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  • 07 Dec 2023 12:00 PM | Jim New (Administrator)

    The officers of the State Board of the Nevada Faculty Alliance are devastated by the horrific events at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas yesterday. There are no words that convey the bewilderment and sorrow we feel for our colleagues, friends, students, and all their families who are suffering. Platitudes, thoughts, and prayers cannot make this right.

    Violence is never an acceptable solution. For now, kindness and understanding are essential. But in an uncertain environment that has stirred so many emotions and passions, this event reminds us that respect and compassion must guide our interactions with one another, especially in our institutions of higher learning.

    We urge everyone in the NSHE community and our NFA family to be there for one another. Lend an ear to someone who just needs to talk, give them a shoulder to lean on, and gently reassure them that there is still good in the world. 

    We encourage all NSHE employees to practice self care every day, but especially at times like this. Please remember there are resources to help those of you who are suffering from the trauma of this event including the NSHE Employee Assistance Program.

    NFA members have additional benefits through our affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), including trauma counseling and secondary trauma stress counseling. Each service requires an AFT member number. Individuals who are having trouble finding their member number can reach out to Tish Olshefski at for assistance.

  • 04 Dec 2023 12:57 PM | Jim New (Administrator)

    Over the past decade, the Nevada System of Higher Education (“NSHE”) has implemented a series of small policy changes that, in the aggregate, have significantly eroded shared governance when it comes to the process of selecting campus presidents and the system chancellor. This became apparent when the agenda for the November 30 - December 1, 2023, Board of Regents quarterly meeting was posted and included proposals for the appointment of interim presidents at Great Basin College and College of Southern Nevada. Since both GBC President Joyce Helens and CSN President Federico Zaragoza had each given more than a year’s notice of their departures, it was surprising that the Board did not launch a national search for their successors. 

    As it turns out, the policy that once mandated national searches for institutional leadership positions has quietly undergone multiple small changes since 2012, and now gives Regents the authority to appoint individuals in an interim capacity, potentially avoiding a search process altogether. This shift in policy effectively diminishes the scope and opportunity for meaningful faculty engagement in the crucial task of selecting their campus leaders.  

    Following national presidential searches between 2007 and 2012, which resulted in the appointment of four internal candidates to permanent positions - Mike Richards, CSN; Neal Smatresk, UNLV; Marc Johnson, UNR; and  Bart Patterson, NSC - Regents initiated a discussion about the necessity of investing substantial time and resources on a search if the ideal candidate might already be at the institution. Consequently, they directed staff to research “best practices” governing presidential vacancies, which resulted in a presentation at a special meeting in October 2012. Ironically, during this presentation, the Board’s Chief of Staff reported that despite researching the Association of Governing Boards’ (AGB) publication “Presidential Searches” and contacting the  association directly, “such a model was not available.” The meeting minutes reveal a discussion that sometimes veered into the absurd. For example, while acknowledging that university provosts were the most likely individuals to ascend to a  presidential appointment, the Regents seriously discussed raising the selection standards for provosts as an answer to lowering the standards for selecting presidents.

    Nevertheless, the Board crafted a policy proposal that was presented for discussion at an April 2013 special meeting. It defined the role of an “Officer in Charge” for the temporary absence or vacancy in the office of president, but also made the requirement for a national search optional. It allowed the Board to appoint an acting president and either initiate a search immediately or appoint an interim president and decide on a search based on the interim president’s performance. Following the April discussion, the finalized policy was adopted as an item on the consent agenda at the June 2013 quarterly meeting.

    Under Board policy, an acting president temporarily holds the office during the process to select a permanent replacement and is not eligible to apply for the permanent position. An acting president is not required to meet the minimum requirements for the permanent position. An interim president, however, can be appointed for a period of one to three years and may submit an application to a subsequent search, assuming their appointment is not terminated by the Board. The Board also has the option, however, to forego a search and unilaterally appoint the interim to the permanent position. 

    Other small, but significant changes were adopted at the March 2018 quarterly meeting. The main objective of that proposal was to align the procedures for selecting a chancellor with those already in place for presidents, but revisions to the presidential process gave the Regents greater latitude to immediately appoint an interim president, and the options to conduct either “a national, regional, in-state or other search for a permanent President” if the Regents ultimately chose to conduct a search.

    Individually each change, as it was being adopted, appeared relatively benign, but the cumulative effect is a system where comprehensive searches to fill the top spots at our institutions may be the rare exception rather than the rule. 

    To be fair, the policy still requires the Board chair and Chancellor to meet with campus constituencies, including faculty and staff leaders, administrators, students, and community stakeholders before making an interim appointment. But it does not define guidelines for the topics to be discussed, the information to be gathered, or the information to be shared. A superficial discussion about the preferred qualities of a new president would suffice. The Board is not required to seek input from constituents about individual candidates or share information about the process. There is no obligation for transparency.

