September 22, 2000

Rawlings, Martin, Faculty Discuss Salary Issues

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President Hunter R. Rawlings III and Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin held a question and answer session yesterday with faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences to address the proposed faculty salary plan.

The financial policies committee of the Faculty Senate and an ad hoc committee from the arts college has worked with administrators over the past year to identify a salary goal based on peer institutions. The plan is to increase salaries over the next five years in the endowed colleges and over six years in the statutory colleges.

Some lecturers and senior lecturers, however, expressed concern at the meeting that the plan is aimed primarily at tenured professors.

“We have faculty who bring us some very good ideas; these faculty cost something,” Rawlings told faculty.

“The proper goal was that Cornell should reach the median of peer groups over a period of time,” Rawlings explained. “The endowed colleges have, over the past five years, oscillated around 90 percent of the median. Now we have to try to move that from 90 percent to 100 percent.”

The plan, though, will not target individual professors, but the average of salary. Deans in each college will maintain discretion in determining salaries for individual faculty.

Moreover, the proposal does not account for salary raises for faculty members who are not tenured professors.

“It’s a different set of issues, that doesn’t mean it’s a less important issue,” Rawlings said.

“I do believe that our first faculty meeting will be open to further discussion,” said Phillip E. Lewis, the Harold Tanner dean of the arts college, addressing lecturers who attended the meeting.

The principle sources of revenue for the increase include a pay-out from the endowment, as well as tuition increases. An addition of $150 million dollars to the endowment will be used both to cover the salary raises and an increase in financial aid.

“I’m very confident that this plan will succeed financially,” Rawlings said.

Members of the ad hoc committee also expressed confidence in the proposal at the meeting.

“We do remember the day that the administration said something different than what they had been,” said Prof. R. Laurence Moore, history. “We’re pleased with our success in terms of getting a commitment toward a goal.”

Archived article by Beth Herskovits