals: Are eligible for awards of $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the project. Teams: Team members may receive between $750 and $1,500 each, depending on the team project. Teams may be units or departments, sub-units or cross-department teams. Available now through June 2018.

Who is eligible?

Full-time employees may receive up to the full amount of an award, with employees who are half-time or more receiving a percentage based on FTE. To be eligible for equity and merit awards, employees must have been hired before July 1, 2016. Eligible employees hired after July 1, 2016, may participate in strategic initiatives.




I am looking forward to our implementation of this plan — an important step as we work toward a trend of reinvestment in those whose work is so critical to the success of our students.

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