Board of Visitors discusses faculty salary equity adjustments, 2015 MLK Community Celebration

Faculty deans add performance evaluation, determine appropriate changes

Kerry Abrams, vice provost for faculty affairs, announced recent faculty salary equity adjustments during the Board of Visitors Diversity and Inclusion Committee meeting Tuesday afternoon following the University faculty salary task force’s recent findings. The Board members also discussed the 2015 MLK Community Celebration event and the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University.

Marcus Martin, vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, said the faculty task force was appointed in 2012 by University Provost John Simon in response to a spring 2012 report by the American Association of University Professors. The report found the average salaries of female professors to be lower than those of their male colleagues nationally and at the University.

Abrams summarized the task force’s previous findings presented during the September 2014 Board meeting in which they found some female University faculty members made less than their male peers on average.

“Last fall’s report said that on average, women — tenured and tenure track faculty members at the University of Virginia, excluding the School of Medicine — made 2.7 percent less than their male peers,” she said. “There was also no finding of a statistical difference for race or for citizenship, nation of origin [among the faculty]. This is not because there may not be a difference, but because the number of underrepresented minorities was small enough that we could not find a statistical difference.”

Since September, Abrams said she and Simon met with each faculty dean to discuss the results of the faculty salary study and possible short-term solutions. She said the deans have started making salary equity adjustments after adding an additional component to the study measuring faculty performance.

“Each dean took the results and added a performance component the task force did not have access to — performance measures by which they had set faculty salaries in their individual schools,” she said. “[The deans] were able to determine whether they thought that the salaries, once performance had been added into the analysis, were appropriate. And in many cases they decided to make equity adjustments, so we now have a series of adjustments in place.”

In continuation of the study, Abrams said she has been working with U.Va. Charge — a program that studies women in the STEM and social, behavioral and economic sciences fields — to analyze the experience of female faculty and create a better working climate for all faculty. She said she is also working to broaden the scope of the study beyond just tenured and tenure-track faculty outside the Medical School.

The committee also discussed the 2015 MLK Community Celebration, a two-week event held annually in January.

“[The event] is an opportunity for us to work with the community to illustrate our commitment to community partnerships,” Martin said. “We stress our commitment around diversity, equity and inclusion. We have a broad range of community and University representatives who engage in celebration and planning.”

Martin said this year, the celebration’s theme was “Giving Voice” and entailed nearly 25 events including lectures, film screening, panel discussion and performances centered on themes of equality, civility and mutual respect.

Martin also commented on the resolution the Buildings and Grounds Committee passed earlier Tuesday morning which named a University building after an enslaved family.

“I want to thank the Buildings and Grounds Committee this morning that passed resolution to name [Alderman] building six the Gibbons’ House,” he said. “This is a major milestone for the University of Virginia. This is monumental in my opinion … and will go very far with students who live in that building and information that will be in that building for visitors to the University of Virginia.”

Martin also said the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University will seek to continue the recognition of University enslaved laborers. Such efforts will include converting known slave spaces into interpretive education centers, creating memorials, scholarships, and course curriculums on slavery and producing scholarly reports on slavery.

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