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Sullivan addresses Virginia Senate Finance Committee

University president calls for increase in employee salaries

University President Teresa Sullivan made a trip to Richmond Tuesday to address the Virginia Senate Finance Committee regarding Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s proposed budget.

Sullivan was invited to speak about a two percent salary increase for state employees — including faculty and staff of state colleges and universities — included in the McAuliffe budget.

“Improving compensation is critical to increase the quality of U.Va. and enhance [faculty] recruitment and retention,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan also discussed the topic of salary increases with the House and Senate budget conferences in late February.

Increasing salaries is particularly important now, Sullivan said, as the University will increasingly have to recruit new faculty as current staff ages. Currently, a majority of the tenured faculty is above the age of 55.

“Of course, it is hard to predict with certainty which faculty will retire when, but modeling retirement age at 68, we anticipate 275 faculty to retire over the next six to eight years,” Sullivan said. “We are also looking to expand our faculty by approximately 140 new members to accommodate our continuing enrollment growth.”

Sullivan also stressed the need for a transparent relationship with the state so the University knows what kind of support they can expect going forward. The better this information, she said, the more certainty the University can have in predicting tuition rates and financial aid information, which will help students and families.

Sullivan also touched on the Affordable Care Act and the importance of reducing medical care costs. Sullivan cited the recent hiring of Rick Shannon as the executive vice president for health affairs as one of the University’s methods to make improvements necessary for the community.

“His leadership and experience in patient safety will be critical to improving care and reducing costs in Charlottesville and in all our affiliated facilities,” Sullivan said.