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Assembly Holds First Meeting of the Semester

Brooke Burger

   The Assembly held its first meeting of the fall semester Sept. 27. The main topic on the agenda, included a review of the faculty and staff salary study by Chancellor Jack Lassiter and Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Jay Jones.

   The salary committee has not completed the staff salary study. However, the committee completed the faculty salary study, and each faculty member received individual calculations beginning Oct. 1. The packet also included definitions and information on the formula, which allows faculty members to calculate their own salaries.

   "We are working hard to make sure we have a sound budget," Lassiter said.

   According to Chancellor Lassiter, 52 faculty members will benefit from the salary studies in the first adjustment. Lassiter said of the approximately 114 faculty, about 62 will not receive an adjustment. However, no one will receive a deduction because of the salary study.

   The funds allocated in the 2008 budget will permit funding of 53 percent of the total adjustments. Therefore, individuals due an adjustment will receive 53 percent of the total adjustment in his or her 2008 salary. Lassiter said they plan to continue work to identify funds for the adjustments in future budget years until the total amount in the present salary study have been funded.

   Faculty members will have until Oct. 8 to report any corrections to their unit heads. The Oct. 15 payroll will include faculty salary adjustments. Peer comparisons will come after the university finalizes all faculty members at the target salary.

   "We'll continue to adjust until we reach all target salaries," Lassiter said.

   The committee uses a standard for calculating target salaries from the College and University Professional Association. The salary study does not address merit; instead, the study focuses on rank and years in rank. The study figures years in rank as the number of years spent in one position since the promotion.

   However, the study does put a cap on years in rank. For example, even if an individual remained at the same rank for 25 years, the cap may be 12 years. Faculty members relatively new to a rank are more likely to receive a negative multiplier based on the salary formula. In addition to rank and years in rank, the study includes other factors in its salary calculations.

   CUPA implements the Classification of Instructional Programs code, which the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics originally developed in 1980. The code groups academic divisions into 53 categories based on a two-digit system. Reducing the code from six digits lumps divisions together in a broad spectrum.

   According to Lassiter, the salary study factors in averages based on the diversity of the institution's divisions. Depending on the two-digit CIP code, faculty in certain divisions may receive lower salaries. Lassiter said the majority of UAM's divisions rank at the lower end of faculty salaries because the university does not have as many high tech or high paying disciplines.

   The study also factors in class sizes. In order to have higher salaries, the university would have to have larger classes. Lassiter said this does not mean the university plans to make classes larger or cut faculty. However, smaller classes require more faculty, which reduces the salary amount per faculty member.

   In 2004, the university had a 25 to 1 student to faculty ratio. The campus currently has a 19 to 1 ratio. The low ratio benefits the campus by allowing faculty members to give more attention to individual students. However, the university will have to hire more faculty to support smaller classes.

   "We probably have the lowest student to faculty ratio in the state," Lassiter said. "We have to have more faculty to offer more classes to keep those class sizes (small)."

   In addition to smaller class sizes, the university also has more faculty at instructor and assistant professor than any other rank. According to Jones, this helps put UAM close to the national CUPA salary average for the two ranks.

   This salary study did not include division heads or Executive Council members, though Lassiter plans to implement a salary study for academic unit heads. The committee has not completed the salary study for non-classified staff, though it should have final recommendations for the Executive Council before the end of October. In addition, the Colleges of Technology at McGehee and Crossett will conduct their own studies.

   According to Lassiter, it will take approximately three years to reach all the target salaries the university is currently reviewing. He said the Salary Committee plans to keep the data current and provide it to the academic unit heads. The committee also plan to put the most recent charts and data on the UAM Web site.

   After Jones and Lassiter gave their report, Lassiter thanked the members of the Salary Committee, the Assembly and Administration for their work on the faculty and staff salary study. He also gave special thanks to the previous Assembly chair.

   "I thank Dr. Kate Stewart for starting this task," Lassiter said. "Because of Dr. Stewart's leadership, we were able to get this accomplished."

   Other business for the Assembly included committee reports. Though most committees did not have a report for the first meeting, the Academic Appeals, Athletic and Academic & Curriculum Standards committees provided reports.

   The Athletics Committee reported on business they conducted in a meeting Sept. 25. The meeting reviewed athlete grade point averages, the policy on make-up work, drug policy and testing results, the student athlete handbook and sanctions. The committee reported all players tested negative for street drugs, but it has not received the results for performance enhancers. The university enforces a zero tolerance drug policy for athletes.

   The Academic Appeals Committee reported on 25 appeals. The Academic and Curriculum Standards Committee requested all academic units review the university catalog and submit changes and proposals early. Jones reported Finance and Administration is 85-95 percent complete with an audit, and they expect a good review.

   Jones also provided an update on Information and Technology. Recently, IT implemented a new student e-mail policy, which will delete any e-mails left in the Inbox for more than 90 days automatically. According to Jones, the new policy will help manage storage space on the server. IT also plans to work on a faculty and staff e-mail policy to present to the Executive Council.

   "Managing e-mail is a formidable challenge," Jones said.

  Director of IT Bobby Hoyle will send out an e-mail with information on Barracuda Spam Quarantine, an aggressive spam filter, to help manage spam mail as well. According to Jones, of 38,000 e-mails sent through the server at a given time, 87 percent of those were spam.

   Though COT-Crossett did not have a report, Vice Chancellor of COT-McGehee Bob Ware reported on a few of the college's improvements. According to Ware, the college's enrollment went up. Construction on the campus's bookstore is almost 95 percent complete, and the campus will offer Excel and Conversational Spanish courses for nine weeks.

   In a brief announcement, Lassiter noted that members of the campus community can still join the Centennial Committee. He said three more recently joined the committee, bringing the number of donors to 35. The money raised by the committee will go to an endowment, and each year earnings will go to various areas on campus, except salaries. A committee will decide how to distribute the money around campus.

   Before concluding his announcements, Lassiter mentioned several honors around campus including:

  • The Debate Team won its first tournament at Henderson.

  • Student Publications put out the 2006 and 2007 yearbooks and will have the 2005 yearbooks in by Homecoming.

  • Lassiter marked Parent/Family Appreciation Day as a huge success, with over 600 parents signing up for the event.

  • UAM reached another record enrollment mark, which the Chancellor said, "doesn't happen without good faculty and staff."

   New Assembly Chair and Associate Professor of Business Administration Marsha Clayton announced Stephen Trana, professor of music, volunteered to serve as vice president of the Assembly.

   Professor of Biology Russell Nordeen resigned from the chair position earlier this semester. Under the Assembly Bylaws, Clayton moved from vice president to chair. Though Nordeen resigned as chair, he remains active in the Assembly, attending the meeting and offering a few words of admiration.

   “I just want to thank all committee members and administration for their hard work," Nordeen said.

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ŠThe Voice 2007
09/15/2007 05:56:16 PM —