Belfast AUT Newsletter Issue no. 10 - September 2001
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go to previous sectionprevious go to next sectionnext QUB Professorial Pay

Last month QUB professors learnt the outcome of the Professorial Salary Review. National pay negotiations set only the professorial minimum, although it has been customary to pay all professors the percentage by which this increased in the annual pay round. Although some professors had been appointed on salaries which reflected market forces, there were felt to be many anomalies, and salaries often compared unfavourably with other UK universities.

The review was a fresh attempt to evaluate the academic standing of each QUB non-clinical professor and to place them on one of 11 salary points. In October 2000 salary terms these were: Range 1, £38K, £40K or £42K; Range 2, £45K, £48K, £51k, £54K or £57K; Range 3, £60K or £63K; and Range 4 £66K upwards. Progression within a range will not be automatic but will be subject to further review in accordance with the scheme. Range 1 is the usual entry grade to Professorships; to be in Range 2 the professor must have a significant international reputation and a very significant national reputation in their field of study; to be in Range 3 the professor must have a very significant international reputation and be widely acknowledged as national leaders in their field of study and Range 4 is for those widely acknowledged as world leaders in their field of study and who have made a lasting contribution through their research. The outcome was as follows:

Range

Salary Range

(before pay awards)

Number of professors in range

Percentage of professors in range

1

£38,000 - £42,000

39

26%

2

£45,000 - £57,000

92

62%

3

£60,000 - £63,000

13

9%

4

£66,000 upwards

5

3%

Total

 

149

100%

Recent research of non-clinical professorial salaries indicated that the average Queen’s salary in 1999 was £41,814, while the average for the sector was £45,562, a difference of 9%. Whilst it is not known what the future salary levels will be within the sector, the Professorial Salary Review scheme will result in an average salary within Queen’s of £48,497 (before pay awards), which is an increase of some 14.07% on current salary levels. However these salaries will not be paid in full yet, but phased in over a period ending in October 2002. In addition all salary points may be adjusted each year to reflect such factors as relevant national awards and relevant salary movements at other universities, and the various percentage increases in the recent national pay deal will be applied.

The gradings were based on assessments by Heads of School and Deans and were submitted to a panel of international figures. Senior management boast of the degree of agreement between these stages, but others tell me of the externals insisting on upgrading. Some professors are disappointed at their grading and six have asked for it to be reconsidered. In addition several professors would have received a pay cut under the new scheme, but have been allowed to keep their old salary on a personally protected basis. Since most professors are better off (and some very significantly so) the professoriate is currently happy with the scheme. However to put the scheme in perspective they should also consider what is being paid to others in this university. During the financial year 1999-2000, 31 people in QUB were paid salaries in the range £50,001 - £60,000 and a further 80 were paid salaries in the ranges from £60,001 to £150,000. Hardly any of these would be ordinary non-clinical academics. They would be professors holding a major office, senior administrators (administrative Directors are paid around £60K) and clinical academics. Virtually all clinical academics are graded as Consultants and are paid from £48,905 to £63,640 p.a. In addition about 40% of them receive NHS merit payments which can range up to more than £50K extra.

go to toptop go to previous sectionprevious go to next sectionnext Staff Retention and Recruitment

We all know how uncompetitive academic and related salaries are, but many people believe that market forces are responsible for extra difficulties in recruiting staff in such subjects as Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Law and Management. An analysis by QUB management came to the conclusion that there were no significant subject differences in recruitment and retention. They therefore rejected the idea of increasing salaries for all staff in high demand areas by a subject weighting percentage.

Management are, however, interested in developing the idea of ‘market component’ in addition to basic salary. This would not carry the total pay beyond the maximum salary for the relevant grade, and would be subject to annual downward adjustment as the basic salary increased. It would be paid on appointment and only when it was in the strategic interest of the University. In order to benefit, current staff would have to become active in the labour market. This idea is not only in breach of the national salary agreement but it is also likely to contravene Equal Opportunity and Equal Pay law.

Management are keen to supplement salaries through consultancy. The intention would be to encourage outside firms or bodies to make payment either to individual members of staff or to groups of staff for specific consultancy work. Responsibility for identifying and approaching the relevant individuals or groups involved would lie with the outside firms or bodies involved. Although this is an extension of what happens already, we have some caveats. Firstly, "He who pays the piper calls the tune", and there could develop subtly censorship of what is taught and researched. Secondly, the availability of consultancy varies widely with subject. It also varies under all the major Equal Opportunity headings and, in particular, gender. QUB management cannot just wash their hands by saying that it is not part of QUB employment. Thirdly, will those undertaking this consultancy be allowed to do less teaching and administration? If so, those would have to pick up the load will be justifiably aggrieved.

Belfast AUT Officers will be reminding QUB management that any such developments are subject to negotiation.

Paul Hudson

go to toptop go to previous sectionprevious go to next sectionnext Some Factors Influencing the Distribution of University Research

The early public discussions of the Research Assessment Exercise 1996 (RAE) repeatedly invoked an analogy between the transfer patterns and league tables of professional football and those associated with the RAE (Warner 1997). The analogy may have had an unexplored depth. The concept of place was crucial to the development of professional football, so fundamental that its critical role was only fully noticed when disturbed. Labour rapidly became mobile and the significance of this has recently increased. The relative importance of place has been further eroded by the power of entrepreneurial capital. History may only remain an influence for maintaining status when the circumstances which assisted development are renewed.

