August 2, 2021 – Editor’s note: The following message was sent today via email from the President Taylor EgmySenior Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Veronica Salazar Mendes For all faculty and staff:
March 2020 marked the beginning of a challenging and unprecedented chapter – for UTSA and all of us. Over the past year and a half, I have put a lot of effort into ensuring the Roadrunner experience is for the benefit of all of our students. Your many contributions and concern for the health and safety of the campus community are the cornerstones of our continued success.
Today, we are making a significant investment in our faculty and staff by implementing a comprehensive strategic plan to increase compensation, pending final approval of our budget by the Board of Trustees later this month. Our successful efforts to increase enrollment, combined with the overall positive results of the last 87th legislative session, present us with a unique opportunity to make this investment in our university community.
In total, UTSA will invest more than $14 million in additional compensation throughout fiscal year 2022.
To ensure that meaningful salary increases are offered to as many employees as possible, our compensation strategies are designed to recognize your hard work and the value you bring to our university. These investments have the potential to increase your salary in a number of ways, and they will be done as follows:
We will offer merit increases at the enterprise level of up to 4% in the next fiscal year. As you know, we were unable to provide a merit increase in FY 2021, and the maximum percentages were lower in previous years (2% in FY 2020 and 2018, 1% in FY 2019 and no merit increase in FY 2017). We understand that many of you have taken on additional responsibilities and seen increased workloads over the past year, all while continuing the high-quality services and support that Roadrunners depend on. Raising the maximum merit increase to 4% allows us to reward exceptional faculty and staff for going even further.
Merit increases will take effect on January 1, 2022, and will be reflected in the February 1 payroll. As in previous years, the total increase you receive will depend on your 2020-2021 performance evaluation, and will vary from person to person. Once the total merit increase is completed, each employee will receive a personal letter outlining the overall merit increase. In the coming weeks, People Excellence will distribute information about the performance review process, provide training for supervisors and launch a web page with additional information and frequently asked questions.
Increase in minimum wage rates and wage scales
As part of our ongoing commitment to offer competitive compensation packages, we will be adjusting minimum wage rates for our workforce. These adjustments include a number of techniques to ensure that faculty, staff, and students see a positive impact on their salaries. The strategies below take effect on September 1 and will be reflected in the October 1 payroll:
- Minimum hourly rates for classified employees will increase to $15 per hour. This change aligns our base wages with those offered by many organizations and businesses in the area, including Bexar County, the City of San Antonio, Alamo Colleges, and more. In addition, we will review the pay-related stress that occurs as a result of these adjustments, ensuring that appropriate salary distances are established between job titles. This review will include raising the salaries of some current employees to $17 an hour to relieve pressure in lower salary grades.
- The minimum hourly rate for student employees will be increased to $10 an hour. We are developing a strategy to increase this minimum rate over time, ensuring that our students continue to gain valuable career readiness experience at a competitive price.
- The fixed-term (FTT) faculty minimum salary scales have been created, and the minimum compensation per course has been increased to $3,500. Over the past year, we’ve been able to implement several improvements that recognize the value of those whose primary teaching duties are the FTT faculty approach, including moving to a new title series, curricular promotions and extended contracts. The specific minimum salary rules for each title series and rank within FTT titles were established, based in part on data from the College and University Professional Association and recommendations of the previous Non-Permanent Track Task Force Report. These strategies are just the beginning of our efforts to further support and learn about our distinguished faculty.
Market retention adjustments
Funding will be allocated to market adjustments in certain pre-defined categories of managerial positions to provide additional resources for positions that are considered high turnover, highly skilled, or difficult to hire due to the competitive market environment. These targeted adjustments will strategically address specific areas of opportunity, with the goal of increasing UTSA’s job retention rates and overall market competitiveness. People Excellence will share more information with deans and administrative leadership in the coming months.
Furthermore, the college’s retention strategies will be implemented for basic wage adjustments to address market pressure and salaries for regular faculty/career path based on additional analyzes and tools to assess employee wage competitiveness. College deans are working with university leaders to finalize their specific plans in the coming weeks.
One-time faculty education transition stipends
As previously announced by Provost Espy, faculty will receive a one-time stipend to support transition efforts to augment education face to face this fall. We recognize the innovation and flexibility you have demonstrated over the past year as you have adapted to a variety of course modalities, and deeply appreciate your continued dedication to excellence. Salaries will be paid on October 1.
These deliberate investment strategies demonstrate to our faculty, staff, and students our commitment to attracting and retaining a qualified, diverse workforce that supports UTSA’s vision of strategic growth and innovative excellence. In the coming weeks and months, district leaders and managers will receive instructions on how to operationalize these salary adjustments.
Going forward, we will continue to prioritize our faculty and staff and support future increases in compensation whenever the university can do so responsibly.
I look ahead
Although the pandemic has created many financial challenges for our university and the State of Texas, we will enter the next biennium on a stronger financial footing than we initially anticipated. Our enrollment reached record numbers last year, and the legislative session yielded several positive results, including an increase in the overall public revenue allocation by more than 14 percent, an increase in approved funding and the Texas Scholarship Program, and funding for the Institute for Innovation in the Cybersecurity Industry and the Texas Intercultural Institute.
The university’s finance team has already presented the findings of the legislative session and its impact on the Catalytic Resource Management budget planning process to several academic and administrative units, and will continue to meet with other districts in the coming weeks to discuss this material.
As we prepare to start a new academic year, we are pleased to be in a position to invest significantly in our greatest resource – our faculty and staff – and show our appreciation for all you have done for UTSA.