As some of you may know, the College of Medicine is undergoing a process to review faculty compensation. I asked for this "deep dive" analysis soon after my arrival because I wanted to assure our approach to compensation was reflective of "best practice" among U.S. LCME-accredited colleges of medicine. We are moving to a clear and transparent approach to what needs to become a market-based compensation practice. It is going to be precisely benchmarked as relates to one's rank, training and assignment of responsibility. It must take into account more than just years of service and, of course, it needs to be created in the important context of what our resources allow us to afford.
First, we are looking at how our faculty salaries compare with the relevant academic market, using AAMC faculty compensation data that is updated annually. We are looking at how faculty salaries compare with faculty salaries at other public, medical schools in the Southern part of the United States. This will give us an understanding of how our faculty member's salaries compare with the relevant market.
Secondly, we are looking at salary equity within the College. This involves an analysis of how salaries compare among faculty members with similar specialties, experience, job titles and responsibilities. The elimination of any disparities over time will be our top priority.
Routine salary reviews are commonplace at medical colleges; however, our still relatively new College of Medicine has not undergone this process to any significant extent. That time has come and I want to thank Bill Donelan and Steve Bender for leading this challenging effort.
At this time, it is appropriate to remind everyone that the Florida State University System (SUS) funds its Colleges of Medicine differently than the main university campuses' budgets. Each University which has a College of Medicine receives two budget lines: one for the main university and a separate one for the College of Medicine. Most relevant to this topic, the SUS prohibits moving money between these budgets.
I bring this up at this time as a point of information because some of you may be aware of the results of FAU's recently concluded collective bargaining with its faculty union and how that will impact faculty salaries elsewhere on campus. Because our College's budget is administered separately from the rest of the University, and because our faculty are not included in the bargaining unit represented by the faculty union, any raises given to "in-unit" faculty do not apply to our faculty. Conversely, "in-unit" faculty across the University did not participate in the pay increase provided in December, 2015 to eligible COM faculty.
To my way of thinking, if our faculty are assured they are being paid at a market rate in a transparent, properly benchmarked manner, they will have the peace of mind that they are being managed fairly and equitably. And we are doing this for ALL faculty, not just those who have asked for it.
As you might imagine, making our way through the entirety of the faculty, especially considering the incredible heterogeneity of our group, is tedious and laborious; however, it is important work. We are nearing completion. At this time, I can make you no assurances as to what outcome will occur as relates to individual situations. Please don't misunderstand this, there is no intention to "cut" anyone's salary. I do not anticipate anything of this nature. However, we do intend to use our salary pool for the coming year to correct any disparities before we do anything else, with the goal of eliminating material equity disparities over as short a period of time, and in as few years as possible, given budgetary restraints.
In closing, let me acknowledge that I understand everyone is here because of their dedication to our special mission and opportunity. Yet, compensation is important and our attention to it is one way we can demonstrate our deep respect for you and all you do. You have my assurance the outcome of this initiative will be transparent and fair.
Arthur J. Ross III, M.D., M.B.A.
Interim Dean and Professor