Faculty Support and Renewal

Date: July 17, 2014
To: All Faculty
From: Paul J. Zingg
Subject: Faculty Support and Renewal

The news that negotiations have been extended for a new contract between the CSU and the CFA provides an important context as we pursue various campus-based efforts to address salary and other issues affecting the well-being of our faculty. It is essential that we respect the collective bargaining process. At the same time, I want to underscore our commitment to renew and support our faculty and to keep you up to date on actions both taken and progressing to this end. In that spirit, I want to share the following information.

First, I have directed that we correct the classification status of a number of lecturers (representing about 13% of all lecturers), as recommended by a committee comprised of CFA representation and administration, which I appointed to review this issue. In most cases, this means elevating the status of this group of faculty from the “L” classification to either the “A” or “B” level with commensurate compensation adjustments. These re-classification and salary adjustments will be in effect for those lecturers from this group who will be teaching in the new academic year. Any questions regarding this matter should be directed to the college deans, who have been charged to implement these actions in collaboration with the office of Faculty Affairs.

Second, the deans, the provost and I are committed to utilizing tenure awards and rank promotions, which are appropriately grounded in faculty performance and merit, as a means to address salary inversion and compression issues. This is an option already provided for in the faculty contract, and we have employed it previously. For the 2013-2014 cycle, our expectation is that 38 faculty will receive tenure and/or promotion compensation adjustments averaging 13.42%. This is about 80% more than the 7.5% minimum increase required in the contract. The provost will implement these actions through the office of Faculty Affairs.

Third, as the contract has provided, I have been meeting with a working group of CFA representation and administration to study salary equity issues, primarily, but not exclusively, related to salary compression. Following the completion of bargaining and contingent upon both the provisions of a new contract and the ratification of that contract, we will continue to focus on salary compression and other salary equity issues. We are considering, for example, a cohort approach to this issue that would initially focus on tenure-track faculty hired between 2007-2013, a period of particularly severe salary compression.

Fourth, in addition to the elements identified above, we will develop further stages of a salary equity strategy as the new contract permits and data warrant. Although we can neither anticipate nor presuppose what the new contract will say, we will continue to explore, encourage and support a strategy that aims to improve the base salary situation for all faculty and mitigate inequities in individual cases. And I will continue to consult with our CFA leadership to do so. For the moment, though, I want to thank Charley Turner, in particular, and the campus CFA executive board for their counsel, trust, support and leadership in these matters. Their role has been critical so far and will continue to be so going forward.

Fifth, our work is not done with the actions noted above. There are many other steps we are taking and need to take to support and renew our faculty. These steps include hiring significantly more tenure-track faculty (the target is 100 between 2014-2015 and 2016-2017), adding greater diversity to the ranks of our faculty, and providing all faculty with the technical and other support they need to grow professionally and enable the success of our students. The latter includes granting sabbatical awards above the contract minimum, developing a new faculty mentoring program, increasing faculty development funding for both existing and new faculty, and establishing a new undergraduate research assistance program to embed undergraduate research into faculty research thus benefitting both faculty and students.

These are important, specific and achievable steps. Issues beyond our campus determination, though, such as those related to the elements of contract negotiations, may affect our timing in accomplishing some aspects of this agenda. But they will not check our resolve to do so. Our faculty deserves not just praise, but our best efforts to demonstrate appreciation for what you are achieving and to strengthen your confidence in the University’s commitment to all faculty.

As any other developments occur relative to these matters over the summer, I will keep you informed. Expect, though, a full update at Fall Convocation.