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In the News

WSU President Elson Floyd announces salary increases – first since 2008

Washington State University’s President Elson S. Floyd announced the important first steps toward restoring WSU’s ability to compete in the national and international market for talent and toward recognizing the contributions of our current faculty and staff.

President Elson S. Floyd, Washington State University

The Washington State Legislature’s reinvestment in higher education this past session provides a multitude of opportunities for Washington State University in teaching, research, and engagement, and we are grateful. One critical area that was not addressed in this biennial budget, however, was faculty and staff salaries.

In the context of one of the most challenging budget environments this state has ever faced, state employee salaries, including faculty and staff salaries at WSU, have been frozen for the past five years. Outside of step increases for civil service employees, faculty and administrative professional staff have gone without any salary adjustment since 2008. To help address this in some way, I authorized, in December 2012, a one-time, 2 percent payment to faculty, as well as to administrative professional and civil service staff.

During that same five-year period – primarily as a result of the elimination of vacant positions and other budget-driven realignments – many faculty and staff have taken on additional responsibilities. Overall, WSU salaries are substantially below our peer institutions across most disciplines and ranks.

The consequences of our compensation challenges are very real. We have had to work hard to pull together the resources necessary to continue to hire and retain the best and brightest. While we have lost some highly qualified and productive faculty and staff to institutions able to pay more, many of our most productive faculty and staff have remained – I thank each of you for your commitment and continued service.

Faculty and staff salaries continue to be the highest priority in ensuring the success of our institution. Even without new dollars specifically designated for that purpose, we must address this critical issue. Consequently, after consultation with Faculty Senate leadership, WSU is committing to self-fund a 4 percent across-the-board increase for faculty and administrative professional staff, as well as increases for faculty meritorious service effective January 1, 2014. In total, this program constitutes a new $11 million-per-year commitment that is absolutely essential to moving forward.

As you may know, civil service salaries are established and managed at the state level. Eligible civil service staff continued to receive automatic salary adjustments during the salary freeze with step increases of 2.5 to 5 percent; more than 700 civil service staff receive step increases each fiscal year. For civil service staff, the biennial budget also included a new longevity step (Step M) effective July 1, 2013. This July, more than 500 civil service staff received the 2.5 percent Step M increase, and more than 200 more will receive the Step M increase during the next fiscal year. The state budget also includes language for a possible 1 percent increase for civil service staff, effective next July.

These are important first steps toward restoring our ability to compete in the national and international market for talent and toward recognizing the contributions of our current faculty and staff.

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