News on University Salaries

Dear Colleagues:

We must be competitive for talented faculty and staff in order to remain a leading university. Even in difficult times, I believe this is a high priority.

The University Budget Council and I have decided to set aside funds for modest, strategic, merit-based salary increases for our faculty and staff for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Funding for this has been made possible through budget cuts by the deans and vice presidents, and this action is consistent with our policy of making sacrifices to fund our highest institutional priorities.

As you know, the last permanent salary increase for staff was in 2008-2009. In 2010-2011, we implemented a one-time merit-based payment program for faculty and staff. The 2011-2012 salary increases will be permanent and are independent of the one-time payments. Increases are based on performance, so not all employees will receive one. More information will be forthcoming in August from your department.

Faculty and staff increases will be effective September 1, 2011. Only employees who have been employed for at least six consecutive months are eligible, provided they have not received a merit increase in the past six months.

I want to reinforce that these salary increases are only possible through greater austerity and efficiency on the part of the entire University community. I also want you to know that I am proud of the countless ways that our faculty and staff are meeting the challenges of funding reductions while maintaining the high standards of performance that characterize UT.

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Comments

  1. longtimelonghorn says:

    It was reported President Powers recieved $7 million dollars from the Board of Regents for UT professors. According to President Powers in an article only 30% of them recieved a raise.

    Can you shead some light on and provide a break down for balance of the monies and how it is setup to be spent? Or has it be reinvested to make more money?

  2. President Powers,

    I’m a huge fan of UT and our desire to be a university of the first class.

    I’m not a fan, however, of the Budget 101 website. For one things, the graphics need to be bigger and more legible.

    My main problem is that it doesn’t get to the heart of what most people want to know–the academic core. It looks like half the budget consists of self-supporting revenues (athletics, dorms, government grants, endowments and donations).
    Over time, that half of the budget can easily increase with higher donations, booming athletics programs, success with grants. So that means the budget expands enormously. To the casual outsider, it appears that UT’s budget is growing fast at an unsustainable rate even though the sources of funding are perfectly explainable and sustainable.

    Now, going to the “academic core” (funded by tuition, state revenue, AUF) how has that been growing with respect to inflation? I mean people see a 2.5 billion dollar budget and assume that tuition is taking care of things growing in the self-sustaining side of the budget.
    I imagine that as we hire more top faculty and staff the academic core costs grow–and they should since we are competing against the top tier institutions. I’m not sure if that’s been growing over time beyond control, or whether we’re with modestly growing academic core budget that is funded by flat sources of revenue (AUF,, state appropriations) that are now being slowly supplanted by growing tuition.

    I hope this all makes sense. To sum things up, I think the academic core side of things needs to be better explained and emphasized. Imagine tomorrow that UT gets hundreds of millions of dollars in specific donations and research contracts. I have no idea of whether that would cover professor’s salaries and thus potentially reduce tuition. Aside from that question, imagine that these specific grants and donations are large enough to raise UT’s total budget to just over $3 billion. You can be sure that UT’s biggest critics will then declare that we’ve crossed a new threshold and that this the ultimate proof of UT’s fiscal irresponsibility which causes rising tuition. Never mind the fact that these grants and donations are all free money for very specific purposes–it gets counted as part of UT’s overall budget, a budget deemed “skyrocketing” and unsustainable.

    I hope this question/comment is clear and that Pres. Powers, or at least people in the budget office/web page office/public relations office will be aware of it. I’m sure there are plenty of people who understand the Budget 101 site much better than I do, but it is imperative that the site better explain the academic core, its growth over time, the sources of funding and their growth/changing distribution over time. The academic enhancement and self-sustaining parts of the budget, increases of which I would understand to be extraordinarily good rather than bad news, just confuse and distort what’s really going on at UT in terms of its stewardship of tuition and state funds.

  3. In the interest of transparency, how about publishing the URLs for the pages where the University of Virginia and the Texas Tribune (appended below) publish UT employees’ salaries?

    That way employees can check to see how they truly stand without fear of retaliation.

    ——————————————

    http://www.collegiatetimes.com/databases/salaries/university-of-texas-at-austin

    http://www.texastribune.org/library/data/government-employee-salaries/the-university-of-texas-at-austin/

    (The information at these sites is unverified–Tower Talk Moderator.)

    • Tower Talk Moderator:

      As anyone can see from examining these sites, both the University of Virginia and the Texas Tribune publish official State of Texas salary figures. Both UVA and the Tribune will correct any figures shown to be in error; in fact, they will modify published figures *only* for the sake of accuracy.

    • We are told that high (officially called competitive!) salaries are part & parcel of being a great university. However, even a dimwit like me can tell: that’s a lot of fat cats!

      I wonder if the “budget 101″ article addresses how these figures work themselves into the financial crises that the university is facing. I cannot help but grin sardonically each time I see “budget 101″ story, that has been running, it appears, for ever now.

      So, let me tell you where this money comes from and how it is disbursed — it’s magic. And, only few are gifted and blessed to work it.

      • AK,

        If you suggest that a pronounced inequity (a system in which those who control budgets take care of themselves not only first but often lavishly from year to year) exists in UT’s salary structure. . .well, when we open the books there is no denying that tawdry reality.

        I understand your frustration with the cover story that such a startling concentration of wealth among a vanishingly small percentage of the University’s staff is necessary on the basis of “competitiveness.” If people at UT who make the biggest bucks and get the biggest raises every year (no matter who else finds themselves out of a job because money is allegedly so scarce) really deserve such largesse because they are just too wonderful to lose, let them try to find such a sweet deal elsewhere.

        They won’t.

        What galls me—-and ought to cause outrage among the taxpayers, the greater University community and especially the classified staff—-is the pervasiveness of the fiction (an overly charitable term) that no money exists in budgets to reward hard-working employees.

        The ledgers reveal that on the contrary, in a good financial year such as 2008-2009 when an employee receives a sub-inflationary “raise” of 2% (if they get any salary increase at all), that employee’s Director can promote himself to Executive Director with a 7.99925% raise (since special permission is required for an 8% raise); in a bad year such as 2010-2011 when many people lose their jobs, that Executive Director will somehow have to make do with a mere (!) 3.7% raise. This is precisely how a UT official can more than double their income between 1997 and 2010—all the while bawling that there just ain’t no money for any raises.

        In less genteel circles this sort of pretense is not called fiction.

        It’s called lying.

      • Competitive salaries are necessary. Rival universities are constantly headhunting within UT, attempting to steal the talented professors we have. If we cannot pay our professors more, we lose the core of the university and the quality of education goes down. Also, athletics can support itself and brings in money to the school, so I have no problem with Brown’s chunk of change.

        • Rachecl says:

          But does athletics really support itself?

          And should athletics be allowed to keep all the money it brings in? Professors have to give up some of their grants to pay for the ability to use the money at UT.

          The way I see it, we provide athletics with the space and facilities, and the very NAME of UT. They owe us a lot more than they’re giving. And they have access to rich donors willing to throw away money.

  4. This is great news. With all the higher ed controversy going on, it is easy for faculty and staff to flee for other universities. And it’s hard to stop that leak once it starts. UT must do everything it can to keep its faculty and staff and continue to recruit the best and brightest.