Dear UofM Faculty and Staff:

We are experiencing positive momentum with 4.2% growth in summer enrollment as we move into a new academic year. Estimates for our incoming freshman class are promising, and I will provide final details as they become available.

Regarding salaries, last year a 2% across the board increase was implemented. That increase, however, did not include our adjunct faculty members. The previous year there was no salary increase given the significant strain on our budget; however, we did increase the minimum hourly rate for our lowest paid employees to $10.10. We have taken steps to balance our budget without creating budget deficits - making substantial gains without program reductions, layoffs or related budget cuts. We have made great progress given your hard work and dedication to efficiency and effectiveness at the UofM, and for that, I thank you.

The steps we have taken this year will allow us to avoid creating a new structural deficit, address concerns about adjunct pay and position us for meaningful merit pay increases in the future. As you might be aware, adjunct pay at the University has not increased in over three decades. We will be implementing a 40% increase in minimum adjunct pay from $1500 for a three credit hour course to $2100. This increase will be funded centrally and reflects the importance of our adjunct faculty to the University mission, along with recognition that the pay has been disproportionately low for many years.

We will also award a $750 bonus to faculty and staff members, payable in October to all those with one year of service effective June 30, 2016. Academic Deans, Vice Presidents, the Provost, and I have agreed to opt out of any bonus payments. Final approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) will be sought at their September meeting.

These steps are consistent with efforts to address areas of significant need (e.g. adjunct pay) while remaining vigilant of budget constraints and efforts to make sure our structural budget deficit does not re-emerge. As mentioned previously, it is our belief that these steps will position us for merit pay increases in the future.

Thank you for your tireless efforts concerning the care and success of our students and community. We are seeing evidence of progress on many fronts, and it is entirely because of you.

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor