Faculty Senate Meeting October 28, 2015
Hartman Lounge, Florham Campus
The meeting was called to order at 2:07 pm by Gary Darden.
He said that the Senate faces three big issues this year: the search for a new University provost, the new Gen Ed (general education) requirements, and the distribution of an unprecedented amount of money for salary equalization and merit increases.
Robert Houle spoke as a member of the Provost search committee. The selected search firm, AGB, has done a number of searches for smaller institutions. There followed a short conversation about the desiderata for the position; he said that he would welcome feedback from faculty. The next committee meeting will be November 9th, when they expect to meet with the search firm. The firm will want to meet with constituent parties across the University. They will try to have search firm representatives come to the next Senate meeting.
Sen. Singer: Was the search firm approved by the committee and the Board of Trustees, or just the committee? Provost Capuano: By the committee, myself, and President Drucker; the Board of Trustees was not involved but informed.
On the October budget: The Faculty Rights and Welfare committee had requested 2% COLA and $400,000 for equalization; the Administration came back with $500,000 for equalization plus $100,000 for performance-based increases, plus last year’s $100,000, which is still being held. There followed a discussion about merit increases. Pres. Darden: I have had many discussions with faculty who are worried about inequitable distribution. The chair and deputy chair of FRW will each speak for ten minutes on issue. I want voices not in FRW or the Executive Committee to speak and voice their concerns.
Jim Hutton, deputy chair of FRW, made a presentation with slides, comparing aggregate salaries of the three major faculty ranks with peer institutions. He said that chair Marek Slaby and he had looked at all faculty salaries, without names attached, to inform these discussions.
Hutton summarized his data as follows:
*Roughly 80% of FDU faculty are paid below the rank-and-discipline averages of peer universities, with about a dozen FDU faculty making only 60-70% of their peer average, or $45-55,000 below their peer average.
*There are huge inequalities within the faculty salary database, ranging
from approximately thirty faculty being paid salaries that are 100-110% of their peer salaries, to the roughly dozen faculty who are making 60-70% of their peer salaries.
*Collectively, FDU faculty are more than $3 million below their peer average salaries.
*The most-underpaid faculty tend to be full professors, though a significant number of associate professors also fall into the most-underpaid category.
*Most of the most-underpaid faculty tend to fall into professional disciplines, although faculty from many other disciplines fall into that category, as well.
The first chart showed FDU salary ranges:
70 assistant professors, with salary ranges $58,000-$122,600; the new minimum was $60,216.
79 associate professors, with salary ranges $66,000-$114,000; the new minimum was $65,690.
87 full professors, with salary ranges $82,000-$128,400; the new minimum was $82,113.
The chart did not incorporate the year’s promotion raises: $5474 from the minimum assistant professor figure to the minimum associate professor figure, and $8758 from associate to full professor. In addition, all of these figures would go up by 2% in November.
The second chart showed full-time tenure or tenure-track faculty salaries relative to peer averages by rank and discipline in fall 2014, after COLA (cost of living adjustments) but before equalization.
At the left end of the chart, one full professor was paid $40,000 over the peer average; at the other end, one was paid $60,000 under the peer average. Of the bottom salaries, thirteen teachers are in Silberman College of Business. The highest-salaried teacher is in the liberal arts.
Capuano: That person is gone. Some of these people with high salaries are program directors, or on twelve-month contracts; if you take them out, the general chart would look worse. Some of the top people are also old-timers, people who have been here for forty or fifty years. Hutton went on to discuss other factors taken into account in equalization formulas, especially prior equalization and credit for years of service. Of the thirty people paid above their peer average, a third are full professors. Some full professors are paid very well. The caps on equalization raises need to go up, because low caps have prevented people at the bottom of their peer group from rising. Last year, the $120,000 salary cap excluded several people.
