President seeking raise pool for most employees earning less than $150K

President Jehuda Reinharz has informed faculty members that he will recommend three important salary and compensation measures to the Board of Trustees, including the creation of a pool for faculty and staff salary increases, reinstitution of the retirement contribution on July 1, and a wage freeze for any Brandeis employee earning more than $150,000 in base compensation.

The president announced his recommendations at the start of the special faculty meeting convened Thursday to discuss the Brandeis 2020 Committee report, which was issued Feb. 22. He applauded the committee's “historic” efforts to balance the university's resources with its commitments. Provost Marty Krauss is reviewing the committee's 18 proposals for restructuring Arts and Sciences and will decide by March 8 what to recommend to the Board of Trustees for review at its meeting on March 24.

"It is important after two difficult years - particularly a year with no increases - that we recognize the hard work of the faculty and staff with the increase in the salary pool. That's a high priority," the president said after the meeting. "It's also critical that those dollars benefit employees who most need them in these economic times. On the retirement contribution, we made a commitment that it would be restored after one year and we are keeping our word."

The size of the salary increase pool has not been determined. If approved as part of the budget, the salary increase pool would be distributed only to faculty earning less than $150,000 in base compensation over the nine-month academic period, and to employees earning less than $150,000 in base compensation over the 12-month calendar year. Those earning more will not be eligible for a salary increase.

Under the Brandeis 2020 plan, an estimated seven full-time faculty and staff positions, and six part-time faculty and staff positions, will be eliminated over time. No jobs will be cut before July 2011. The proposals would save an estimated $1.2 million-$3.8 million annually, according to the report.

Spread across the Academy, most of the savings would be achieved through faculty attrition and a reduction in the number of university-sponsored PhD students. The report also recommends major reorganizations, integrations and reductions in several areas, including the sciences, theater, American studies and literature and cultural offerings. The impact of the proposed reductions on undergraduate programs is minimal, according to the report.

President Reinharz said he believes the trustees will vote to use reserves to fund operating deficits for the next few years until the savings from ongoing budget reduction and revenue generating efforts - including the provost's decision on the Brandeis 2020 proposals - lead to sustained financial stability at Brandeis.

Faculty from potentially suspended or reorganized academic areas - including graduate theater design, the anthropology PhD program and American Studies - said they understood and sympathized with the committee's difficult task, but felt the proposals would have a negative impact on those programs and on Brandeis as a whole and asked the provost to consider alternatives.

Krauss, reflecting on the intellect and passion of the faculty speakers, called the meeting “typically Brandeisian.” She has met with a host of faculty and students from potentially affected departments since the proposals were announced and said she will also consider the comments from the meeting as she weighs her decision this weekend.

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