UNCG Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Dana Dunn addressed faculty concerns about salaries, funding for research-related travel and support for online teaching at last week’s general faculty meeting and faculty convocation, held in the Alumni House’s Virginia Dare Room.
The concerns were compiled from a Collaborative on Higher Education in Academia survey of UNCG faculty approximately a year and a half ago.
“When the information [from the survey] came in, I was told it was very important to the faculty that we put this information to work,” said Dunn.
The result was the formation of a committee to study the concerns and provide recommendations for addressing them.
Dunn went through the issues one-by-one using a Powerpoint presentation.
One of the highest priorities in the survey was faculty pay, with thirty percent of respondents saying that higher salaries and better benefits would be a factor if they chose to leave UNCG.
“It won’t surprise anyone to see this recommendation tied to salary and benefits, and particularly urging the UNCG administration to be strong advocates for the importance of compensation for our faculty,” said Dunn. “This has been a primary source of dissatisfaction for reasons we all understand.”
All UNCG employees will be receiving a 1.5 percent raise this year, along with a one-time one percent bonus.
“This is one instance where one cannot claim that the progress being made has a great deal to do with the actions of leadership on this campus,” said Dunn. “As much as I would like to think that we influenced the state legislature, I’m afraid that that’s not the case.”
“It’s a small amount, but it’s a step,” said Dunn of the across-the-board raises.
The committee also recommended that UNCG take steps to address salary inequities, or ‘compression,’ among faculty.
“I believe the instructions we have issued for the salary increases we control are responsive to this request,” said Dunn. “In addition to the 1.5 percent from the legislature, we have approximately two percent in a pool for the annual merit raise allocation process.”
Another high priority issue revealed by the survey is funding for research-related travel.
“We’ve talked at length here about teaching, but what about research?” said Dunn. “It’s an equally important part of our administration.”
A new program, Faculty First, has been created to help provide funding for travel in the summer. Approximately $125,000 was distributed by the program in the last two years.
Support for online teaching is another area of concern.
“There was also a call for more investment related to online teaching,” said Dunn. “This is an area where we have a great deal of activity, particularly over the summer.”
The University Teaching and Learning Commons is currently seeking to fill a staff position supporting online teaching by helping to determine effective teaching techniques for online environments, with the goal of hiring someone by next spring.