Peers and paychecks: Sullivan greets faculty with merit pay idea

In her first major public faculty meeting since her emotion-packed summertime reinstatement, University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan joked, extolled the importance of honor in daily life, and told members of the faculty that in addition to the three percent bonus they'll get from the state this December, the best ones– as judged by their peers– may see some merit pay in their future.

"The prospect of review by one's peers can be powerfully motivating," Sullivan told the mostly full Abbott Auditorium at the Darden School at the Tuesday night meeting of the Faculty Senate.

The August 28 event included two standing ovations for the president who found herself pushed out of the presidency shortly after students scattered for the summer– until a groundswell of alumni, faculty, and student support led to her unanimous reinstatement on June 26.

Faculty Senate chair George Cohen brought a plush blue elephant doll to the podium to symbolize "the elephant in the room," and Sullivan touched on the crisis only briefly, thanking the faculty for their support and urging them to embrace innovations in university governance and even in its hallowed halls.

"We need to revamp the liberal arts curriculum," Sullivan told the faculty. "And it's appropriate for the faculty– not the legislators."

She urged more multi-disciplinary study, more research, and more creative approaches– like "the flip class," a type of teaching she calls "harder but more engaging" because it requires the production of digital lectures and other course materials to save precious class time for debate and discussions.

"Faculty," said Sullivan, "will drive these conversations and lead these experiments."

This story is a part of the President Sullivan retakes the reins special.
Read more on: Teresa Sullivan


deleted due to insult directed at rector

Dear President Sullivan: Please investigate your human resources organization, conducted by outside professionals and include a best practices study to compare to other top university HR structures. You will see that your HR organization lacks the capability and structure UVA's peer HR organizations -- and any capable HR organization, possess. Regarding compensation, it has no compensation staff -- and even worse, has no compensation management with education and experience to support faculty and staff policy, compliance and salary operations which are so critical at this juncture. You had such a person at a Director and that person was non-renewed by unethical means though that person's work was exemplary.That person's role is now being advertised at a compensation specialist level, and will report three levels below the VP. This was reported to Michael Strine and no action was taken. PLEASE take action on this now -- you and the faculty and staff deserve better.

Merit pay based on a review by your peers .... I don't see how successful that could be because it would be driven by emotion and personality.

Additional comments are not permissible on Hoo d'etat: Top UVA alums demand BOV answers and I have an update for my post dated 8/17/12. My post spoke to a particular UVA staff member holding THREE jobs (and I'm sure there MUST be others).

This is my reply.
@ Cville Eye August 17th, 2012 | 10:06pm “What employees are these? Are their spouses’ unemployed? Are they paying off college loans?
8/29/12 Update:
The RN that shared this situation with me indicates, that this staff member is excellent at her job and can't seem to get a desired upgrade BECAUSE her supervisor doesn't want to lose her. This particular staff member has given up her THIRD job, to spend more quality time with her children who are under the ages of ten. No college loan, no spouse in the home, and refuses to seek help from the state.
When a UVA supervisor has a staff member who is OBVIOUSLY talented and could benefit with a pay grade upward, they have an OBLIGATION to assist that staff member. I can understand wanting the unit to flow smoothly, like a well-oiled machine, but to “look the other way”, when someone needs a hand up, is unacceptable.
Just thinking……would it be possible for HR to create and develop a program that would encourage supervisors to promote from within?

Enough is enough. Get rid of Dragas before she insights a riot among faculty at uva...

In answer to UVA Invisible . . . All of this talk about the faculty will do nothing for the staff at UVA. Many staff work under terrible supervisors who overload them with work, make unreasonable demands and stand in the way of good talented staff members from moving upwards. All you need to do is read the staff survey down about a year ago and read the comments. Many staff members identified bad supervisors by name in these comments, all are redacted, and specifics of how they have been treated.
Yes, the faculty are important to UVA, as are the students and alumni, but without many hardworking staff members who have seen their take home pay go down in the past two years don't get close to 50% of George Cohen's salary (196,000 per the Richmond times dispatch). And many of these staff members are UVA alums and many have masters degrees or more! I'm glad Sullivan and the faculty will work together to make UVA better, let's just hope they realize that staff need to be involved as well, and it this should be a place at the table, not making copies or ordering refreshments!

@Tired Out August 30th, 2012 | 6:44am “
“In answer to UVA Invisible . . . All of this talk about the faculty will do nothing for the staff at UVA.”

Tired Out, I’ve never said or indicated in ANY of my postings that “the faculty will do nothing for the staff at UVA,” Did I misread your posting?

Actually, during my long tenure at the University, many faculty members have stepped in to help staff members AND senior STAFF members stepped in as well. Maybe these were isolated cases but there were situations that faculty members did step up.

I DO agree 100% with the rest of your posting and I dare say, that if ALL STAFF MEMBERS (excluding faculty members) decided, as a group “project” to stay at home one day, University of Virginia would come to an immediate stand still and there would be unbelievable pandemonium and chaos within our serpent walls. Of course, THAT should never happen because, we too, are PROFESSIONALS at what we do.

I agree with you! The BOV needs to reflect the entire Charlottesville/Albemarle community; it IS a public university and we need to be represented.

This make up has a nice ring to it: a student, a faculty member, a staff member, alumni AND a member of the community. If the Governor wants to throw in a few high dollar appointments, so be it BUT on the condition that THAT “donation” go directly into the “coffee and donut” pot at UVA. Hmmmm...just kidding....I think!