Faculty members discuss compensation in public forum


University faculty and community members met in a public forum in the Newcomb Ballroom Monday to address faculty recruitment, retention and development. The forum was the first in a weeklong series of strategic planning events addressing issues the University will face in the next seven years.

In a University-wide email sent Sunday, University President Teresa Sullivan said the strategic planning process will “help us chart a course for U.Va.’s future as we approach its third century.” Sullivan described the process as a broadly inclusive effort that will involve faculty, staff, students and alumni.

The faculty recruitment committee began as one of seven working groups formed in October as part of the strategic planning effort.

University officials anticipate a significant increase in the need for faculty in the next 10 years, as many established faculty members are expected to retire. Impending faculty retirement brings to light questions of faculty recruitment and how the school should treat its faculty members.

Nursing School Dean Dorrie Fontaine, chair of the faculty recruitment, retention and development working group, cited statistics that show of the 1,000 tenured faculty members at the University, 350 will retire by 2020. The Commerce School and the Nursing School will see fewer retirements, with 10 percent and 25 percent of their faculty retiring, respectively. The College may lose up to 40 percent of its faculty, she said.

Forum attendees discussed the faculty issues the University currently faces. Such issues include effective strategies for attracting new faculty, the possibility of on-Grounds child care and the feasibility of tuition benefits for faculty members’ children.

Strong faculty recruitment and retention is necessary to keep the University among elite-ranked institutions, Law Prof. George Cohen, the chair of the Faculty Senate, said in an email.

“The steering committee is looking to have all the working groups come up with several concrete proposals that can then be discussed and refined and incorporated into the strategic plan,” Cohen said. “The public forums are just one way that people can provide input.”.

Faculty have gone five years without salary raises. In November, Sullivan announced that the University would commit $65 million to raise faculty salaries during the next four years.

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