Strategic Planning

Working Group H: Faculty and Staff Quality of Life information sheet

Members: Doris Hall, Denise Hare (co-chair), Theodore Landsman '16, Benjamin Lazier, Linda Matthews '67 (co-chair), Paul Messick '15, Kathryn Oleson, Zachariah Perry, Margaret Scharle, Mary Sullivan, Michelle Valintis

Group H has been considering the following questions as they relate to faculty and staff quality of life at Reed:

  1. How to improve management and performance review (for faculty and staff), including better and more frequent feedback, better mentoring and support at various career stages (junior, mid level), and institutional commitment to teaching and learning resources.
  2. Staff performance review—how could we increase transparency surrounding performance review and merit increases? Would it be possible to bring more standardization to the process of merit increases?
  3. Staff workload issues in connection with expanding physical and faculty size—leading to increased responsibilities without corresponding increase in pay or growth in personnel. Areas of concern include facilities services as well as faculty administrative support (faculty secretaries). Are there other areas of the college where growth has led to support deficiencies?
  4. What are the best ways to recognize excellent performance?
  5. How to increase collegiality and inclusion—within departments, across departments, between faculty and staff. Some concrete suggestions have been offered; we are open to hearing more and developing a plan for broader implementation.
  6. How to relieve tension between curricular needs versus quality of life issues that affect some but not all members of the community—timing of breaks and holidays, for instance. Are there reorganizations that would yield win-win solutions for everyone—such as reorganization of the class schedule to place campus wide meetings during midday and offer more 80-minute class intervals?
  7. Competitiveness of Reed salaries—evidence suggests that faculty salaries are below the median in comparison with peer institutions, and gaps widen with seniority. How do staff salaries compare with the external market? How does this affect faculty and staff quality of life?
  8. Cost of living increases—evidence suggests that recent adjustments are inadequate, particularly for more recent hires in connection with Portland’s housing market. While faculty may be more likely to relocate from another location when accepting an offer from Reed, this concern also applies to staff at least in terms of general cost of living adjustments.
  9. What is the history of the tuition remission benefit? What values does it embody? What does it cost us? Is it sustainable? Are we satisfied with it—why or why not? (Should the group propose any changes to this benefit, it is expected that current employees would be grandfathered in to the existing plan and modifications would affect only new hires.) 
  10. How do staff benefits compare to those of faculty, and those in the external market? Staff parental leave, for instance, is paid only to the extent that the staff member has accumulated vacation and/or sick days, in contrast to faculty who are guaranteed partial pay if they do not work and full pay if they work part-time.
  11. Are we satisfied with the current faculty leave policy as it relates to timing of unpaid personal leaves subsequent to parental or family medical leave?
  12. The Campus Climate survey shows that 66% (n=246) of faculty and staff “felt comfortable taking leave that they were entitled to without fear that it might affect their jobs/careers.” 26% (n=27) of faculty “felt that faculty members who use family-related leave policies are disadvantaged in advancement and tenure.” “53% (n=55) of faculty members believed that perception about using family-related leave policies differ for men and women faculty.” Are we satisfied with these numbers? Are there better ways to articulate the policies we have in place to in order to reduce confusion about eligibility or the exact nature of the benefit? Could we do a better job of replacing faculty/staff when they are entitled to leave, in order to avoid implicit offloads on colleagues? What other factors are at play here?

Our goal is to gauge interest among the issues we have raised as well as to solicit suggestions and feedback in response to the questions we have posed.