    Searches are imperfect, costly, and time-consuming. And if we’re honest, NSHE’s recent history reveals a less-than-stellar track record when it comes to conducting successful searches. However, searches conducted with integrity can and do attract a diversity of qualified applicants who meet broad-based criteria established by a variety of campus stakeholders. They seek to identify the best possible individual for a job, who may very well be an internal candidate. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it is the minimum standard for hiring tenure-track faculty. Why should the standard be lower for the chief executive officer of the institution?

    The benefits of a well-planned search process are evident, but introducing an interim into the mix dilutes any advantages. To identify just a few:

    • A search conducted while the departing incumbent still holds the position generates the strongest pool of applicants. 
    • An individual selected through a robust search process will always hold more legitimacy in the eyes of their colleagues and constituents than someone who is unilaterally appointed. 
    • Conducting a search for an interim won’t result in a diverse pool because individuals outside the institution will not apply for a position that may be temporary.
    • Allowing an interim to compete in a subsequent search to fill the position permanently will depress the candidate pool since the interim has the inside track.
    • Continually drawing on candidates from within the system runs the risk of developing institutional myopia by denying others from outside the system to bring their varied experiences to the table.
    • Appointing an interim or permanent without a search eliminates the public process that can raise red flags about a candidate prior to appointment.

    There are times when it makes sense to appoint rather than search. For example, when former WNC President Vincent Solis announced his resignation in November 2021, he gave the Board little more than a month to fill the vacancy. The three remaining community college presidents have all announced their departures well in advance giving the Regents more than enough time to organize and conduct comprehensive searches.

    GBC President Helens, CSN President Zaragoza, and TMCC President Hilgersom
    GBC President Joyce Helens, CSN President Federico Zaragoza, and TMCC President Karin Hilgersom

    President Zaragoza announced in June 2023 that he would be leaving at the end of June 2024. A few weeks later, President Helens announced her plans to retire at the end of June 2024. And TMCC President Karin Hilgersom justified her request for a waiver of the periodic evaluation and one-year extension of her contract to the end of June 2025 by announcing to the Board last July that she would retire at the end of the extension.

    On November 30, the Board made an interim appointment for the GBC position and was poised to make one for CSN before pulling the item from agenda. 

    UPDATE, 12/6/23: An article in the Nevada Current reveals that at least one Regent, Laura Perkins, has concerns about the proposal for the interim president at CSN. A faculty leader also says the proposal bucks input gathered in a November campus meeting with the Board Chairman and Interim Chancellor where the consensus was for an acting president and national search.

    While both individuals selected for these appointments have stellar qualifications and broad support from campus stakeholders, they also would have made strong candidates in a search. They will be odds-on-favorites for permanent appointments to the positions without a search. It’s unlikely the faculty, students, staff, or community played any role in crafting minimum qualifications and desired characteristics (if any were even developed), nor did they participate in screening candidates or submitting recommendations. In other words, the process excluded shared governance.

    With 18 months to go before the next known presidential vacancy, there really is no good justification for not planning a national search to replace President Hilgersom. It should begin no later than October 2024. 

    Advocating for, promoting, and protecting shared governance are prime objectives of the Nevada Faculty Alliance. This responsibility touches virtually all aspects of the operation of a system of higher education including participation in the hiring process for campus and system administrators. It is now clear that the existing policy governing vacancies in the offices of president or chancellor violates this well-established tenet. 

    NFA strongly urges the Board of Regents to modify Title 2, Chapter 1, Sections 1.5.5. to require a national search if they become aware of a pending vacancy more than nine months before it occurs. Anything less is a betrayal of the critical partnership between faculty, students, and administrators that is necessary to maintain an effective system of higher education. 

  • 03 Dec 2023 5:48 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    On December 1, the Regents unanimously approved an 11% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for NSHE faculty, matching those for all other state employees. The Nevada Faculty Alliance passionately advocated during the 2023 legislative session for full funding of the COLAs. After the legislature deferred the decision on faculty COLAs to the Board of Regents with “not to exceed” language in SB522, we worked with NSHE and the regents toward full funding. That effort paid off with their approval of a 12% COLA for FY2024 and now 11% for FY2025, delayed to 10/1/2024 but applied to base salaries for the future.

    We thank the Regents for recognizing faculty efforts across campus and helping us contribute to student success. However, the unanimous vote was the result of the voices of student leaders, who expressed their appreciation for faculty, and their willingness to increase their own fees. We are humbled and honored by their support. We also thank the 130+ members of the NSHE community who submitted written public comments and 35+ who gave oral public comments in support of the full 11%, as well as the faculty senates of the colleges and universities who unequivocally supported it. Finally, we thank our classified colleagues for their support–at a time when they are doing more with less. These shows of unity ultimately persuaded the presidents of CSN, GBC, NSU, TMCC, UNLV, UNR, and WNC to support the 11% option. 

