A. Question submitted by Professor Xiaofen Keating (curriculum and instruction):
My friend at UTSA [University of Texas at San Antonio] told me that they got service salary increases every year for the last four years while our campus has not given everybody salary increases for three years. Please find out if that’s true that UTSA actually did so. Thanks.
President Powers said he looked into increases at UTSA for the previous few years and acknowledged that faculty, A&P (administrative and professional), and classified staff increases at UT Austin have been more targeted, sometimes focusing on gender equity, salary compression, and on the competitiveness of the faculty salary structure. He further explained that the administration of UT Austin, in consultation with the Faculty Council Executive Committee and the Faculty Advisory Committee on Budgets, had made some allocation decisions that were different from UTSA’s choices. During these very challenging budget times, President Powers said he had been advised by the Faculty Council Executive Committee to forgo raises in favor of adding teaching assistants and increasing the number of course sections to meet student needs. While this constitutes a legitimate balance, he understood that UT Austin’s salary policy, especially on the faculty side, needed attention to withstand the constant attacks from competing institutions. President Powers recalled the work of the President’s Policy Advisory Committee (PPAC) five or six years ago, which was akin to the Commission of 125, in evaluating the University’s challenges. He said the results indicated that UT Austin was behind its peers on faculty salaries, graduate stipends, travel support, research leave, etc. Some funding had been allocated for research leaves and graduate support, but the challenges still remained. He explained that a lot of UT Austin’s competitors have had dramatic tuition increases for a few years in a row, some of them in double digits, which the president said he did not favor for UT Austin.

President Powers further noted that UTSA has a faculty to student ratio of 24:1, whereas UT Austin’s usual ratio was closer to 17:1 and is currently at about 19:1. UT Austin’s choices, according to the president, had been made to maintain a delicate balance between pay increases and other policies serving the educational and research needs of the University.

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