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June 8, 2000

BPC wants 5.2% hike in faculty salary pool

BPC wants 5.2% hike in faculty salary pool

The University Senate budget policies committee (BPC) has recommended a 5.2 percent increase in the pool of money for faculty salaries for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

That may be an unrealistically high percentage, Pitt's chief financial officer told BPC at a recent meeting.

"A 5.2 percent increase would be possible to the exclusion of other priorities like an increase in the Research Development Fund and an incremental increase in building maintenance," said Arthur G. Ramicone, vice chancellor for Budget and Controller. "But I'd say you probably couldn't do those other things and still achieve 5.2 percent" for salary raises.

BPC member and physics professor Richard Pratt noted, however, that the two largest variables affecting Pitt revenue next year — the University's state appropriation and next fall's tuition hikes — have not been determined yet, so it's too early to rule out a 5.2 percent salary pool increase.

BPC submitted its salary raise recommendation to Chancellor Mark Nordenberg last month so it would be in time to possibly influence budget planning for the 2000-2001 fiscal year. Gov. Tom Ridge and the state General Assembly are expected to approve the University's appropriation in time for the Pitt Board of Trustees to vote on an FY 2000-2001 budget at the board's June 29 meeting.

Under BPC's proposal, faculty who performed satisfactorily would get a 2.7 percent cost-of-living raise. Another 2 percent would be distributed for merit, market and equity raises, and 0.5 percent would be allocated by the provost and senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences to targeted units for market and equity needs.

If the salary budget increase is higher or lower than 5.2 percent, BPC recommends that the cost-of-living component remain at 2.7 percent, with 80 percent of the balance going to units for merit raises and 20 percent for centrally allocated market and equity.

BPC's proposal noted that Pitt's seven-year-old salary raise policy is performance-based, meaning that no one whose work is judged to be unsatisfactory should get even a cost-of-living raise.

Market raises help to retain faculty who might be recruited by other institutions, while equity adjustments address salary compression and other situations in which individuals' salaries are judged to be lower than merited, BPC pointed out.

Because the Senate represents faculty, BPC limits its annual salary raise recommendations to faculty pay. But the committee isn't suggesting that faculty increases come at the expense of staff raises. Pitt traditionally gives the same percentage raises to faculty and staff.

Pitt salary pool increases have been in the 3-4 percent range since 1993. See chart.

Part-time faculty outside the tenure stream are not covered by the University's salary raise policy, but BPC recommended that such faculty should get cost-of-living and merit increases.

This year, the University again fell short of its stated goal of raising average faculty salaries to the median among Pitt's fellow members of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

"At the Pittsburgh campus, the gaps between this year's average salaries and the AAU targets ranged from $3,600 for associate professors to $5,800 for full professors," BPC wrote. "At the regional campuses, the gaps ranged from $600 (Bradford assistants) to $6,100 (Titusville associates). Percentages of Pitt salaries needed to close the gaps range from 5.9 percent to 12.1 percent in Pittsburgh, and from 1.5 percent to 16.5 percent at the regionals.

"Simply to avoid falling further behind, Pitt needs average increases next year at least as large as the AAU average increase for each rank. To begin to close these gaps, we need increases larger than the AAU averages. We can't know in advance, of course, how much our AAU peers will increase their salaries. But with a robust economy and higher inflation, it is reasonable to expect that next year's AAU increases will exceed this year's. Increases of the size BPC is recommending might enable Pitt to make some progress toward closing the gaps; if increases are much smaller, we will probably fall further behind."

— Bruce Steele

Pitt Faculty & Staff Salary Distributions

FY 1995-FY 2000

Previous Year's; CPI Pool; Cost of Living; Merit; Market + Equity

FY95; 2.7%; 4%; 2.7%; 1%; 0.3%


FY97; 2.5%; 3.5%; 2.5%; 1% for merit, market, and equity

FY98; 3.3%; 3%; 2%; 1% for merit, market, and equity

FY99; 1.7%; 3%; 1.7%; 1%; 0.3%

FY00; 1.6%; 4%; 1.5%; 2%; 0.5%

FY01; 2.7%        

* Midway through the fiscal year, lower-paid Pitt employees received cost of living raises

Source: University Senate Budget Policies Committee


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