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  May 15, 2000

Health Center Plan Would Reward
Academic Merit, Productivity

Change is routine at the University of Connecticut Health Center in the year 2000, and nowhere is that change more apparent than in the faculty compensation plan now being prepared for presentation to the Board of Trustees June 6.

The plan is the result of months of faculty meetings - at council, committee, subcommittee and interest group levels. The plan affects all the School of Medicine's 475 faculty and represents more than $50 million in salaries. It rewards merit, creates incentives and rewards performance in a fiscally responsible manner.

"This plan provides rewards for everything an academic health center wants its faculty to do," says Peter J. Deckers, dean of the medical school, who is spearheading the plan intended to attract and retain high quality faculty. "It rewards academic merit with merit increases; it rewards clinical productivity with clinical supplements and clinical bonuses; it rewards administration and service with merit increases."

The plan:

  • recognizes and rewards meritorious effort by providing incentives in all areas of faculty endeavor;

  • is consistent with the by-laws of the University and with the traditional rights and privileges of faculty members to participate, with the administration, in all aspects of their governance;

  • is specific to the needs of the Health Center, its spirit and culture;

  • is designed to be as simple and unambiguous as possible, given the complexities of academic life and faculty activities at a modern academic medical center; and

  • consists of a set of principles and defines the faculty-administrative bodies responsible for governing the plan and formulating and implementing its rules.

"Developing a plan like this is a very difficult process," says Douglas Oliver, professor of anatomy and chairman of the School of Medicine Council. "A compensation plan is a change of culture for an organization and this is not done easily."

The School of Medicine Council was involved in the process early on and devised the principles upon which the plan was built. These included requirements that compensation must not be solely determined by revenue-generating ability; that the plan must be compatible with and testable against standards of fairness and clarity; and that it must protect

academic values and offer incentives for excellence.

The council took final remarks from the faculty May 10, before finalizing the document. During the next month, the plan will be forwarded to Deckers, President Austin, the trustees' Health Affairs Committee and finally the full Board of Trustees.

While the plan continues to evolve, two things are certain: faculty compensation is changing and in the future it will be performance-driven.

Anticipating the new plan, Peter C. Albertsen, associate professor of surgery and a clinician, foresees a transformation among clinical activities: "Implementation of this compensation plan will force some significant changes in the way the medical group practices."

Pat Keefe