The Office of Academic Affairs presented a plan for a faculty compensation project at its June 4 meeting of the Board of Regents’ Academic/Student Affairs and Research committee. The plan is aimed at developing policies and practices that result in compensation, which is equitable and fair and also incentivizes and rewards innovative faculty.

“Creating a long-term plan for faculty compensation has been one of Provost Chaouki Abdallah’s primary goals since he was appointed in 2011,” Senior Vice Provost Carol Parker said.  “As a part of the overall effort, he has charged us with ensuring competitive faculty compensation at UNM, which includes looking at our processes and policies for determining compensation rates as well as benchmarking rates to our peer institutions.”

The first step will be to conduct a study in the fall of 2015 of compensation rates on the Main and Branch campuses to determine if they are equitable. The study will be conducted by UNM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER).

The second step will be to work on filling any gaps, if they exist, and to adopt policies to prevent inequities or uncompetitive salaries from occurring. Faculty input will be an important component to the policy development plan.

Parker has identified multiple factors that influence faculty salaries that should be explicitly recognized in policies in an evidence-based approach to setting compensation. Examples of those factors include credentials and years of relevant experience.

However, in the highly competitive research university setting, other factors that should also be considered include market differences among the academic disciplines and comparisons of comparable positions at peer institutions or in related non-academic jobs.

The plan will also create guidelines to subsequent compensation adjustments, such as merit-based and across the board increases, and promotions in academic rank or title.

“New policies are needed as UNM transitions away from its historical reliance on cost of living increases for setting faculty salaries, Parker said. “Such increases have been dramatically restricted at UNM since the Great Recession. The Health Sciences Center has already adopted comprehensive faculty compensation policies and main campus should as well.”