President Bob Iuliano provides important updates regarding annual merit increases, wage increases, financial support for the curriculum and strategic plan, and support for faculty and students in the classroom.
February 16, 2022
As a follow up to the February Board meeting, I’m writing to provide important updates regarding annual merit increases, a new $15 per hour minimum wage for benefits-eligible employees, financial support for the curriculum and strategic plan, and support for faculty and students in the classroom.
Annual Merit Increases
Consistent with our prior communications, the budget approved by the Board of Trustees increases 403(b) contributions to 7% effective July 1. The Board has now also approved a 2% increase in the compensation pool available for annual merit increases for faculty (effective at the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year) and administrators (effective at the beginning of the next fiscal year). Support staff likewise will receive compensation adjustments, which are more fully described in the section below.
In addition, the Board affirmed the College’s decision to hold health insurance premiums level for this calendar year.
New $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage for Benefits-Eligible Employees
At our town hall in late January, I spoke of actions the College is taking in the near term to secure our financial footing, including by offering a Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) for eligible faculty and administrators. While it was not feasible to extend the VSIP to members of our support staff, given the challenging environment we’re navigating to fill vacant hourly positions, I assured the community that the College would instead explore avenues that incentivize our hourly staff to stay at and come to Gettysburg.
I am pleased to share that beginning March 11, the College will increase its starting minimum wage for benefits-eligible employees to $15.00 per hour. This comes on the heels of a previous increase from $11.00 per hour to $13.00 per hour in mid-November.
As we increase our starting minimum wage for hourly employees who work 20 hours per week or more, we will also adjust wages and corresponding benefits for existing benefits-eligible employees across the community to account for wage compression. Adjustments will be allocated progressively (with the lowest-paying jobs receiving the largest increases in pay); however, these adjustments for compression will ensure all benefits-eligible support staff will have received at a minimum a 2% increase in FY 2022.
We are also making changes to how support staff carry over their sick and vacation leave to benefit our longer-serving support staff colleagues. Human Resources will follow up with more details about these changes in the near future.
Curriculum and Strategic Plan Investments
This past weekend, the Board of Trustees was given an overview of the proposed curriculum. While fully recognizing that the shape and content of the curriculum is the exclusive province of the Faculty, the Board affirmed the necessity of providing resources to support the work of transitioning to any new curriculum—including stipends for faculty who are creating or revising courses, budgets to support new courses, and funds to sponsor faculty workshops, among other things.
The Board also expressed its strong enthusiasm for the strategic plan. While the plan remains in draft form as the College receives input from stakeholders across the campus and beyond, the Board again affirmed the necessity of providing appropriate resources to bring the final plan to life. In general, the Board does not expect the operating budget to support new, initial investments in priorities such as those articulated in the strategic plan or curricular review, but will rather look to other College resources and philanthropy.
These commitments are essential to our efforts to lay the groundwork for a bright and prosperous future at Gettysburg College. I am deeply grateful to the Board for its belief in and support of the work we are undertaking together.
Through each of these decisions, the Board underscored a point I have emphasized in connection with our budgetary conversations. The College needs to bring our operating budget into balance, and the work we’ve identified in the town halls moves us in that direction. For important as that work is, the long-term vibrancy of the College will be assured by devoting resources to key priorities, including our people, the new strategic plan, and a contemporary curriculum.
Support for Faculty and Students in the Classroom
Finally, at the last faculty meeting, I noted the consistent concern I have heard about one of the more challenging aspects of the fall semester: the significant additional effort faculty have needed to invest to help students succeed in the classroom, given the impact of COVID on student emotional and academic readiness. It is likely that these concerns will persist beyond the fall. I have asked the JCCTL and the Student Success Center to work together with faculty to determine how the College can best support faculty and students in response to this evolving reality.
I recognize the challenges our current economic climate and this transitional period at the College have posed for our employees. I want to express my deepest thanks to all of you. It is our dedicated employees who—day in and day out—keep us pressing forward in support of our mission. Thank you.