Fernandes promises to create equitable pay for employees

Compensation committee devising a plan

Last year, during her first year as president, Jane Fernandes was faced with many challenges as president of Guilford College, including glaring salary inequity between administrators and faculty.

Fernandes responded and began making changes. Specifically in response to salary inequity, Fernandes has formed a committee that is working to address issues of salary and fair compensation.

“Guilford has a well-documented history of underpaying faculty and staff relative to peer institutions while paying administrators’ salaries at or above average,” said Beatriz Caldez and Matthew Jones in their April 17 Guilfordian article titled “Salary Inequality.”

A mix of 18 students, faculty, administrators and staff members make up the new committee.

“It’s a group of very thoughtful and committed people, obviously, because they volunteered their time to do this,” said Professor of English Jim Hood ‘79.  “It’s a mix of people from all walks of life.”

The first task the committee will tackle is creating a new philosophy surrounding compensation at Guilford.

“Our philosophy will be based on (the fact) that one of the interesting dynamics of the (core)values is the interplay between excellence and equality,” said Fernandes.

“We would want to be sure that everyone is earning a salary and overall compensation that will allow them to be productive. They should be able to have a good life and provide for their needs.”

The committee has met twice and will meet frequently throughout the rest of the year. The most recent meeting was held on Sept. 18, where the committee discussed Guilford’s current faculty salaries compared to the salaries of similar colleges.

Fuquay Solutions, a financial consulting firm, has also been hired to sit on the compensation committee and assist the plan.

“Because Guilford is so clear about its values, it is in a unique position to have a system that is like no other — one that overtly demonstrates those values,” said Higher Education Consultant at Fuquay Solutions Christine Riley.

“I have been working in Human Resources, in one capacity or another, for almost 30 years, and I know how much a thoughtful compensation plan can contribute to the overall health of an organization.”

The committee hopes to solidify a philosophy by the end of the fall semester. Afterwards, they will begin working on a compensation plan that expresses that philosophy.