    Unfortunately, the COLA increase does not address many of the cuts coming our way. Since the State of Nevada is only funding 65% of COLAs for professional and classified staff, the rest will come from delaying the faculty COLA by three months, suspending faculty merit raises for FY2025, increasing student registration fees by 5%, eliminating positions and keeping vacant positions open, and other budget cuts and transfers. CSN and UNR are projecting the most position eliminations, 20 and 108, respectively, with UNR accounting for roughly 75% of the proposed position cuts across the whole system.

    Despite narratives that faculty COLAs are responsible for student fee increases, the COLAs for professional and classified staff are not the main reason for budget challenges. Major shortfalls at some institutions are due to declining enrollments, new executive positions and raises for executive staff, and diversions of resources from core academic programs to priorities such as athletics and capital projects. Stay tuned for more details from the NFA about budget issues.

    The NFA’s immediate focus is to shift budget priorities back toward our core academic mission for the benefit of students and to prevent or rescind cuts to faculty and staff positions. Advocacy with the NSHE Committee on Higher Education Funding is essential for a new formula mechanism that fully funds higher education and fairly apportions state and student funding. Then faculty, students, presidents, the chancellor, and Regents need to form a united front at the 2025 legislature to implement and fully fund the new formula. We will also be organizing through collective bargaining as a tool for working with management to advance NFA’s mission to empower faculty to be fully engaged in our mission to help students succeed.

    For further information, here are some NFA posts that were recognized by Regents as influential:

    Related Coverage:

  • 01 Dec 2023 2:28 PM | Jim New (Administrator)

    Confirming previous reporting by NFA, an analysis of student fees and tuition at public higher education institutions in the Western United States illustrates that NSHE Institutions are among the most affordable. In considering the FY25 COLA proposal, members of the Board of Regents asked NFA officers for comparison of fees.

    The task was challenging because different agencies use various methodologies for calculating student costs. Ultimately, we chose to compile the data from IPEDS to ensure accuracy and consistency. Here are some of the conclusions we can draw from this data. 

    Fees and tuition at Nevada's universities fall within the lower one-third among similar institutions. They are 15% lower, or about $1,500 less per year than the average for all tier 1 universities in the region.

    Nevada State College/University is the second lowest among its peers in regional four-year institutions. Its fees are 29% lower, or about $2,500 less than the average of comparable institutions in the region.

    Nevada's community colleges are equally affordable. All four institutions fall within the lower third of their peer group. On average, it is about $480 cheaper per year to attend a Nevada community college than the average two-year institution in the region, not counting California community colleges where government funding enables atypically low tuition.

  • 17 Nov 2023 9:31 AM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    2023 NSHE Employment and Salary Report

    The NFA annually obtains public employee data for NSHE faculty and classified staff through public records requests.  New employment and salary data as of November 2023 are compared here with the prior year.

    Previous NFA news items discuss the Compensation Gap between Administrators and rank-and-file faculty at NSHE.  This past year continued the trend of higher raises for executives.


    • Systemwide, the number of academic faculty increased by 52 to 3169 (1.7%), the number of administrative faculty increased by 282 to 3963 (10.1%), and the number of classified staff increased by 365 to 2901 (14.3%). These represent filled positions as of 10/31/2023 versus 10/31/2022.
    • Continuing employees benefited from the 12% COLA as of 7/1/2023. Academic and administrative faculty were also eligible for a merit raise on 7/1/2023 from the internally funded 1% performance pay pool. Classified staff are eligible for up to nine annual 3%-5% step increases within a compensation grade.
    • For continuing employees with no change in position title, the average individual salary increase (including merit, COLAs, and ad hoc adjustments) between 10/31/2022 and 10/31/2023 was 13.7% for academic faculty, 14.3% for administrative faculty, and 15.5% for classified staff. 
    • For continuing employees with a change in position (e.g., promotion in rank, job change, or new title), the average individual salary increase was 20.4% for academic faculty, 30.3% for administrative faculty, and 25.5% for classified staff.  These percentages include individuals who switched to a different employee category.
    • The number of executives (Executive and Administrative Faculty Range E) employed rose from 294 to 307, a 4.4% increase. UNLV added five executives and UNR added eleven, representing net new positions and filled vacancies.  
    • New or changed executive position titles include, for example, “Special Assistant to the Vice President of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement,” “Senior Vice Provost, University Projects and Strategic Initiatives,“ and “Vice President, Legal Affairs and General Counsel” (changed from “General Counsel” with a salary boost).
    • Despite the recommendation in June 2023 by former Interim Chancellor Erquiaga that Executives voluntarily forgo the 12% COLA, none did.  Individual salary increases for 50 continuing NSHE, University, and Community College Executives ranged from $20,500 to $108,000. The total cost was $1.9 million.

