Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Administration's “clarification” on salary studies

On October 17th CSN President Richards sent an email titled “Clarification of Various Salary Studies” with information regarding different salary studies pursued by CSN, NSHE, and the Legislature.

In describing CSN equity studies, Dr. Richards wrote “Compares (and adjusts) salaries of academic faculty within the institution based on experience and education. Does not compare with other institutions.” The basis provided was NSHE Procedures and Guidelines Manual Chapter 3 Section 2.3.d.

NFA in our Salary proposal have asked for other criteria to apply to an equity study than comparison with other CSN salaries-- most importantly, that faculty's salaries be compared to the Community College Academic Salary Schedule. Does then the NFA proposal contradict the Procedures and Guidelines Manual?

No. The Procedures and Guidelines Manual Chapter 3 Section 2.3.d states that equity plans “must include but are not limited to the following:” and then lists features including comparison to the salaries of academic faculty within the institution. The Procedures and Guidelines Manual does not preclude use of other factors in an equity study, and in fact we know that other NSHE institutions have used a variety of criteria in conducting their equity studies.

Moreover, NSHE Code specifically allows for collective bargaining agreements to modify even NSHE Code. This is stated in NSHE Code Title 4 Chapter 4 Sections 13.2 and 13.3. Therefore even if it were not allowed for in the Procedures and Guidelines Manual, nor practiced at other NSHE institutions, NFA could still negotiate for other criteria to be used in equity studies.

We believe it is important to regularly compare CSN faculty salaries to the Salary Schedule, so that the Salary Schedule has meaning. Dr. Richards in his email notes that at the NSHE level a study is being carried out that may update the NSHE Salary Schedule. But what good will that do current CSN faculty? The Salary Schedule is used in determining initial salary placement for new faculty, but what else? Our research showed that approximately 80% of our bargaining unit have base salaries that fall below the median of their grade range.

We think that it should be the case that the Salary Schedule should be referenced in equity studies, so that faculty who are behind that objective measure can be brought up to speed. We do not want it to be the case that a faculty member's colleagues also being underpaid is sufficient justification not to address that faculty member being underpaid based on NSHE's own metrics.