The University of Wyoming’s operating budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year includes investments in UW’s faculty and staff resources, including the first broad-based pay raise for UW employees in three years.
The UW Board of Trustees today (Wednesday) approved the $497.84 million spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, reflecting little change from the current overall budget level but reallocating dollars internally to achieve key objectives in UW’s strategic plan, “Breaking Through: 2017-2022.”
Most significant is a $5.5 million pool for employee salary adjustments, the first such increase at UW since the 2015-16 fiscal year. That amount will increase UW’s salary and benefits budget by about 3 percent, although individual raise percentages will vary from employee to employee. The adjustments are scheduled to take effect Aug. 1 and will be reflected in end-of-month paychecks in August for fiscal-year employees or the beginning of the academic year for academic-year employees.
Under a salary distribution policy adopted previously by the trustees, 60 percent of the salary increase will be based upon job-by-job market comparisons, with 40 percent distributed based upon individual employee performance evaluations. UW’s Department of Human Resources is conducting a comparative analysis of current salaries and market rates for all employees who are eligible for increases — benefitted employees hired before July 1, 2017 (fiscal year) and Sept. 1, 2017 (academic year) who were scored as at least “meeting expectations” in their performance evaluations. Notifications of individual raise amounts are expected to be distributed around mid-July.
“Goal 4 of our strategic plan talks about building human capital by enhancing workplace conditions to competitively recruit and retain UW employees and encourage innovation and commitment. This salary adjustment is an important step toward meeting that objective,” UW President Laurie Nichols says. “Even though our overall budget for the coming fiscal year is essentially flat, we made it a priority to reallocate existing dollars so we might include a pool for salary adjustments in FY19. This was accomplished without any increase in funding from the state.”
UW also will hire at least 32 faculty members in key areas, using about $4.2 million in salary savings realized from a faculty separation incentive in the current biennium. Those include two faculty positions in a new degree program in outdoor recreation and tourism management.
Additionally, UW Operations will hire about 10 new custodians with a $453,600 budget allocation, addressing needs identified in a recent study of the university’s custodial services.
And the new budget will allow for the creation, in January, of an Office of Engagement and Outreach, another objective in UW’s strategic plan.
“We weren’t able to address all of the requests in our budget development process, but this budget allows the university to move forward boldly and confidently as we execute our strategic plan,” Nichols says. “We will continue our work to stabilize, diversify and enhance our revenue streams; drive operating efficiencies to save costs while maintaining academic quality; analyze our tuition and fee structure; and vigorously pursue private funding support.”
State appropriations account for 52 percent of UW’s budgeted revenue for the coming fiscal year, with tuition and fees contributing 19 percent. Employee salaries and benefits make up 66 percent of the university’s budgeted expenditures.