The meeting convened at 3:30 pm. As the
first order of business, Doug Herman (Geography) was elected as Secretary.
Summary of conversations
It was noted that young faculty who arrived
during the salary freeze, as well as senior faculty, all are experiencing
salary compression. The Regents’ goal is that our salaries are
in the 85th percentile of our peers. Using the mean, we are at the 79th
percentile. That’s the current peers, not our “aspiration”
peers. The 79th percentile is not “low.”
McLucas said that the administration
was focusing on junior faculty, but noted that all faculty salaries
Salary compression connects to merit,
and how it is distributed. 2.5 % of department salaries are allocated
for merit, and the department decides “units” of merit.
Everyone gets the same amount per unit. But for those with larger salaries,
merit pay constitutes a smaller percent increase. Thus people at the
higher end of the salary scale get “compressed,” in that
their pay increases are proportionally smaller each year.
There used to be a formula for calculating
compression, but it is more complicated now because of merit money.
It was explained that there are “dashboard
indicators” used by the Efficiency and Effectiveness Committee.
These are a set of variables chosen for each institution for measurement
against its peers. They are “shortcuts” for the Regents
to see problems. Faculty Salaries are now a dashboard indicator for
Towson. When merit money is allocated to the university, what constitutes
“merit”? It was suggested that the Provost and Administration
would like to control it. Another pot of money should be used for equity,
retention and hiring, it was argued. But no other pot of money exists.
A junior faculty member noted that an
extra $500 can make a big difference. A senior faculty stated that she
recalled only one “bump” (decompression) in her time here.
It was asked when the last equity study
had been done. Apparently it was done in 1992. The nature of that study
was discussed. But the situation is more complex now because of merit
A recommendation was made for faculty to look at the next issue of Academe
(published by the AAUP national) for salary comparision figures. A recent
issue had a 2-page article about a college that worked out a system
that resulted in faculty gaining much higher raises.
McLucas is going to get figures on the
salaries for Towson faculty. It was noted that the AAUP used to have
a Salary Committee. It was proposed that this committee be reactivated
to deal with salary issues.
The CLA Council of Chairs has produced
a document regarding Salary Compression. It was proposed that the AAUP
look at this document, and produce its own statement on the issue. It
is important that different faculty groups all put pressure on the administration
to get action here.
There is a system-wide discussion regarding
discrepancies. Maryland has a joint committee on pensions, and they
are being urged by the Regents and others to raise the contribution
to the Optional Retirement Plan. We should all speak to our delegates
in the State government and tell them this is an important issue for
faculty hiring and retention. It is, in fact, an issue for all State
It was stated that the upper level administration
needs to come up with more money to provide benefits. More money is
in fact coming in, but why is it not going to our (faculty) priorities?
There was disappointment about Caret’s upbeat attitude about Towson’s
growth while faculty remain disaffected. Conversely, it was suggested
that the Administration is cognizant of these concerns, but is addressing
them a little at a time.
CLA has had the experience of department
workload policies being formed, then overruled at the Provost level.
In particular, the idea of rollover points (from year to year) has been
overruled. There is no clear sense of why these different documents
are being sent back. It was felt that we are waiting for guidance from
the top, but also being divided at the grassroots level. The matter
of workload documents needs to be dealt with at the university level,
including clarification of the value and meaning of scholarship.
In one college, faculty wanted to control
the workload document process at the college level, to avoid a higher-level
imposition of standards. The Dean and the Chairs decided on one policy
and imposed it.
In some cases, a course can be only 1
unit, but if it is counted as one course, this makes for an imbalanced
situation. Credit count, class size all need to figure.
There was discussion regarding the apparent
divide-and-conquer nature of the current situation.
A faculty from Business stated that the
problem is beyond our control, and stems from Towson being run on a
cost-sentiment, not a profit sentiment. This is antithetical to efficient
running. This situation should be adjusted, but it is up to President
Caret and the Provost to change the management system. We want a collegial,
productive, fun environment.
McLucas noted that trust is important,
and we (the AAUP members) need to see that processes are collegial.
A senior faculty stated that the Board
of Regents sets the rules, and that Hoke Smith’s unapproved move
to 3-3 is the root of the problem. Nonetheless, we have made the Board
(a) Courseload does not equal Workload
(b) Non-tenure-track faculty need to
be included in the counting
Some institutions understand how to “count creatively” and
are teaching the rest of us. This brings our numbers towards compliance.
It was suggested that CLA create a college-wide
workload committee. The CLA Council should take this on. This is a clear
need to coordinate information and policy within the College.
We need to work on our department chairs: they need to bring back coherent
It was noted that overall, blocks in
communication channels at the department-chair and dean level is leaving
some faculty furious, others disaffected. The chairs are “trained”
by the Administration, and often it is the chairs that cause the barrier
through stonewalling faculty, etc. Faculty from one college told horror
stories about collusions between chairs and deans against faculty.
It was noted that some corporations use
an ombudsman to look into such complaints. College Park has such an
ombudsman. Towson can do this. But currently, at Towson the AAUP acts
in that role. The AAUP has a grievance committee, which was reactivated
last year, for just this purpose.
Further discussion ensued regarding the
top-down manner in which Towson appears to be run. It was suggested
that senior faculty need to speak out, get on committees, pass laws,
etc. in order to push back.
There are currently 97 active members.
The following recommendations were made for recruiting new members:
- Everyone present should get two new people to join. Face-to-face
is deemed the best method of recruitment.
- We should have a list of points drawn up, not just the points of
issue, but our successes as well.
- We could make it a “find a friend” game and publish
the results of who recruits whom on our website.
It was also recommended that we have
more position statements published in the Towerlight. We can publish
our minutes via our email list, and also get them into the Daily digest.
It was deemed that it is best to circulate our minutes to the membership,
and then write something for the Towerlight that draws on them.