Faculty Recruitment and Retention
Task Force Report - May 31, 2001

3. Recommendations

The recommendations below include several which are adapted from the previous reports cited in the Appendices. Additional recommendations may also be found in the reports described in Appendices O, P, Q, T, and U, in particular. Many of the recommendations require additional funding, and the administration is encouraged to pursue sources of new funds (and not just reallocation of existing funds) to help recruit and retain the best possible faculty. Where possible, an estimate of the amount of funds required for each recommendation is provided.

Recommendation #1 - A proactive versus counter-measures approach should be used for faculty retention. Waiting to respond until faculty have outside offers can create morale problems and be expensive or ineffective. Funds should be provided for addressing market-based and retention-based salary adjustments for faculty with extraordinary individual merit. The process for making the salary adjustments should be established by the Deans and Provost. It should be efficient and informal, because a formal process with deadlines might be too slow, have less flexibility, and raise false expectations. It should allow for mid-year commitments, although implementation of the adjustments may be delayed to coincide with the annual raise cycle. This market-based salary-adjustment process will differ from the current salary-grievance process, as the latter is based on internal comparisons while the former is based on external comparisons. By focusing on individual faculty with high merit, this process will complement unit-merit salary increases. It is suggested that the funding level be approximately 0.15% annually of the total salary pool, based on the provision of one-time raises of 15% to 1% of the faculty each year.

Recommendation #2 - The unit-merit process is helping to close the gap in salaries between CU-Boulder and peer institutions for selected units. It should be continued, but it is suggested that a two-year cycle be considered, as the latter will allow some of the larger problems to be addressed over two budget periods and for programs which just missed in one year to receive unit merit in the following year without preparing a new application. It is further suggested that this fund be approximately 0.45% annually of the total salary pool, based on closing the current average gap of 5.5% over a 12-year period.

Recommendation #3 - The recent decision by the College of Arts and Sciences to provide promotion-based raises ($2000 for Associate Professor and $3000 for Full Professor) provides important financial and psychological boosts at key points in a faculty career, and some faculty feel the amounts should be even greater. On the other hand, the funds for these raises come from the overall pool, and so they slightly lower the raises for faculty not being promoted in a given year. Unless a special campus pool (e.g., endowment, special increase in continuing funds from the State) can be developed for promotion-based raises, it is recommended that each college examine its merit-based raise procedures and philosophy to decide the amounts of promotion-based raises, if any, with consideration of the large gap in average salaries at the full-professor level between CU-Boulder and the AAU public peer group for some disciplines.

Recommendation #4 - Overall raise pools of inflation plus 1% are not enough to keep up with salaries at peer institutions and for meritorious faculty to achieve satisfactory growth in salary over their careers. A target of inflation plus 2-2.5% is recommended for the total raise pool (regular merit, unit merit, special merit, promotion-based raises, gender equity, etc.) If possible, inflation plus at least 1% should be provided for the regular-merit pool alone.

Recommendation #5 - One source of funds to provide the recommended raises beyond inflation plus 1% is self-funding by the Colleges. Tapping into operating budgets is not a satisfactory solution. For the long term, a portion of the salary differentials between departing faculty and new hires should be put into the raise pool as self funding. For example, if 4% of the faculty retire or depart each year with a salary differential (above an entry-level replacement) which is 50% of the average salary (note: the 1999-2000 average CU-Boulder salary difference between Full Professors and Assistant Professors is 48.2% of the overall average salary, while that for the AAU peer group is 61.9%), then the combined differential is 2% of the overall salary pool. It is recommended that policies be considered whereby approximately one-half of the salary differentials (between departing faculty and the same number of entry-level hires) be put into the raise pool for current faculty, with the remainder used to upgrade positions to the mid-career or senior level or for pooling to create new positions or to reconstitute cannibalized or recharged positions.

Recommendation #6 - Another recommendation for providing raises beyond inflation plus 1% is to develop mechanisms and procedures which allow individual faculty salaries to be supplemented by alternative sources such as grant funds and endowments. One possible mechanism for providing these supplements could be implemented by reducing a faculty member's appointment on the general-fund salary pool to 90-95% (without changing the amount), and then supplementing this amount up to a 100% appointment with the alternative sources. However, supplements which are temporary or based on the faculty member raising soft money should not be used to reduce his or her raise amount on permanent or continuing funds.

Recommendation #7 - The original 2X rule (whereby departments demonstrate their support for a special merit award by giving at least twice the average raise to the awardee) in the College of Arts and Sciences provides a mechanism for departmental support and costsharing of special merit awards, but it can create morale problems and undue hardship on smaller departments and those with multiple recipients. Thus, the modified 2X rule (whereby a department must give twice the average raise of the remaining faculty in the unit to the special merit awardees) which recognizes these factors is supported, and it is recommended that other colleges develop policies for appropriate costsharing of special merit raises.