Marek Slaby, chair of FRW, spoke next:
I did not prepare any presentation. In equalization we look at groups, not individuals. Those who appear to be overpaid get little or no equalization; we use caps, as has historically been used, although they change. At our last meeting we had a short discussion about equalization, but didn’t have time to deal with the new figures from the Administration. Jim’s impression that Business school professors are more underpaid than others is not my impression. We always use the previous year’s CUPA figures; last year I did compare CUPA figures (here he handed out three sheets of charts): accounting professors’ salaries are higher than the 50th percentile of our peer group, as are those in marketing and nursing. Visual and Performing Arts is the worst-paid compared to peer institutions. At last May’s Senate meeting, the Senate agreed that, since assistant and associate professors have promotions for which they can apply, the best solution to the question of performance-based increases would be to use them for full professors. Sen. Tuluca: Is this (on the charts) our new peer group? Marek: It is. Tuluca: The new peer group does not have enough data for comparison. Slaby: Not for all disciplines, but for the ones on the chart. Tuluca: Let’s use the old peer group, which has all disciplines. Slaby: It does not.
Sen. Lents: my discipline is not shown here. Slaby: It might be lumped in with others in same rank. Lents: If our discipline is missing from peer group, how do we handle that? And state schools do publish individual teachers’ salaries by disciplines, so why can’t we? Slaby: I’m not familiar with this. Lents: They’re required to; so if we can’t get averages from CUPA figures, why can’t we deduce them ourselves? Pres. Darden: Figures are published only for public universities, not for all the institutions in our peer group. Slaby: If such a resource exists, we can use it. Sen. Salierno: What did you do last year? Slaby: We found total averages for each rank; because CUPA numbers are so skimpy, we had to use national CUPA factors. but for disciplines we had to use national factors. Lents: So what are you going to use this year? Slaby: We will use national CUPA numbers for every disciplines. For the groups as a whole, we use the peer group figures. Sen. Harmon: Isn’t it true that FRW is still deliberating? Slaby: We haven’t really started, since we just got the figures a few days before our last meeting.
At this point Pres. Darden stopped the discussion, and opened the floor to general questions and comments on equalization.
Dean Rosman: I have an observation on accounting numbers. I can’t rattle off the names of the peer schools off the top of my head, but when we’re trying to hire faculty, we have to compete against peer schools. Even at the salaries we have been hiring with, we are $20,000-$30,000 below what other schools in the area are offering. We also have to consider total compensation. Many universities, particularly business schools, offer twelve-month packages. We typically don’t offer that. Slaby: the 12-month figures were converted for comparison. Rosman: but we do not offer support during the summer either. So it’s misleading to just look at the figures on the chart. Slaby: This is true not just in accounting, chemistry, physics, and so on, are in the same boat.
Sen. Cohen: I would like to mention that I was a member of FRW during the last equalization, in which the formula was devised by Michael Avaltroni, and our position in relation to our peer group was not the only factor we took into consideration. We also took into consideration the absolute values of faculty salaries, in relation to the high cost of living in this region. Business school faculty members who make more than $100,000 a year, even if that is $30,000 a year below their peers, are still in a very different financial situation from liberal arts faculty making $50,000 a year, which many of us made at the time. Sen. LoPinto: In addition, some of the high salaries on Sen. Hutton’s chart were because some faculty had been administrators. Hutton: I agree, although that is not being done any more.
Sen. Singer: I would like a chart that shows each department and the numbers of assistant, associate, and full professors in each discipline (not the salaries), to make sure that we are covering every discipline. Capuano: We do a census every fall, and this fall’s census is almost complete. Singer: If that could be provided to FRW and then the Senate, I would like to see it. Sen. Kovacs: I would like to echo the SBC Dean’s sentiments. At other colleges, there are ten-, eleven-, and twelve-month contracts. Some of us on non-traditional schedules find we are already doing ten months of load just to fit the schedules and calendars. Darden: Last year, anyone making more than $120,000 didn’t get equalization, and there was a cap of $3500 on raises. This year FRW may vote to raise these. Lents: I would like everyone to get equalization, but I would encourage you not to use national CUPAs, because looking at states like Ohio, we are not talking about the cost of living that we have here, and faculty in their state schools make much less than those in nearby schools like Montclair or Rutgers. Hutton: Don’t worry about Ohio as opposed to New Jersey; that problem is solved. Slaby: No, Sen. Lents is right, but we don’t know how to solve it. Capuano: To be clear, we have a new peer group with fourteen institutions, most of which are private, as we are. So Sen. Lents is right; we could determine average salaries at public institutions. But bear in mind that public schools tend to pay more than private ones in this area. We take average salaries in each rank in peer group, or as many as possible ( they don’t all report every year), as well as the national CUPA factor; the fact that the cost of living in Ohio is so much lower would wash out, because some other states are higher than we are. So we wouldn’t be off by much. It would be best to know all salaries, but we can’t get them all.
