An update on compensation

Memo sent to staff on behalf of TWU Chancellor Carine Feyten on October 6, 2016.

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing you today to give you an update on compensation, possibly one of the most personal issues for Texas Woman’s faculty and staff. For some time we have talked about the need to address our approach to compensation so that it better recognizes and rewards everyone’s contributions to our University. I am therefore pleased to let you know that we are beginning the transition to merit-based compensation over the next several months. I believe you will find that this aligns well with the compensation philosophy developed by faculty and staff in 2013.

This approach will provide base pay increases that will be tied to your annual job performance and will be reflected as an adjustment to your base salary—unlike the common one-time lump-sum cash payments in recent years, which did not change your base salary. This is important because it gives you the opportunity to grow both your base salary and retirement benefits on an on-going basis.

One of the reasons why merit-based compensation is common in public higher education is because it provides an opportunity to link salary growth with individual and team-based achievements that support the institution’s strategic priorities. It also helps attract and retain talented faculty and staff—and complies with state requirements.

I understand that a long-held concern at TWU has been that there would be no money set aside for merit pay. I want to assure you that moving forward, we will begin our budgeting process by planning for a “merit pool” for faculty and staff. This pool will be generated from cost savings, careful expense management, new revenue streams and other positive cash flows that we believe will arise from our strategic focus on high-quality, market-demand academic programs and distinctive student opportunities.

This year, Finance and Administration made the merit pool possible by changing some of our budget allocation processes as well as capturing cost savings identified through energy conservation, insurance review, etc. Consequently, we are able to begin the first phase of implementing merit-based compensation by allocating approximately $2 million (2% of the total salary base) for salary increases. B.J. Crain, interim vice president for Finance and Administration, has created a document with more specific implementation details about how the compensation plan will work. Next week, Lewis Benavides will also share with you a schedule of sessions designed to provide staff and supervisors with information and tools to address the upcoming performance evaluations upon which merit pay will be based. Dr. Martin will provide the faculty with information concerning the faculty process.

In an effort to streamline the entire process, we will be aligning the cycle of performance reviews and merit increases with our fiscal year, rather than the calendar year. This will require us to adopt a transition schedule over the next two years, with a target date for full implementation of Sept. 1, 2018.

We have much to be proud of at Texas Woman’s University. We have a historic, distinctive mission. We are growing, too—adding 116 full-time new employees in the past three years (58 FT faculty, 68 FT staff) across all campuses. And, in an increasingly competitive higher education landscape, we aim to be one of the very best places to work and study in America.

Thank you for all that you do, day in and day out, to improve the quality of our programs, the success of our students, and for making us so proud of our campuses. You make a difference!

Best regards,
Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.