New Faculty Pay May Rise to Attract ‘Cream of the Crop'





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A new policy announced yesterday may allow UC Berkeley to offer more competitive salaries to junior faculty recruits.

In an effort to maintain academic excellence, the UC Berkeley Budget Committee advised campus deans in a memo to make the university's wage offers more competitive with other institutions by incorporating outside criteria in salary offers.

Salary levels for tenure-track faculty will now include evaluations of what other top-level colleges and universities are offering and special accomplishments of perspective junior faculty.

UC Berkeley officials have said they may not have been able to attract some professors because they could not offer the highest bids.

"In the past we were compelled to offer a salary indicated by the scale even though they were lower," said Jan de Vries, vice provost for academic affairs and faculty welfare. "We were always in a defensive situation and we could never be the first one to offer a more attractive salary."

The salary scale is based on eight universities but does not include key competitors like Princeton University, making it difficult to attract ideal candidates, de Vries said.

The salary scales, which are determined yearly by state officials, have been below the market in recent years because of a decrease in state funding, said UC spokesperson Paul Schwartz.

In 2001, UC's faculty salaries were, on average, 21.8 percent lower than faculty salaries from the eight comparison universities.

This policy shift comes at the beginning of a major expansion in the UC system, known as Tidal Wave II.

UC plans to expand the system by 43,000 new students and hire 7,000 additional faculty by 2010 to accommodate the projected increase in high school graduates, Schwartz said.

De Vries said the policy may help UC employ "the very best people."

"We want to make sure we get the cream of the crop," de Vries said. "This policy is intended to make sure we are better able to respond to market realities."

In another policy change yesterday, officials in the UC Berkeley Office of the Controller announced a new limit to the use of university funds for faculty membership in certain organizations.

University funds may only be used for membership in professional organizations that promote the advancement of education and research, the policy stated.

"Memberships in social organizations, such as business, athletic, luncheon, sporting, airport and hotel clubs are generally not allowed," the memo stated. "If a genuine business purpose can be established, exceptional approval may be granted by the chancellor."

The policy will primarily affect university sponsorship of faculty membership in social organizations like country clubs and frequent-flyer clubs.

"If you're using any (funds) from the university for personal gain, it becomes taxable income," said Gregory Brown, assistant vice chancellor for finance and controller.

The policy would put UC in stricter compliance with federal guidelines for tax reporting.

UC will report all sponsorship that does not directly benefit the university to the Internal Revenue Service as taxable income.

"The change in the tax is a matter of complying better with the law," Brown said. "If you receive compensation we are supposed to report on that."

Approval for all faculty social memberships will now shift from department heads to high-level UC Berkeley administrators.

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