Sen. Adrignolo: I have a colleague in this state, who makes more as an accountant than as full professor. You’re trying to legislate an equitable system, but it’s very difficult to do that. Dean Rosman: These isolated anecdotes are not data upon which you can make decisions. Your story is totally irrelevant to what’s going on here. Suppose a professor has a very wealthy spouse? Hutton: Accounting faculty are not overpaid. This is based on the actual data. Of the thirty people who make more than their peer averages, only one was in the business faculty. We are the only college in which full professors make less than junior faculty. This is completely upside down.
Sen. Bronson: Sen. Lents’s point is well taken. In FRW we have scrupulously tried to be fair. If a particular discipline’s CUPA factor was too low, we raised it to 1. We understand what you’re saying; we consider ourselves one college, one orchestra. We will figure a way to handle it; we always do. We don’t look at it as the business college versus another college. I don’t know how we’ll resolve it, but we will figure out a way. Now for the first time there is enough money to do some things like, for instance, setting a minimum. Sen. Nasser: In the past with CUPA we set the minimum for all disciplines to 1, and in some similar way we will raise the lowest factors. If you want to bring everyone to, say, the 60th percentile, then the goal is to bring everyone to that percentile. We need to address inequalities so that all faculty can afford the cost of living, as well as in comparison to peer group.
Dean Weinman: For clarification, I want to address Sen. Hutton’s comment that senior faculty are getting so much more than junior faculty in the liberal arts. The reason is that in recent years, new Silberman faculty have been paid at close to, or at, market rates, while in past they were not. In Becton, new faculty are not paid at market rates. Hutton: It’s more than that. Even in absolute dollars, people in liberal arts are making more money than people in professional areas, such as accounting and marketing, who are are making less than people in nursing and education. Weinman: I would love to see that broken down by colleges. Sen. Salierno: Bickering among the colleges is counterproductive. But we should also look at the hourly load as a factor. We have similar gaps; business faculty make a lot more, but the gap between us and our peers is relatively the same. Sen. Harmon: According to Handbook rules, FRW needs to consult with the Senate and bring any proposals to the Senate for approval before they present it to the Administration. So we will all have a say as part of that process.
Pres. Darden then shifted discussion to performance-based or “merit” pay. We sent a follow-up letter (following a letter from previous President William Roberts in May) to Pres. Drucker and Provost Capuano, mentioning the proposals of higher ranks and teaching awards. The Provost and the Board of Trustees have made clear that this money can not be applied to equalization. So again I want FRW and the Executive Committee to hear rank-and-file opinions on this question.
Sen. Cohen: I remember that in last year’s discussions, we agreed that assistant professors have promotion and tenure to strive for, and associates have promotion to full professor. The most popular suggestion was to add higher ranks for full professors. If we incorporate additional performance benchmarks for lower ranks, won’t that muddy the waters?
Sen. Behson: I’m against merit pay and think it’s a bad idea. We could refuse it, or ignore it, or if we’re going to do this, we should make it very transparent and long-term. Or if we tie merit pay to aspects of strategic plan, that might be the least bad alternative. It’s a very bad idea, and I say this having worked in companies implementing merit pay programs. Sen. Lents: Of all the things in this email, there’s one thing that I have a problem with, the coupling of merit with equalization. I think it would be great if we had additional ranks. But if we’re going to have merit pay, it seems unfair that it would discriminate against people on the basis of equalization and target points. I don’t think we want to tie them together, because they are two different things. Sen. Kovacs: I would like to echo Sen. Behson’s statements. I have also designed two performance-based outcomes at other universities; they sound good initially, but they deteriorate rapidly when funding disappears, and criteria are not applied fairly. But awards targeted to the University Strategic plan, and to the University’s global mission, sound good. On the Provost’s seed grant committee, we have fewer applicants than we would like. But as additional compensation, we can put faculty applicants on a ten-month contract.
