May 11, 2006

Faculty to Day Hall: 'Thank you very much'

Update:
At its May 10 meeting, the Faculty Senate did not reach a quorum and could not vote on the resolution. The senate meets next in September.

Cornell's Faculty Senate was due to vote yesterday afternoon, May 10, on a resolution to thank the university administration for five years of healthy salary increases. The brief statement from the Financial Policies Committee would acknowledge the university's efforts and recognize the work of former Dean of the Faculty Peter Stein, President Hunter Rawlings, Provost Biddy Martin and Carolyn Ainslie, vice president for planning and budget.

"What it basically is, is saying thank you to the administration," said Dean of the Faculty Charles Walcott. "Because if you look at the numbers, it's fairly substantial what the administration has done for the faculty and, by the way, for the staff. It seemed only courteous to say, 'Thank you very much.'"

In 1990 the senate's Financial Policies Committee passed a resolution calling on the university to make Cornell faculty compensation comparable to those of peer institutions. In 1998 Rawlings acted on a second, similar resolution by implementing the five-year salary improvement plan.

In an e-mail to Walcott, Financial Policies Committee Chair Les Trotter noted that, on average, Cornell faculty salaries have increased 30 percent over the past five years. "The cumulative effect of this program has been striking," Trotter wrote.

At yesterday's meeting Martin was scheduled to present the senate with an update on faculty salaries.

The resolution of gratitude seemed to have a good chance to pass. "I think that's likely to be the case," said Walcott.