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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

March 13, 2009

Tuition grants return to three-credit limit in FY10

by Erin Rosacker

President Gregory Geoffroy's budget cabinet agreed to bring an estimated 68 professional and scientific employee salaries up to the minimum salaries in their pay grades. Executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman made the announcement March 5 at the Professional and Scientific Council meeting. The estimated cost is $40,000. Follow-up discussion about funding the salary adjustments is ongoing.

The adjustments were one recommendation from an external study of ISU's compensation structure for P&S employees. Implementation of the new compensation structure is scheduled for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Human resource services staff are working on communications to notify supervisors and employees impacted by the change.

Hoffman also announced that the Faculty Senate's sponsored funding policy was revised to address concerns voiced by the P&S Council and subsequently approved. She said the policy does not cover work done by the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and other federal laboratories, which have prevailing policies.

"It was really important for the protection of our graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty that we had a well-crafted policy, particularly about delay of publication and the ability to do classified research, and the protection of vulnerable people in work that could not be published," Hoffman said.

Brenda Behling, assistant to the executive vice president and provost, said three policies approved by the council now are available in the policy library. They include:

  • P&S performance management, effective July 1
  • P&S summary dismissal, effective July 1
  • P&S dismissal for reorganization or financial conditions, updated March 4

Tuition grant reduction

Associate vice president for human resource services Carla Espinoza announced that employee tuition reimbursements will be reduced from four to three credits for FY10. She said the decision was made quickly so participants could plan academically and financially.

"If we were going to make a reduction, we had to do that this week," Espinoza said.

She said the cut would save approximately $57,000 on the applications they've received (so far) for the upcoming summer and fall semesters. Last fall's reimbursements totaled more than $190,000, and more than $809,000 has been spent over the last two years.

Dan Woodin, chair of the council's professional development committee, expressed "extreme disappointment" that his group was not given the opportunity to weigh in on the decision or work on alternative methods to cut costs.

P&S survey summary

Results from the P&S Council's budget survey are available online. Council member Kevin Kane, who administered the survey, said the response rate was 63.7 percent and 371 employees submitted responses in the open-ended comment section.

Virgil Schmitt, co-chair of the compensation and benefits committee, said he believes the results showed P&S staff's top priorities are to:

  • Maintain benefits
  • Maintain positions (by holding positions open or furloughing)

The survey results and the comments were sent to Geoffroy and Hoffman. To maintain confidentiality, Schmitt said the comments are not available online.

Up for an April vote

Three motions are being developed for council members to vote on at next month's meeting, including:

  • This year's salary policy recommendation
  • Endorsement of early retirement incentives for employees 55 years and older
  • A response to a draft policy on funding for communication technology devices and services

Schmitt said his committee's salary policy recommendation is similar to last year's motion, which mirrored the regional consumer price index. He also said the committee wants to include language that would emphasize the top priorities from the budget survey and ensure that pay freezes are not considered.

"If we are looking at the reduction of some FTEs, that means those of us that are left behind probably are going to have more responsibilities," Schmitt said. "That might mean it would be appropriate -- if the funds are available -- for there to be some raises or some reclassifications."


Virgil Schmitt, co-chair of the compensation and benefits committee, said he believes the [survey] results showed P&S staff's top priorities are to:

  • Maintain benefits
  • Maintain positions (by holding positions open or furloughing)