Sen. Singer: I’m in education. There has been a national and a state push for what we’ll call merit promotion and tenure within the public education system. It has been an unmitigated disaster. There is avarice, backstabbing, and sabotage of other teachers, and I can see that happening even more so at the university level. Those who promote themselves get promoted and recognized, and many who work like dogs don’t promote themselves because they’re too busy, and remain unrecognized.
Sen. Nasser: I’m in favor of taking money whenever the Administration offers it, since we are underpaid. The question is, who controls the process? We can use it to add to the base, rather than a bonus; or the other way is to create another committee to determine special awards, as DPRCs and CPRCs do now. I have suspicion that the impetus for merit increases stems from the Administration’s desire to bring back one-time bonuses rather than salary increases. If we are in charge, I’m in favor of it, but otherwise, I’m against it. Sen. Bronson: Two years ago, President Drucker, Provost Capuano, Sen. Slaby and I sat in a meeting. The President said they would give us equalization, but only if there was a merit component; Board of Trustees wanted it, and the President and Provost wanted it. This year the message is also clear: the Board of Trustees wants it and the Administration believes it will be a good thing. But before we talk about measuring merit, we first have to define it. It can’t be the same criteria we already use, such as teaching, scholarship, and so on. I asked Pres. Drucker, what do you mean by merit? He said what Sen. Kovacs said: You do something for the students. I propose a small committee, some from FRW, some from the Executive Committee, to work with Provost Capuano and to define what constitutes merit. Sen. Tuluca said let the Administration do it. You could come up with a Distinguished Service Award; let the Provost and the Deans give five a year. Sen. Salierno: Last year the Senate agreed that we should get the average salaries for all ranks up to the 50th percentile, before we talk merit. Sen. Tuluca: I agree. What’s relevant that we are almost at the bottom of our peer group. What kind of motivation for accomplishment does the Administration get by shoving this down our throat? If you give me an award and I take the money, and then go back to sleep, what have you accomplished?
Sen. Harmon: A lot of views are bubbling up now. They are not proposals. This is going to go through a process. It is going to be a long process. Sen. Nasser: Can we meanwhile use that money for equalization? Harmon and others: No.
Sen. Peabody: Part of this involves having a dialog with the Board of Trustees. Can someone explain what the Board of Trustees was thinking—was it a perceived problem, is it a trend in higher education? Darden: We will be speaking with the Board of Trustees about this question. Sen. Hutton: I want to reinforce what Sen. Behson said. This is more trouble than it’s worth, it’s going to create all kinds of problems. Maybe Provost Capuano can get the Board of Trustees to read it. Darden: Whatever materializes, there has to be sufficient faculty oversight. If it’s higher ranks, we have existing DPRC and CPRC to be involved. Rather than the Executive Committee telling you, I want you to tell us what you think about what’s going on in this merit equalization debate.
At this point he introduced Florham campus provost Peter Woolley, to speak about a PublicMind poll:
A few years ago, PublicMind started measuring FDU student attitudes. It is useful to learn what students care about and don’t care about. Most of you have probably seen the charts and summaries. As an example, we asked students to rank student services (do they use them, how often, how satisfied were they, and so on). This gives us a notion of what students like or don’t; it doesn’t identify problems, but sometimes suggests how things could improve. We’d like to do something similar along the same lines with University employees, like an employee satisfaction survey. It will go out to full-time and part-time faculty and staff on all campuses, so we can start responding to some basic workplace issues. It will be online, and everyone will get a link to it, which will take about five minutes to complete. It will give us something to build on. Surveys are a snapshot, but their most useful function is when you compare snapshots.
Sen. Harmon: What is going to be done with the data? Woolley: I hope some sort of action. But we will share data in the aggregate with everyone. You won’t be able to see any individual responses. It will come out as a report. Harmon: Will it be broken down by college? department? discipline? and will action teams be chosen to deal with results? Woolley: We don’t know yet. Harmon: Before you raise a child, you should think about how you’re going to do it. Dean Weinman: The responses must be anonymous. Woolley: The data collection will be handled by Rich Higginson, a PublicMind employee, who will scrub any identifying material. He will present the results to the rest of us, so the rest of us will have no opportunity to see any individual data.