    Source: NSHE Public Records Requests.  Analysis by NFA 11/2023

  • 23 Oct 2023 2:53 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    Student Fees and Tuition at NSHE

    Where are they and where are they going?

    The NSHE Chancellor’s Committee To Recommend Board Action On FY 2025 Salary Increases is reportedly considering student fee increases to cover a portion of budget shortfalls for the 2024-2025 year. To put any such proposals into context, here we compare student fees and tuition at NSHE with other public state institutions.  We also discuss where fees are headed under the NSHE Predictable Pricing Program, which was established in 2019 and indexes student registration fees to the Higher Education Price Index.

    There are various ways to measure and compare student fees and tuition among states. The National Center for Education Statistics compiles averages for the 50 states.  The chart below shows average in-state undergraduate tuition and required fees for full-time students for public four-year institutions for 2020-2021 (the most recent available data). The cost for Nevada’s students ranks third-lowest among the fifty states and the District of Columbia and only above Wyoming among western states. NSHE offers incredible value for students—average tuition and fees are $6434/year31% below the national average of $9375/year.  

    A graph of a number of states Description automatically generated

    Another measure is the net revenue from tuition and fees, which subtracts state-level financial aid and grants from the gross tuition and fee revenue, compiled by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO). The chart below shows 2021-2022 state averages (adjusted for the mix of 2-year and 4-year institutions) per FTE.  The state rankings are scrambled after state financial aid is taken into account, but Nevada also ranks third-lowest in net revenue from students, at $2,793 compared with the national average of $7,244.  Not only are our tuition and fees relatively low in the first place, but Nevada is quite generous with our state financial aid programs including the Guinn Millennium Scholarships, Silver State Opportunity Grants, and Nevada Promise Scholarships. 

    A graph of a number of people Description automatically generated with medium confidence

    Does Nevada’s low student costs arise from high state funding of higher education? Not so much!  The SHEEO chart below shows state funding per FTE for FY2022 including both direct appropriations and student financial aid. At $8,022, Nevada's higher education appropriations per FTE including financial aid are 22% below the national average of $10,237 and ranks 34th.

    A graph of a graph showing the number of students Description automatically generated with medium confidence

    In 2019, the Board of Regents established the Predictable Pricing Program (PPP), which indexes future registration fees and tuition to the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) published by the CommonFund. The NFA chart and table below compare the annual percentage changes in UNR/UNLV registration fees (the percentages are nearly identical for all institutions and for lower- and upper-level and graduate courses) with HEPI and the Consumer Price Index (Urban/West) from 2013 to present, along with future increases under the PPP.  Under predictable pricing, registration fee increases are set for four years ahead based on the most recent HEPI year. Since the HEPI numbers come out with about a 9-month delay after a fiscal year, that results in a five-year lag in adjusting for current inflation. So students won’t start paying for the high inflation of the past two years until 2026-2028. In fact, the annual percentage increases in student fees went down in 2021-2024 just as inflation spiked to historically high levels.  After inflation, per-credit registration fees have lost purchasing power by 8.5% just from FY2021 to FY2024. Since student fees have to cover about 35% of the NSHE instructional budgets, the ability of the institutions to provide services and pay its staff is diminished as costs go up rapidly. 


    Annual Change

    Fiscal Year

    Higher Education Price Index*

    Consumer Price Index (Urban West)

    NSHE Student Registration Fees**





























































    *FY2023 HEPI August Forecast. **UNR/UNLV Undergrad.  Predictable Pricing Program established 2019.

    Analysis by the Nevada Faculty Alliance 10/2023.

  • 23 Oct 2023 2:37 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    NSHE Faculty Salaries

    Where they've been and where they're going

    The history since 2008 of NSHE faculty cost-of-living and other salary adjustments—including furloughs, salary reductions, average merit, and retirement contribution changes—is shown in the chart below. Even if the Board of Regents approves the full 11% COLA for FY2025 (pink hatched bar), take-home pay will only return to FY2015 levels in constant dollars and will reach only 89% of the salaries in FY2009.

    This chart includes average merit raises (performance pay) but applies to faculty members who have not received a promotion or ad hoc raise.

    Based on the 2022-2023 AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey, academic faculty salaries at UNLV and UNR were 16% below the average for faculty at doctoral universities nationwide and 23% below the average for public R1 research universities in the Western states.  Although the 12% COLA for 7/1/2023 approved by the Board of Regents will partially close that gap, other states have also implemented COLAs in the past year so it remains to be seen how much more we still need just to catch up to average.

    (The AAUP survey has very limited data for community colleges.  The only other NSHE institution that participated in the survey besides UNLV and UNR was CSN, and there are few valid comparison colleges.)

  • 18 Oct 2023 4:10 PM | Jim New (Administrator)
    Title IX graphic

    On Friday, October 20, the Nevada Board of Regents will hold a special "workshop." The agenda includes an item with the innocuous sounding title Principles and Best Practices of Highly Effective Governing Boards. While one cannot disagree that a highly effective governing board is highly desirable, the characteristics that constitute a highly effective board are, well, highly debatable. That is certainly the case for the discussion about to occur in the Regents' "workshop."

    Dr. Jenna A. Robinson is the presenter. One would assume that Dr. Robinson has extensive experience as a member of an academic governing board. While her credentials include some work on governing boards, the bulk of her career has been as an operative, and currently the president, of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

    When you visit their website, the organization's philosophies will quickly become apparent. Originally organized as the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy as a project of the John Locke Foundation, the goal of the organization has always been to restrict faculty rights and academic freedom with the aim of stifling voices that do not agree with their ideological ideals. They claim to seek balance, but the evidence runs counter to their claims.

    Undoubtedly, the Martin Center played a role in drafting the draconian policies and legislation adopted in multiple states, including Florida, Texas, and North Carolina. They champion policies that inhibit vigorous debate and the free exchange of ideas, imposing restrictions on faculty and the content they are allowed to explore in their courses. They oppose many of the bedrock principles of the American system of higher education, such as tenure and shared governance.

    These policies have also led to an exodus of faculty in states where they have been enacted. Over one-third of the faculty surveyed in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia indicated that they were actively pursuing positions in other states. Many new faculty hired at NSHE institutions in the last year came from these states. Similarly, students are opting to leave colleges and universities where these policies have dramatically impacted the curriculum.

    Nevertheless, the Nevada Board of Regents under Chairman Byron Brooks has solicited the president of this organization to give the Board advice on how they can be more effective. Despite assurances from Chairman Brooks to faculty senate chairs that Dr. Robinson's presentation has been vetted with no “slides pertaining to political ideology or anti-faculty chaos,” the act of providing her a platform implicitly validates the work of her organization.

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance sent a letter to members of the Board of Regents and the interim Chancellor strenuously objecting to the presentation by Dr. Robinson. We urged them to postpone the workshop until a more suitable candidate from an ideologically neutral organization can be found. We also sent messages to each campus president to encourage them to lend their voices to our opposition.

    It is imperative that we do not let this pass unchallenged. It's the proverbial camel's nose under the tent. Before long, the entire beast will occupy the space, spying on our curriculum between the pages of our textbooks and regulating our instruction. We urge all faculty members to contact members of the Board of Regents and register your opinion about this "workshop." Better yet, please join us for the Public Comment portion of the workshop around noon, Friday, October 20.

  • 13 Oct 2023 6:35 AM | Jim New (Administrator)
    Decorative image

    It is a fundamental truth that you can identify an organization’s priorities by looking at its budget. When an organization pays its employees less than what they could earn elsewhere, but still plows resources that could go to compensation into other projects, like a new building or executive perks, it’s not hard to tell where the prosperity and welfare of its workforce falls on that organization’s priority list. Where the faculty rank in NSHE’s priorities will be coming into sharper focus as the Board of Regents awaits a recommendation from its newly formed Committee to Recommend Board Action on FY 2025 Salary Increases. An update from the committee is expected at the October 20 special meeting of the Board.

    Already there is a divide. We applaud the campus presidents who have recently declared their support publicly for the full 11% COLA, matching our Classified coworkers and all other state employees. We encourage the other presidents to follow their lead, but there appears to be more organized resistance now than there was in June 2023 when hundreds of academic and administrative faculty made their voices heard, convincing the Board of Regents to approve the full 12% COLA for FY 2024.

    Ironically, the greatest resistance is coming from the institutions that saw the greatest growth in their state-allocated funding from the 2023 Nevada Legislature.

    State appropriated funds for NSHE formula-funded instructional budgets
    Institution *FY2022 *FY2023 **FY2024 **FY2025 Change for biennium
    UNLV $180,367,661 $188,138,610 $209,161,530 $212,055,165 $52,710,424 14.30%
    UNR $128,307,698 $129,888,921 $141,600,407 $143,604,596 $27,008,384 10.50%
    NSC $25,581,096 $25,815,872 $31,014,568 $31,103,180 $10,720,780 20.90%
    CSN $100,013,941 $103,622,123 $103,093,245 $103,540,400 $2,986,581 1.50%
    GBC $14,130,910 $14,872,388 $14,649,803 $14,718,803 $365,308 1.30%
    TMCC 34,327,835 $35,579,629 $35,544,817 $35,698,145 $1,335,498 1.90%
    WNC $14,332,707 $14,483,533 $15,766,811 $15,822,790 $2,773,331 9.60%
    TOTAL $490,061,848 $512,412,076 $550,831,181 $556,543,047 $97,900,304 9.70%
    General fund appropriations only, before COLAs for FY2024 & FY2025. Excludes student fees and tuition.
    Excludes professional schools and non-formula budgets.
    *FY2022 & FY2023 amounts include state-allocated ARPA funds for positions.
    **FY2024 & FY2025 from SB511 plus enrollment recovery funds and WSCH formula adjustments in AB491 and AB494.

    It makes one wonder why institutions that saw double-digit growth in their state-allocated funding would be so resistant to applying some of that money to COLA and ensuring that their compensation doesn’t fall further behind the national average for salaries in the market where they compete for talent.

    Their arguments against the full 11% adjustments for next year would be easier to swallow if there hadn’t been a growing disparity between salaries at the top versus the rank and file. In The Compensation Gap pt. 1, we described the widening gap between salary schedules for administrators and executives when compared to the schedules for faculty. As we acknowledged there, changes to the salary schedules don’t affect the vast majority of incumbent employees, only those whose salaries fall below the adjusted minimum in the schedule. Otherwise, the beneficiaries are newly hired employees. But as time moves on and natural turnover occurs, the gaps between salary schedules that were widened in 2023 will result in significant disparities by 2028 and beyond.

    Recent history, however, shows that compensation growth for incumbent rank and file academic faculty has lagged all other employee classifications, and in the case of executives and senior administrators, it has lagged significantly.

    NSHE Employee Class Average Salary
    Increase, 11/2021
    to 11/2022
    Academic 3.9%
    Classified 6.3%
    Administrative A-D 7.9%
    Administrative E 8.7%
    Executives 14.8%
    OVERALL 6.0%
    Average percentage change of individual salaries for
    incumbent NSHE employees by employee class from
    November 2021 to November 2022. A 1% COLA was awarded
    on 7/1/2022. The salary schedule change on 7/1/2022
    affected only incumbents below the new schedule minimums.
    Promotions or ad hoc raises account for additional increases.
    Compiled from public records by NFA, 10/2023.

    Some growth across all classes during the period reflected in the table above can be attributed to a 1% COLA adjustment. Classified staff received annual steps for the first ten years in their grade; for faculty, there was a 1% merit pool distribution. All other growth occurred where incumbent employees were either promoted, or remained in their positions but received an ad hoc raise. An ad hoc raise can occur for one of several reasons. For example, an individual may absorb additional responsibilities due to campus vacancies, another may be equity adjustments. Some may be for individuals who simply found favor from their supervisors. Nonetheless, in the depths of the pandemic-fueled budget crisis, institutions still found adequate funding to provide substantial ad hoc raises.

    NSHE Ad Hoc Salary Adjustments*
    Institution FY2022 FY2023
    CSN $593,784 $282,769
    DRI $125,812 $331,999
    GBC $68,259
    NSU $215,464 $381,417
    NSHE Admin $67,036 $150,105
    TMCC $92,364 $153,478
    UNLV $1,136,924 $1,918,347
    UNR $1,939,987 $2,056,406
    WNC $102,394 $10,613
    TOTAL $4,273,765 $5,353,393
    *Base salary adjustments and equity adjustments
    for positions with no change in business title.
    Excludes cost-of-living adjustments and merit
    raises. Includes equity adjustments per collective
    bargaining agreements.
    Analysis by NFA, 10/2023

    While some faculty were the beneficiaries of these ad hoc salary adjustments, the vast majority of recipients were senior administrators and executives. Some ad hoc raises were modest. Some were eye-popping. The table below lists the ten largest individual ad hoc raises at NSHE institutions during each of the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years. One executive's raise at a university is larger than the total of the three largest raises given to faculty in the same year.

