Tuesday, April 23, 2024

University provides update on strategic compensation plan

University provides update on strategic compensation plan

APRIL 27, 2022 — 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 to all faculty and staff:

Last August, we announced a strategic compensation plan to recognize and invest in our outstanding faculty, staff and student employees. The results of our campus climate survey identified compensation as a key area of needed focus, and we made this a top priority for fiscal year 2022.

Through our plan, we identified numerous ways to improve and enhance the experience for our faculty and staff. Originally, we estimated that our compensation strategies would total $14 million throughout the fiscal year. We are pleased to share that we were able to dedicate more than originally planned, investing a total of $17 million across our various compensation strategies.

As of this spring, we have fully implemented our compensation plan. The following strategies were put into effect over the course of the current fiscal year, supporting our goal to provide meaningful increases to as many faculty and staff as possible.

Increased Minimum Pay Rates and Pay Scales

One of our initial compensation strategies was to increase minimum pay rates and pay scales for staff and faculty for a total investment of $2.1 million. These adjustments were completed in September and October and included a variety of approaches to ensure faculty, staff and student employees saw a positive impact to their paychecks.

Minimum hourly rates for classified staff increased to $15, better aligning our base wages with those offered at many area organizations. Following this increase, we also addressed pay-related compression to ensure we established the appropriate salary distances between job titles. This review included raising some incumbent employees’ salaries up to $17 per hour to alleviate compression in lower salary grades.

The minimum hourly rate for student employees increased to $10. We will continue to develop strategies to further increase this rate over time, ensuring our students gain valuable experience toward their career goals at competitive rates.

New Fixed Term Track (FTT) faculty minimum pay scales were established, and the minimum per-course compensation was increased to $3,500. Specific minimum salary bases were determined for each title series and rank within the FTT titles. These improvements help us support and recognize our exceptional instructional faculty.

Merit Increases

Merit increases went into effect on January 1 for a total investment of $7.9 million. This year, we were pleased to offer a merit increase of up to 4%, based on your 2020-2021 performance evaluation rating. This increase is a significantly higher percentage than offered in previous years, when maximum percentages were often 1-2%. Approximately 98% of merit-eligible employees received a salary increase of 3% or higher.

Raising the maximum percentage allowed us to reward our exceptional faculty and staff for going above and beyond. As we have shared previously, we are immensely grateful for your hard work and dedication to providing high-quality services and support to our Roadrunner community.

Market Retention Adjustments

Market retention adjustments were completed in March, for a total investment of $3.7 million. For staff, we allocated funding for targeted adjustments to positions identified as highly skilled or hard to fill due to a competitive market, or for positions with demonstrated high turnover. These adjustments increased salaries to 100% of comparable positions based on CUPA salary data for R1 institutions. For tenured and tenure-track faculty positions, college deans worked collaboratively with university leadership to develop college-specific retention strategies that best support their faculty and college. The strategies were based on the deans’ assessments of pay competitiveness and academic output in order to determine appropriate funding for college priorities and goals. Through these processes, we were able to strategically address areas of opportunity designed to increase UTSA’s job retention rates and overall market competitiveness.

One-Time Stipends

In the fall semester, we provided one-time stipends to faculty and staff in recognition of the exemplary agility and care shown while adapting to rapidly changing conditions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Faculty stipends were paid in October and staff stipends were paid in December, for a total investment of $3.3 million.

Looking Forward

This fiscal year provided an excellent opportunity for us to invest in our greatest resource—our faculty and staff—and show appreciation for everything you have done, and continue to do, for UTSA. Despite the numerous challenges created by the pandemic in recent years, we entered the biennium on a stronger fiscal footing than we originally anticipated. This was thanks to many successes, including record enrollment numbers, positive outcomes in the last legislative session and more.

The intentional investment strategies we implemented this year demonstrate our ongoing commitment to attracting and retaining a qualified, diverse workforce. As we approach the end of the spring semester and begin to look forward to the next academic and fiscal year, we remain focused on our faculty and staff. People Excellence will begin to develop new strategies, and we will continue to support future compensation increases when resources are available.

We appreciate your tremendous efforts and thank you for your ongoing support of our Roadrunners.



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