Recommendation #8 - Special Opportunities Positions (SOPs) are used for hiring additional faculty from underrepresented groups, hiring extraordinary faculty with unique accomplishments and potential, and assisting with spousal hires. The SOP program should be continued and expanded, with consideration of the increased need for spousal hires. For the latter, cost-sharing by the colleges and schools involved might be considered.

Recommendation #9 - Campus funds for startup packages should be continued and increased. Approximately $3 million per year from Academic Affairs are needed, based on 20 hires with $350,000 startup, and 40 hires with $50,000 startup, with Academic Affairs providing one third of the total and the colleges and units providing the other two thirds of the total. Mechanisms are also needed to increase the budgeted startup funds for the colleges and departments.

Recommendation #10 - Expand the new program for housing loans, and develop rapid-screening procedures so that guaranteed participation in this program may be included in offer letters. A modest subsidy should be provided, so that the interest rates are at least 1% below market. It is also recommended that units be allowed to include housing-assistance funds for down payments and other closing costs in offer letters.

Recommendation #11 - Use additional ICR and state funds to at least double the campus support for research and creative work through internal granting institutions such as the Council on Research and Creative Work and the Graduate Committee on Arts and Humanities. One possibility is to earmark one-half of all new ICR revenues (above current levels) for this fund until the goal is reached.

Recommendation #12 - Work with CCHE, the Colorado Tobacco Research Program, and the Colorado Legislature to increase state support for individual projects, matching of major proposals for initiatives in education and research, and facilities.

Recommendation #13 - Develop a web page and handout which lists key contact information for faculty issues (e.g., benefits, housing, promotion and tenure, child care, leave policies, sabbatical internal funding sources), and include this list with each offer letter. Provide chair training and new faculty orientation on these issues.

Recommendation #14 - Consider hiring or contracting a part-time "concierge" who assists with faculty recruitment and retention by providing information and assistance on benefits, employment, schools, housing, etc. in the Boulder area. Assistance with non-academic spousal employment is a particular need. The concierge office could provide the coordination of retention initiatives recommended by the 2/14/01 CU-Boulder Arts and Sciences Council Report on Retention, Career Management, and Academic Community, including serving as a conduit for faculty to bring problems to the attention of the administration beyond the department level.

Recommendation #15 - Within broad campus/college guidelines, ask each unit to develop procedures which promote workload flexibility. Examples might include course banking, faculty fellowships, family leaves, part-time or shared appointments, joint appointments, and extended tenure clocks.

Recommendation #16 - Develop on-campus or near-campus child care options, including infant care and pay-as-you-go drop-in care.

Recommendation #17 - A fund for tuition support for faculty dependents attending CU, or possibly other schools, should be established. Such an investment will often come at a critical, mid-career time in a faculty member's career, when he or she is most vulnerable to other opportunities.

Recommendation #18 - The employer contribution to health plans with family or spouse/partner coverage should be increased by approximately $75-100 per month, possibly phased in over 3-4 years.

Recommendation #19 - Colleges and departments should develop strategic plans to recognize outstanding faculty contributions in teaching, research and creative work, and service, with goals to endow awards, chairs and fellowships through fundraising efforts in collaboration with the CU Foundation. Such recognition by one's immediate peers, in addition to the monetary support involved, is an important strategy for retention and encouraging outstanding work.

Recommendation #20 - Colleges and departments should also make every effort to recruit and support a diverse faculty, including community building (faculty retreats, internal seminars, lunches, receptions, etc.) and mentoring of not only junior faculty but also those who feel professionally isolated or in need of assistance in teaching or research and scholarly work. Strategic hiring of faculty with common interests should also be encouraged.

Recommendation #21 - Besides salaries and benefits, faculty retention strategies should include ones which have broad benefit to the unit and colleagues of the faculty member (e.g., renovation or establishment of shared facilities, allocation of faculty lines in related areas). These strategies will help improve morale among the colleagues of the retained faculty.

Recommendation #22 - Continuing funds should be provided for nonsalary faculty retention packages. The campus need might be approximately $500,000 per year, based on 10 retention packages at an average of $50,000.

Recommendation #23 - Additional state funds and streamlined mechanisms for office and laboratory renovations and expansions should be pursued by the university administration.

Recommendation #24 - To help meet the faculty need for additional, high-quality graduate students, increased stipends for teaching assistants and a reduced tuition rate for nonresident graduate students on appointment should be implemented.

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Last modified: April 8, 2005