Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022

Dear UNT Faculty and Staff,

Yesterday more than 700 of our faculty and staff joined me for a Compensation Town Hall. By now, many of you have heard directly from me and know that this year is another lean budget year, despite our record-breaking growth. Our success as an institution comes from your hard work and dedication, and we are committed to creating more equitable compensation on campus by sharing the benefits of your success as our revenues have grown. Because of the financial challenges we had this year, we won't make as much progress as I hoped, so I want to explain what we can do and our priorities for the next two to three years.

First, in the face of inflation, we know that the lowest compensated staff members have suffered disproportionately. We have raised their compensation to $13.00 per hour and will increase that further as soon as resources are available. We also made modest adjustments to student pay and recognize the need to go further.

While faculty salaries have generally kept pace with the market, staff salaries lag the market and local competition. This has resulted in high staff turnover, and a campus brain drain in many divisions and departments. To address this, we will move all regular faculty and classified staff positions that are currently below 85% of midpoint to 85% of midpoint beginning in their Dec. 1 paycheck. Next year, we anticipate stronger margins, and our financial situation will be greatly improved. So our goal is to move minimum compensation to 90% of midpoint (by Dec. 1, 2023 paychecks). The following year, we should be able to get back to hiring and compensating at competitive market levels. We expect to reward meritorious performance as well as keep up with the market in upcoming years and are working with System HR to refresh market data on a regular schedule in a system-wide compensation plan that will be more equitable.

In addition, every full-time retirement eligible employee will receive a modest lumpsum of $500 in their Nov. 1 paycheck to help with inflation. Part-time employees who are retirement eligible will receive proportional adjustments (i.e. $250 for half-time). In FY 2024, which begins Sept. 1, 2023, every full-time retirement eligible employee will receive the $500 added to their salaries for an increase of about $41 per month.

Your compensation is our single highest priority for the next three years. We will be disciplined and transparent as we execute this plan and will make progress as fast as our resources allow. Our CFO and I expect that our margins will be strong next year and beyond, so we are fully committed to this plan.

I will end by saying once again, you are an incredible team, and you have been the engine of our successes over some difficult years. I wish we could do more for you now, but our finances simply don't support it. If we do better than expected, or if anything changes for the better, we will accelerate our plans. Thanks for all you do.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk