This summer, there have been some developments concerning possible – and fairly dramatic – changes to the Community College Salary Schedule.
Last spring Chancellor Klaich formed a system-wide committee to review our salary structure. This review is required by Nevada System of Higher Education code and was delayed a year given our frozen schedules. This panel consists of a representative from every institution in the system; we are represented by Professor Carolyn Collins and John Scarborough of Human Resources. At the end of spring semester, Carolyn presented a report of the committee's task to the College of Southern Nevada Faculty Senate.
In the last few days, I have been in touch with the Faculty Senate Chair Chuck Milne, who tells me that this committee's work has been fast-tracked, and that the regents want a final report by their Sept. 6-7 meeting at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno. He tells me that our current "step" system may soon be replaced by a combination merit/cost-of-living adjustment system, controlled by a college committee.
Carolyn has told me something different, that the September timing is for "agreeing on the percentage increase the salary schedule needs to be raised." A report on this may be ready by September and then sent to the regents at their December meeting. She added that, as to changes in the CC salary structure, there was no intent to have those done in September. She believes that this will probably take longer -- indeed, likely past December if there is to be any change.
So, the process is either moving fast or slightly slower, but big changes are likely in the works.
I wanted to communicate the following points:
• Any move away from the step/range system has the potential to divide the ranks of CSN faculty and demoralize our professional colleagues – who have received no cost-of-living adjustments, or scheduled step raises since 2008-09. In fact, we are continuing with a 5-percent pay reduction, just signed contractually.
• We strongly think all the community colleges should remain on the current step salary schedule.
There is deep concern that any incorporation of merit pay into our existing salary structure will be subjectively manipulated by deans, chairs and/or other administrators to improve their bottom line financially. With the overtly political atmosphere known to exist at CSN, I believe this can and will happen.
NFA board member Scott Huber was blunt about this in a recent conversation I had with him: "It will be a political disaster if we open up the merit in the colleges. Unforeseen things will happen, and it's likely deans will determine 'merit.'"
As for our own faculty senate chair, Milne told me that such changes should not be feared, that they would not negatively affect anyone doing a good, commendable or excellent job; the committee making the decisions would act in good faith and won't be influenced by the administration. Like Huber, I tend to disagree that this process will not be politicized. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Be advised that NFA stands ready to oppose any measures that will so negatively affect our members, and community college faculty generally. There is a meeting at convocation scheduled to discuss these measures, and I suggest you try to be there. I would also urge you to send your concerns in writing to NSHE Chancellor Dan Klaich as well as the individual regents.