Merit-based pay raises for faculty

President John L. Crain announced merit-based pay raises for the first time since 2009-2010 at the university during the Faculty Convocation on Friday, Aug. 11. File Photo

At the Fall 2017 convocation, President John L. Crain announced the first merit-based pay raises for university faculty since 2009-10.

“This is the first year over the past decade that Southeastern has not sustained any budget cuts from the state,” said Executive Director of Public and Governmental Affairs Erin Cowser. “A stable budget along with strong student enrollment and conservative fiscal practices allow us to provide raises this year.”

Approximately $3 million from the budget will be used to fund this raise plan for a total raise pool increase of about 5.25 percent from the current salary.

“Please keep in mind that individual employee raises may be more or less than this amount, as recommended by the supervisor, and will vary based on the amount of the departmental pool, each employee’s prior years’ merit evaluations and other relevant factors,” said Crain.

Employees who are full-time as of June 30, 2017 will be eligible to receive a merit-based pay raise, and supervisors will take into account merit evaluations up to the 2008-09 fiscal year for those eligible.

“This includes eligible unclassified faculty and staff members, as well as classified employees, whose raise was included as a provision in the compromise budget passed by the legislature for this fiscal year,” said Cowser.

Individual departments will receive a raise pool of .75 percent of the eligible employees’ current salaries for the past nine years with departments with low turnover receiving a larger raise pool than those with high turnover that more accurately represents the current market.

“Please also keep in mind that all raise recommendations will be reviewed up the administrative line through the president prior to submission to the board of supervisors for final approval,” said Crain. “Once approved by the board, raises will be reflected in the next regular pay period, hopefully by Aug. 31 for faculty, Sept. 1 for staff, and will be effective retroactively to July 1.”

Cowser believes the current faculty deserves this because of years of service to the students when there were no pay raises.

“As always, Southeastern faculty and staff are expected to help our students succeed,” said Cowser. “This is why our university exists. Our faculty and staff are to be applauded for keeping the best interests of our students in mind even when there were no monetary rewards for doing so.”

The past four years of merit evaluations will also roll over into any future raise plan.

“Since it is unrealistic to fully address up to nine years of unrewarded merit with the amount of funds available for the current raise plan, the most recent four years of merit evaluations will continue to be carried forward for consideration in future raise plans,” said Crain.

Cowser hopes that even though faculty members deserve more of a pay raise, this plan motivates them.

“Even though the pool of money available to give raises is not nearly equal to what our employees deserve for their efforts over the years, our ability to give raises at any level should provide a morale boost,” said Cowser.