Board of Trustees approve payroll increases for professors, professional staff at GVSU

GVL/Audra Gamble - Provost Gayle Davis sits in at a Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

Audra Gamble

GVL/Audra Gamble – Provost Gayle Davis sits in at a Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

Emily Doran

The Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees approved a proposal to update promotional increments by increasing previous promotional amounts by $1,500 each at its latest meeting Friday, Nov. 4.

Faculty promoted to the rank of associate professor will now receive an increase of $5,000, as opposed to $3,500. Faculty promoted to full professor status will receive an increase of $6,500, instead of $5,000. These new amounts will be issued in addition to regular, merit-based salary increases.

Gayle Davis, GVSU provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs, presented the proposal in an effort to make GVSU’s promotional increments more in keeping with those of other state institutions. The increments, which were officially revised in the GVSU Administrative Manual, had not been updated since 2008.

Kathy Gulembo, GVSU assistant vice president for academic affairs, said it was difficult to estimate the cost these promotional increments would have on the university because it would directly depend on the number of promotions given.

“The number of promotions vary every year,” Gulembo said. “It could be as few as 45, or it could be in the neighborhood of 60.”

In the past, the number of promoted professors per year has ranged from in the 40s to in the 60s, Gulembo said. Based on these numbers, the total yearly impact of the $1,500 promotional increases on GVSU’s finances could range from about $70,000 to $100,000.

“It’s hard (to estimate) because we hire so different every year,” Gulembo said. “We’ve got a lot of faculty who are getting close to retirement, so we’re hiring a few new people. (It) just depends on how many were hired (that) year and finally get to the point that they are eligible for promotion.”

Gulembo said GVSU will draw from its general fund to pay for the updated promotional increments.

“We only have two sources of revenue,” she said. “One is the state appropriation, and the other is student tuition. (All) that money goes into the general fund, and then we decide what the university priorities are.

“(It’s) really been important for us to keep our faculty salaries consistent with other institutions because we want to attract quality faculty.”

The Board of Trustees also changed language pertaining to GVSU’s executive, administrative and professional staff in the Administrative Manual to accommodate the anticipated implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule Thursday, Dec. 1. Due to the ruling of a federal Texas judge Tuesday, Nov. 22, however, the new regulation—which would have increased the salary threshold for overtime pay eligibility from $455 per week to $913 per week—is on hold for now.

Scott Richardson, GVSU vice president for finance and administration, said the overtime rule could have cost GVSU about $100,000 per year had it not been halted, adding that GVSU was fully equipped to accommodate this amount.

“We’re almost halfway through our budget year and we have some unallocated resources, (some) contingency funds, that can be put toward this,” he said. “We’ll certainly be able to do this within the budget we’re planning (for) the coming year.”