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November 11, 2004


Provost addresses regional faculty salary issue

To the editor:

I am writing to provide a context within which one can evaluate the issues raised in your recent article discussing faculty salaries at our regional campuses.  Drawing upon extensive discussion within and advice from the University Planning and Budgeting Committee, the University has aggressively addressed  salary issues for all of its employees on all of its campuses over the past five years.  This salary program has been grounded in the overarching strategic planning that has characterized much of the past decade, and it began as soon as the very real financial challenges that faced the University a decade ago had been brought under sufficient control that implementing such a salary plan became feasible.  As readers of the University Times will recognize, the staff salaries are benchmarked, category by category, against the Western Pennsylvania market within which virtually all staff are hired.  Similarly, faculty on the Pittsburgh Campus are hired in national competition with AAU flagship campuses, and it has been against the market established on these campuses that the Pittsburgh Campus faculty are benchmarked, discipline by discipline.  While no such agreed upon group of campuses exists against which to benchmark the faculty at the regional campuses (regional campuses of AAU universities have been used by some in reporting salaries, but for a variety of reasons these have never seemed appropriate for serious use in the current benchmarking effort), we have carefully studied the salary structures at our regional campuses and informally benchmarked them against a wide variety of small, non-research campuses in the East and Mid-West.

While we still have challenges in some disciplines and specialties, much progress has been made during the five years of our current salary program.  Virtually all staff categories have been brought up to the benchmarked averages, with careful attention to individual performance and individual skill set along with the averages in the local market. Pittsburgh Campus faculty have now been brought up to the overall AAU public university median, with careful attention to individual performance and disciplinary differences in the markets. More progress will have to be made with this group since AAU private schools hire in competition with us as well, and these still have higher salaries.  And similarly, significant market salary adjustments have been made at each of the regional campuses, with careful attention to individual performance and disciplinary market.  In our review of the East/Mid-West small campus market, our regional campus faculty salaries have also made good progress during the period of this program.

Our recent efforts to address salaries focus carefully on setting a competitive salary for each of our employees, faculty and staff, Pittsburgh Campus and regional campuses, with appropriate attention to individual performance.  No one is being left out, and it is unfortunate that agreement has not as yet been reached on an appropriate benchmark group for our regional campuses, since even if the regional campus faculty felt that the selected benchmark group was not ideal, they would at least have a clearer basis on which to assess the issues raised in the discussion you have reported.

Who should prescribe antidepressants?

This article notes that the FDA is now requiring drug manufacturers to label antidepressants with a warning that they may increase suicidal risk in children and adolescents. The article then relates that this is of particular importance to non-psychiatrists who may be prescribing this type of medication. Dr. Brent, Director of Pitt’s Services for Teens at Risk, apparently agrees with the FDA warning but then relates that, “Right now a lot of antidepressants are being prescribed by non-psychiatrists and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing.” This is a somewhat worrisome statement given that most non-psychiatrists have little to no training in recognizing and treating mood disorders. Further, many adolescents who present with depressive symptomatology also present with a co-morbid mental disorder that, again, the non-psychiatrist is not equipped to recognize, assess, diagnose, or treat. The trend of non-psychiatrists prescribing antidepressant, as well as, antianxiety, psychostimulant, and other psychotropic medications is troubling.

John J. DeFrancesco, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Professor and Director Clinical and Forensic Psychology
American International College
Springfield, MA 01109

(Pitt 1984)

SAC corrects newsletter info

In reference to the article entitled, „ID Badges‰ that appeared in the Fall/Winter 2004 SAC Tracks, the staff of SAC Tracks wishes to issue a correction to some of the information.

The ID Center is now referred to as Panther Central and the correct phone number is 412.648.1100.

Port Authority drivers have not been authorized by the University to confiscate expired Staff ID cards.  Simply, they are to deny the free ride.  If such an occurrence should take place, the staff member should contact Panther Central and they would work with the Port Authority to have that ID card returned.  Further, if it can be substantiated that an ID card was confiscated by the Port Authority, Panther Central would not charge the $20 replacement fee.

Secondly, the article stated that renewal notices are not sent to staff members. However, Panther Central does send out renewal notices dated three months in advance of an individual‚s card expiration date.  This practice has been followed since the time the new ID cards with the Cathedral of Learning background have been issued.

It should be noted that Panther Central works hard to provide excellent customer service to the students, faculty and staff.  The editorial staff of the SAC tracks regrets any inconvenience as a result of these inaccuracies in reporting.

Linda Marts
Staff Association Council
Vice President for Marketing and Communications



Filed under: Feature,Volume 37 Issue 6

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