Background and Summary
The UC system lags behind many peer institutions in faculty compensation. In theory, an across-the-board increase in salary scales would be the best and simplest solution; nonetheless, we can reasonably anticipate that state funds will be insufficient now and in the foreseeable future to accomplish that goal.
As a result, the UC system is attempting to develop tools to (i) prevent faculty attrition due to competing offers from other universities and industry, (ii) address dissatisfaction resulting from salary scales that lag behind comparable universities, and (iii) successfully recruit outstanding new faculty by offering competitive salaries. It is imperative that these tools not rely solely on diminishing state funds, which require us to sacrifice future recruitments to pay for current market faculty salaries.
The UC rank and step structure and the shared governance peer review process are central to the University’s excellence. New tools designed to meet the challenge of uncompetitive salaries must abide by those existing practices. Following the model of other negotiated compensation plans, the Irvine Campus (UCI) has agreed to participate in the Negotiated Salary Trial Program (NSTP). In so doing, we believe that it is a good start to begin addressing the issues identified above. The NSTP may help us achieve competitive salaries, conserve scarce state funding and, at the same time, retain our existing structure of academic review and promotion. And, because the NSTP is a trial program, it gives us an opportunity to measure outcomes and effectiveness before making it a permanent provision in the UC Academic Personnel Manual.