Thursday, May 30, 2024

University announces its strategic compensation plan

University announces its strategic compensation plan

AUGUST 2, 2021 — Editor’s note: The following message was sent today via email from President Taylor Eighmy, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy and Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President for Business Affairs Veronica Salazar Mendez to all faculty and staff:

March 2020 marked the beginning of a challenging and unprecedented chapter—for UTSA and for us all. Over the last year and a half, you have dedicated so much effort to ensure the Roadrunner experience for the benefit of all our students. Your many contributions and your attention to the health and safety of our campus community are the cornerstone of our continued success.

Today, we are making a significant investment in our faculty and staff by implementing a comprehensive strategic plan to increase compensation, pending final approval of our budget by the Board of Regents later this month. Our successful efforts to increase enrollment, coupled with the overall positive outcomes of the recent 87th legislative session, offer us a unique opportunity to make this investment in our university community.

In total, UTSA will invest more than $14 million in additional compensation throughout fiscal year 2022.

To ensure we provide meaningful salary increases to as many employees as possible, our compensation strategies are designed to recognize your hard work and the value you bring to our university. These investments have the potential to increase your salary in multiple ways, and will take place as follows:

Merit Increases

We will provide institution-wide merit increases of up to 4% in the upcoming fiscal year. As you know, we were unable to offer a merit increase in fiscal year 2021, and maximum percentages were smaller in previous years (2% in fiscal years 2020 and 2018, 1% in fiscal year 2019 and no merit increase in fiscal year 2017). We recognize that many of you took on additional responsibilities and saw increased workloads over the last year, all while continuing the high-quality services and support on which our Roadrunners rely. Raising the maximum merit increase to 4% allows us to reward our exceptional faculty and staff for going above and beyond.

Merit increases go into effect January 1, 2022, and will be reflected in February 1 paychecks. As in prior years, the total increase you receive will be based on your 2020-2021 performance evaluation rating, and will differ from person to person. Once merit totals are finalized, each employee will receive a personalized letter outlining their total merit increase. In the coming weeks, People Excellence will distribute information on the performance review process, provide training for supervisors and launch a web page with additional information and FAQs.

Increased Minimum Pay Rates and Pay Scales

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide competitive compensation packages, we will adjust minimum pay rates for our workforce. These adjustments include a number of approaches to ensure faculty, staff and student employees see a positive impact to their paychecks. The strategies below go into effect September 1 and will be reflected in October 1 paychecks:

  • Minimum hourly rates for classified staff will increase to $15 per hour. This change aligns our base wages with those offered by many area organizations and companies, including Bexar County, the City of San Antonio, Alamo Colleges and more. Additionally, we will review pay-related compression that occurs as a result of these adjustments, ensuring we establish the appropriate salary distances between job titles. This review will include raising some incumbent employees’ salaries to $17 per hour to alleviate compression in lower salary grades.

  • The hourly minimum rate for student employees will be increased to $10 per hour. We are developing a strategy to further increase this minimum rate over time, ensuring our students continue to gain valuable career-readiness experience at a competitive rate.

  • New Fixed Term Track (FTT) faculty minimum salary pay scales have been established, and the minimum per-course compensation has increased to $3,500. Over the past year, we were able to implement many improvements that recognize the value of those whose primary duties are instruction in our FTT faculty approach, including transitioning to a new title series, systemic promotions and extended contracts. Specific minimum salary bases were determined for each title series and rank within the FTT titles, based in part on data from the College and University Professional Association and previous Non-Tenure Track Task Force Report recommendations. These strategies are just the start of our efforts to further support and recognize our exceptional instructional faculty. 

Market Retention Adjustments

Funding will be set aside for market adjustments in certain pre-determined administrative job categories to provide added resources for positions that are considered high-turnover, highly skilled or hard to recruit due to a competitive market environment. These targeted adjustments will strategically address specific areas of opportunity, aiming to increase UTSA’s job retention rates and overall market competitiveness. People Excellence will share more information with college deans and administrative leadership in the coming months.

Further, college-specific retention strategies for base pay adjustments to address market and salary compression for tenured/tenure-track faculty will be implemented based on additional analyses and tools to assess the competitiveness of employee pay. College deans are working with university leadership to finalize their specific plans in the coming weeks.

One-Time Faculty Instruction Transition Stipends

As previously announced by Provost Espy, faculty will receive a one-time stipend to support the efforts of transitioning to increased face-to-face instruction this fall. We recognize the innovation and flexibility you have shown over the past year as you adapted to a variety of course modalities, and your ongoing dedication to excellence is deeply appreciated. Stipends will be paid on October 1.

These intentional investment strategies for our faculty, staff and student employees demonstrate our commitment to attracting and retaining a qualified, diverse workforce that supports UTSA’s vision for strategic growth and innovative excellence. In the coming weeks and months, area leaders and managers will receive instructions regarding how to operationalize these salary adjustments.

Moving forward, we will continue to prioritize our faculty and staff and support future compensation increases whenever the university can responsibly do so.

Looking Ahead

Although the pandemic created numerous financial challenges for our university and the state of Texas, we will enter the next biennium on a stronger fiscal footing than we initially anticipated. Our enrollment reached record numbers last year, and the legislative session resulted in many positive outcomes, including an overall General Revenue Appropriations increase of more than 14 percent, increases to formula funding and the Texas Grant program, and funding for the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute and the Institute of Texan Cultures.

The University Finance Team has already presented the results from the legislative session and its impact on our Incentivized Resource Management budget planning process to many academic and administrative units, and will continue to meet with other areas in the coming weeks to discuss this material.

As we prepare to begin a new academic year, we are pleased to be positioned to substantially invest in our greatest resource—our faculty and staff—and show our appreciation for everything you have done for UTSA.

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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

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