College of Liberal Arts NTTF Advisory Committee

Meeting Minutes
March 11, 2022

Present were:  Margaret Miller (chair), Pam Duncan, Jonathan Carlyon, Ellie Light (had to exit midway due to wifi issues), Kyla Masciarelli, Courtenay Biser-Suarez, Debbie Swann, James Roller, Tom Conway, and Sadie Kinney-McGrath.  Alex Bernasek joined us as a guest.

1. The minutes from February 25 were approved.

2. Recommendations to CoNTTF for Faculty Manual: This had been scheduled for today’s meeting, but was skipped to allow time for discussion of the Task Force recommendations included in the Provost’s document.

3. Provost document/Task Force recommendations: Alex, who had chaired the Task Force on NTTF issues, shared the original 2019 report to the Provost that had included recommendations on some of the ongoing issues of concern.

  • Base salaries: The need for salary increases (and related budget model changes) had been identified by the NTTF Task Force and later flagged as “urgent” in the follow-up CCAF Task Force report issued in Spring 2021. Pam asked what the Provost’s office has done about these recommendations. Alex informed us that Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Sue James is responsible for watching what recommendations have been targeted for action and writing up a report.  Courtenay asked how to check on the progress of this:  who is responsible to ensure accountability?  Alex suggested it is probably part of Ellie’s portfolio.  Ellie was asked to meet with Sue James and get an accountability report ASAP, preferably for our next meeting.  In response to a question from James, Alex said the base salary (now up to $50,000) is intended to be implemented University-wide; department chairs are not given discretion on it.
  • Salary compression: This was another issue flagged by the NTTF and CCAF Task Forces, and Ellie was asked to bring it up with Sue as well.  Tom said the salary compression problem is getting more and more urgent. Jonathan provided some background information on the intended jumps in NTTF salaries, especially the differentiation between “merit” increases and “equity” increases.  An unintended consequence is that those receiving equity pay may jump over those eligible for merit pay, and the result is salary compression.  James pointed out that this is a major disincentive for merit efforts.  Alex told us it is a problem at the tenure-track level as well, due to the need to be competitive in hiring new faculty.  All agreed that addressing salary compression should be a crucial priority.  James noted that the budget should account for inflation as well; historically the University has not provided cost-of-living increases.
  • Service: Clarification of service requirements and how to measure them is another issue identified as “urgent” by the NTTF and CCAF Task Forces.  There is nothing on it in the Faculty Manual and it left up to department chairs (which, as we discussed previously, leads to substantial variation among departments over what counts as “service”).  Alex has pushed for an audit of service standards toward the goal of creating one that is consistent.  Jonathan has asked department chairs for information on what qualifies as “Meets expectations,” “Exceeds” etc.  We discussed the complexity and subjectivity of measurement, including the issue of quantity of service versus quality.  Some departments also have demonstrated inconsistencies from year to year over how service is counted:  for example, what was  considered “service” last year may be classified as “teaching” this year.

According to Alex, this year is supposed to be devoted to implementation of the Task Force recommendations—so accountability is especially important.  Tom said Sue James has asked CoNTTF to look at the various department and College codes.

Respectfully submitted by Pam Duncan