Analogous developments could be detected in the organisation of universities. Labour had long been mobile but the relation of an academic to their institution was increasingly being laid bare as one of selling the products of intellectual labour. Place remained significant although the pleasure of location could be regarded as a surrogate for salary differentials. History seemed most significant to those institutions, the new universities of the 1960s and 1990s, which inherited cultures not fully adapted to a research environment. Long duration did not by itself guarantee high current significance.

A number of factors could, then, be identified which strongly influenced the distribution of university research. History as long duration had to be distinguished from history as inheritance. Capital represented a resource for transforming an institution. Place emerged as simultaneously pervasive and unrecognised as a differentiating factor. Two aspects to place could be distinguished: the pleasures of location which could influence academics as social beings; and a link between topic and region which could be primarily cultural (Scottish literature studied in Scotland, for instance) or connected with the regional differentiation of productive functions. These interconnected influences were filtered through a broad contrast between areas of study characterised by group endeavour (technology and the sciences) and those which lay a greater stress on work directly produced by individuals (the humanities and the social sciences), even if individual consciousness was regarded as socially constructed.

How could these considerations have been applied to Queen’s? Its long history remained significant where it contributed to its continuing prestige. Place had a number of effects: acting as a constraint on recruitment, particularly significant to disciplines dependent on individually produced work; enabling excellence in subjects which had strong cultural connections to the region; more subtly, benefiting studies where local factors were transformed into topics of national or international interest; and giving Queen’s a regional significance not necessarily shared by other civic universities. Factors connected with place were shared, to some extent, with local competitor-colleagues but comparative advantages were derived from the city location and from the absence of a non-research inheritance. Capital was viewed as the potentially transforming resource.

The influences of location and of history received little explicit recognition in the strategic planning following the RAE 1996. The results of the RAE 2001 will test the predictive value of the considerations outlined above. Which has been, and will continue to be more powerful, managerial policy and action, the brute force of circumstance, or policy fully informed by a recognition of circumstance?

Reference: Warner, J. (1997). The public reception of the Research Assessment Exercise 1996. Aslib Proceedings. 49, 10, 1997, pp.263-276. Also: Information Research. 3, 4, March 1998. Location: http://informationr.net/ir/3-4/paper45.html

Julian Warner

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Funding for Teaching

There are two commonly held beliefs about funding for teaching: that each UK higher education institution, irrespective of its pedigree, is paid the same for teaching an undergraduate in subject X; and that, if we take in more home and EU students, we are paid proportionately more. The first belief is broadly true, but there is a lot of fine print which means that the second statement is often not true, and this is the case for Queen’s.

For 2000/1 QUB has a Maximum Aggregate Student Number (MASN) of 11,237 ± 56. This applies to all home and EU fulltime undergraduate students plus those in initial teaching training. If, through over- or under-recruiting we fall outside this narrow band, QUB is financially penalised. But even if this restriction were removed, most forms of expansion are unattractive. In general, if QUB takes in more home and EU Full Time Equivalent (FTE) students there is a redistribution of existing resources between Schools, but no increase in total QUB funds apart from the fees (£1,075). The exception is when we successfully bid for extra students of a particular type (e.g. Computer Science) which the Government wants to increase. These are fully funded, which is why such bids are so important.

The funding methodology for England is described on www.hefce.ac.uk The NI Assembly need not keep to this formula, although it is unlikely to deviate from it as regards the teaching element of the grant. The teaching resource is made up of the government grant plus the tuition fees, and it is determined annually in a process which has three steps. In step 1 the standard resource is calculated for each institution. This is a notional calculation of what the institution would get if the grant was calculated afresh each year, and is based on the institution’s profile of students taking into account the number of home and EU FTE students. Clinical students are weighted 4.5, laboratory based subjects 2, part laboratory or studio 1.5, and the rest 1. There are also extra funds for part-time students and widening access and some institution-related factors.

In step 2 the actual resource is calculated. This reflects what the institution has historically received and is based on the teaching grant actually paid to the institution for the previous year adjusted for various factors such as inflation, plus assumptions about student tuition fee income. The standard teaching grant for extra students awarded in a bid is also included. In step 3 the difference between the actual resource and the standard resource is calculated as a percentage of the standard resource. If this is between plus or minus 5%, the institution is paid the actual resource minus assumed fees. Any institution outside this band would be subject to action on student number or funding.

At present the figure at step 3 is +1.8% for QUB and so we are paid as teaching grant the actual resource minus assumed fees. This sum of money would continue to hold down to a figure of –5% at step 3, so we would need to expand the home and EU FTE students by about 7% before we would get any increase in teaching grant. Such a decline in the unit of resource is unattractive, so in practice we are restricted in expansion to those subject where the government invites bids.

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Paul Hudson


© 2001 Belfast Association of University Teachers
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