    Highest NSHE Discretionary Raises (FY2022 and FY2023)
    Institution Type Position Employee Class Old Salary New Salary Raise Percent Raise
    Universities Interim Vice Dean/Chair Sr. Admin $248,980 $400.000 $151,020 60.7%
    NSHE Admin. Associate Vice Chancellor Executive $136,514 $208,942 $72,428 53.1%
    Universities Vice President Executive $198,175 $260,000 $61,825 31.2%
    NSHE Admin. Chief General Counsel Executive $189,000 $242,938 $53,938 28.5%
    Universities Senior Vice President Executive $310,738 $355,000 $44,262 14.2%
    Universities Associate Dean Sr. Admin $200,000 $240,000 $40,000 20.0%
    Universities Lecturer Faculty $73,772 $113,476 $39,704 53.8%
    Universities Professor Faculty $194,185 $233,982 $39,797 20.5%
    Universities Professor Faculty $131,404 $170,000 $38,596 29.4%
    Universities Vice President Executive $193,659 $229,500 $35,841 18.5%
    Universities Executive Vice President/Provost Executive $276,000 $378,750 $102,750 37.2%
    Universities Assistant Professor Faculty $324,800 $382,012 $57,212 17.6%
    Universities Vice President Executive $244,007 $299,500 $55,493 22.7%
    Universities Dean Sr. Admin $220,000 $270,000 $50,000 22.7%
    NSHE Admin. Chief General Counsel Executive $216,300 $255,234 $38,934 18.0%
    Community Colleges Controller Sr. Admin $98,492 $130,808 $32,316 32.8%
    Universities Vice Provost Sr. Admin $164,650 $195,000 $30,350 18.4%
    Universities Vice President Executive $226,600 $250,000 $23,400 10.3%
    Community Colleges Interim Executive Director Sr. Admin $104,178 $126,511 $22,333 21.4%
    Universities Deputy Controller Sr. Admin $137,917 $160,000 $22,083 16.0%
    Base salary adjustments and equity adjustments with no change in business title. Excludes clinical and athletics.
    Does not include cost-of-living adjustments or merit raises.
    Source: NSHE Public Records. Compiled by NFA 10/2023.

    A quick scan of this table reveals that Nevada's universities in FY2022 and FY2023 gave out more of the top ad hoc raises to incumbent employees than the other institutions and those raises went primarily to executives and senior administrators.

    It should surprise no one that faculty feel misused when they hear renewed austerity may prevent them from sharing in the largess. We understand that institutions face significant challenges finding the funding in their budgets to pay the full COLA, but we don't believe they are insurmountable.

    In a letter to the Committee to Recommend Board Action on FY 2025 Salary Increases, NFA offers our rationale in support of the full 11% COLA. We also offer several recommendations to help ease the budget impact, such as limiting COLA for the highest paid executives and senior administrators, utilizing reserve accounts until registration fee increases catch up, and mandating that at least 80% of student fee revenue be allocated to the state operating budget in support of employee compensation, just to name a few.

    Despite our best efforts, though, we know the most effective tools we have at our disposal are faculty voices. Last June, hundreds of faculty members, despite the summer break, responded to our call to speak out for the FY 2024 COLA. It is difficult for Regents to ignore when over 60 rank and file faculty members show up at one meeting to make their case in the public comment period. If we fail to turn out similar or better numbers when the FY 2025 COLA is on the Board's agenda, they will likely assume that we are satisfied with our prior pay bump and will be happy with whatever they approve. We must keep the passion on display.

    Between now and that meeting, we encourage all faculty to call, email, or visit the Regent representing your district. Encourage them to approve the full 11% and to consider policy changes that prioritize employee compensation over spending for special projects and unproven initiatives. Most importantly, watch for the COLA proposal on the agenda for an upcoming Board meeting and plan to attend to make a public comment in support of the full amount. Besides the meeting on October 20, a special meeting is scheduled on November 1, and the quarterly meeting will be held November 30/December 1 in Las Vegas. We believe the decision will be made at the quarterly meeting, but we will keep the members notified if anything changes.

    The COLA passed by the 2023 Nevada Legislature, and signed by Governor Lombardo, are legitimately historic. There will not be another opportunity for many years, if not decades, for our salaries to recover from the extended period of stagnation. We cannot afford to let this pass us by. At least, not without a fight.

  • 10 Oct 2023 9:37 AM | Jim New (Administrator)
    Title IX graphic

    Since its adoption in 1972, the landmark legislation known as Title IX has had a profound impact on the American educational system. It has played a pivotal role in leveling the playing field by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, and fostering opportunities for women in academics, sports, employment, and other aspects of education. Earlier this year, Nevada strengthened laws to address sexual misconduct and violence. Nevertheless, the laws regulating workplace discrimination and misconduct are only as good as the organizations administering them. Now, after more than five decades, serious deficiencies in NSHE’s implementation and enforcement of these laws may leave employees and students vulnerable to discrimination and violence, as well as retaliation for reporting misconduct. It also leaves the entire System of Higher Education liable for damages.

    If you experience or witness power-based violence, sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or any other workplace conflict, we urge you to seek immediate guidance through your campus NFA chapter. NFA officers will provide the information you need to protect your rights and assist with conflict resolution. Our goal is to resolve disputes, when possible, before they escalate to costly lawsuits. NFA members have the additional benefit of access to legal defense support, depending on the merits of their case. Please make sure that you carefully document all of your interactions with individuals in positions of authority and keep records in a secure location off campus.

