MADISON, Wis. – Unlike any other state agency, the University of Wisconsin System must formally recommend a two-year pay plan for its faculty and academic staff, even before the State Budget has been introduced. This year, university leaders must submit that recommendation amidst unprecedented economic turbulence, while important questions about an anticipated budget deficit remain unanswered.
UW System President Kevin P. Reilly today released his recommendation for the 2009-11 pay plan, scaling back by more than half a long-range plan to bring Wisconsin salaries in line with those offered by competing colleges and universities.
“As the University and the State tighten our belts over the next two years, we know that many students and families will struggle to balance their checkbooks,” Reilly said. “With that in mind, we will recommend a responsible plan – one that would have a minimal impact on tuition.”
The UW System Board of Regents last month discussed significant recruitment and retention challenges, noting that Wisconsin academic salaries are about 10 percent lower than those at competing campuses. In recognition of this gap and its ultimate impact on students, the Regents in 2006 adopted a four-year plan to gradually boost salaries, calling for annual increases of 5.23 percent.
“Our recruitment and retention challenges are real. In an effort to keep talented professors in our classrooms, we hope to avoid slipping further behind. For now, we must demonstrate that our public university is sensitive to the public’s dire financial situation,” Reilly said.
Reilly will recommend that the Board submit a request to the State for annual increases of 2.5 percent for each of the next two years. Based upon this recommendation, and available funds in the State’s 2009-11 biennial budget, the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER) will make its official recommendation to the State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER), which must approve all pay plans for UW System unclassified employees and other State employees.