Pres. Darden: FRW met with Rose d’Ambrosio from Human Resources several weeks ago. She has come here to speak about a new healthcare option.
Rose d’Ambrosio: We are adding new medical plan option for employees. It may not be attractive to everyone; it is for individuals who don’t use the plan as often, and are prepared to pay lower premiums in exchange for assuming some of the risks. There will be an online version for those who can’t attend an information session in person.
At this point she introduced Christy Irish from United Healthcare, who spoke about the new option.
Currently UHC offers Choice Plus now. The new plan is called CDHP (Consumer Directed Health Plan) with HSA (health savings account).
Choice Plus has a higher payroll deduction and lower deductibles and coinsurance. CDHP has lower payroll deductions and high deductibles and coinsurance.
Currently in Choice Plus the individual in-network deductible is $300; the CDHP individual deductible is $1500. In this high-deductible plan, copays are also subject to deductibles until the deductible is completely paid. Conisurance and prescription are also subject to a deductible. After deductible and the out-of-pocket maximum are paid, everything is covered 100%.
The Health Savings Account is designed to help save and pay for health care. An employee can grow savings and save money on taxes. The annual contribution limits are set by the IRS. Withdrawals are not taxed. This requires a high-deductible health plan, funded by employees and the University; the account funds belong to employee; it grows over time and can be invested. To be in it, an employee can’t be on any other plan that is not high deductible; is not entitled to Medicare; and is not eligible if they have received any veterans’ benefits. The contributions are spread out through year; any changes are prorated. If an employee is older than 55 but not yet on Medicare, they can contribute an additional $1000. Qualified expenses include deductibles and coinsurance; medical, dental, vision; expenses for spouses and dependents; COBRA; qualified long-term care; and Medicare premiums. The employee gets a credit-card type card, with no stops on it. You can also get automatic bill paying and online banking; checks (with fee); or you can pay for expenses and get reimbursed.
Optum Bank, the financing entity, is owned by United Healthcare. They only do Health Saving Accounts. There are three options: the basic account, or one can move into an E-saver or E-investor account. You can scan your receipts and keep the scans on the website. There is also an online cost estimator.
Funds in the Health Savings Account can be moved if you change jobs. There is no minimum, you just need enough to keep the account open. Once the account exceeds $2000, you can set up an investment account to invest a portion in mutual funds.
Sen. Singer: Can you send this presentation to us? d’Ambrosio: I will send it to Pres. Darden. Sen. Nasser: How do you determine a member’s cost after a doctor visit? Is it determined by provider? Irish: If the doctor is in-network, their charge is put up against a negotiated rate. Sen. Sacks: I have a question about the traditional health insurance: will there be an increase in the new year? d’Ambrosio: No. We have to move the plan from fiscal to calendar year, to match schedules with the new plan. Sen. Slaby: We are self-insured; if we don’t use it, this money will also be in the same pool? d’Ambrosio: Yes. Sen. Harmon: Is this money FDIC insured? Irish: Up to $100,000, not beyond that . Sen. Cohen: You said that the money in the Health Savings Plan accrues interest. I understand why this benefits United Healthcare, because it owns the bank. But I’d like to know if it benefits us. Can you give us the current interest rate? d’Ambrosio: It is initially minimum, comparable to a typical savings account. Once you reach the threshold, you open up other investment choices. Irish: After you open the account, they send a welcome package. Sen. Behson: Is the intention to supplant our current plan with this? d’Ambrosio: No. But I don’t know where we’ll be in the future. Sen. Harmon: Why is this new optionattractive to FDU? d’Ambrosio: This is a lower-cost option for those who don’t use a medical plan often. For the University, it will help us control costs going forward. In 2018 we face the 40% excise tax on so-called “Cadillac” health plans, and we are concerned with lowering our costs.
Pres. Darden adjourned the meeting at 4:00 pm.