    In December 2022, the State Board of the Nevada Faculty Alliance issued a letter of concern to the administration at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the Nevada Board of Regents calling for immediate changes to the operation of the University’s Title IX Office following multiple reports of mismanagement. Neither UNR nor the Board of Regents responded to that letter.

    Nearly one year later, with only superficial changes made, complaints of sexual abuse and harassment, discrimination, and retaliation have gone unresolved, resulting in multiple lawsuits and individuals seeking financial support from the public to avoid insolvency while pursuing redress. Students have picked up on this as well, covering it in the UNR student paper, launching a petition, and organizing protests. Worse still, instances of similar mismanagement are cropping up at other institutions. In one instance, a complaint filed by faculty members at UNLV went unanswered for seven months, potentially allowing the prohibited activity to continue unchecked. We have seen multiple instances of institutions retaliating against those making complaints by moving to terminate their employment.

    As it appears that instances of misconduct and mishandling of these complaints continue unabated, the NFA State Board has issued a second letter to regents, the interim chancellor, and institution presidents, calling for immediate action.

    NFA Seal

    1983 - CELEBRATING 40 YEARS  - 2023

    In December 2022, the State Board of the Nevada Faculty Alliance wrote a letter to UNR President Brian Sandoval expressing our concerns about the Title IX Office at the university but received no response. Now, multiple highly concerning lawsuits against UNR have come to light, drawing the attention of local media and UNR students alike. Active suits against NSHE institutions allege mishandling of various Title IX violations, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. The media attention further damages NSHE’s reputation and the ability of its institutions to recruit and retain talented faculty.

    In addition to the cases at UNR, we have also been made aware of a case at UNLV that was delayed seven months before any action was taken. The case also alleges retaliation against the faculty member who filed the Title IX complaint. It now appears there is a pattern where NSHE institutions attempt to suppress these cases instead of taking appropriate action to protect all parties. Even worse, we have received reports of faculty being subjected to disciplinary action after filing a complaint.

    The NFA urges Interim Chancellor Charlton and the Board of Regents to hold institutions accountable and correct these serious deficiencies in the operation of Title IX and equal opportunity offices. Our letter last year requested specific actions at UNR reiterated below. It is now apparent that these actions must be adopted across the entire system.

    • Provide reports to the community with essential information on how the Title IX and equal opportunity offices function. The University of Michigan’s report provides an outstanding model to follow.
    • Commission a qualified law firm that specializes in equal rights protections to conduct an audit of the Title IX offices and produce a public report with recommendations for improvement.
    • Establish public policies, in line with federal guidance, for which roles institutional administrators, general counsels, and HR managers can play in Title IX hearings and the functioning of the offices.
    • Make it a priority to fully staff the offices, including a sufficient number of investigators to handle caseloads in a timely manner.
    • Provide guidance on types of cases that should be referred to campus units other than the Title IX office and ensure that those units have the resources to handle the cases.
    • Implement policies that hold institutional administrators and other employees accountable for violating prohibitions on intervening in Title IX and other proceedings. Accountability should include denial of indemnification and immunity in cases of misconduct by administrators.

    The 2023 Nevada Legislature passed, and Governor Lombardo signed, AB245, a bill brought forward by NSHE students to address sexual misconduct issues and to create the Task Force on Power-based Violence at Institutions of Higher Education. The previous NSHE Task Force on Sexual Misconduct failed to take significant proactive measures to improve the function of campus Title IX offices. We cannot afford for this new task force to repeat the same mistakes.

    The State Board of the Nevada Faculty Alliance
    Jim New, President and TMCC Chapter President
    Shantal Marshall, Vice President
    Cheryl Cardoza, Treasurer
    Kent Ervin, Past President
    Ted Chodock, CSN Chapter President
    Pete Martini, NSU Chapter President
    Doug Unger, UNLV Chapter President
    Todd Ruecker, UNR Chapter President
    Heather Reardon, WNC Chapter President

    Recent lawsuits describe institutions with broken systems which allow interference that influences an outcome to the detriment of the complainant. Such actions not only enable prohibited behavior, they also dissuade vulnerable individuals from seeking lawful protections. Failing to adequately act on matters of discrimination and workplace misconduct emboldens those who cause harm to others. NFA officers consider it their duty to monitor and disclose failures of institutions to act on legitimate complaints.

    It is essential for the Board to immediately review how NSHE code applies to campus administrators, especially executive officers, and establish rigorous checks and balances to prevent misconduct. Strict sanctions should also be established and applied to individuals who engage in misconduct or interference during the investigation of a complaint, including loss of retreat rights, denial of indemnification for costs, and termination for cause.

    Unfortunately, NSHE leadership has exhibited an appalling level of indifference for our prior attempts to address this matter. We hope that will change. Until it does, however, we feel obligated to advise our colleagues to bypass the Title IX process at their institutions, and report misconduct directly to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

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