President’s Blog

Negotiating a PTR Policy

October 2, 2017
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UTFA’s members may not realize that UTFA has never negotiated a PTR (merit pay) policy with the University. To date, the practices associated with PTR have been established by the University Administration and published in an annual PDAD&C memo. In recent years, a substantial portion of that annual memo has appeared in the Academic Administrative Procedures Manual (AAPM).

In the upcoming round of negotiations, which we hope will begin by early November, UTFA will attempt to negotiate the beginnings of a PTR policy. We are starting with the sections of the AAPM instructions on PTR that look promising and that would ensure the transparency and clarity of the PTR process—if they were enforced.

We are not attempting to re-create the PTR system from scratch. We are, instead, at this stage, trying to increase the likelihood of compliance with those parts of the guidelines that seem fair and are compatible with collegial governance.

Where possible in the proposal we are working on, we have retained the language of the AAPM, improving phrasing where necessary. Sometimes, however, we introduce changes to the substance of the policy.

What follows are a few quick examples of the kinds of improvements in procedure UTFA is seeking:

  1. Cross-appointed faculty, for example, frequently complain that PTR is a very uneven process for them. We will create in the policy a more transparent and effective procedure for the assessment of cross-appointed faculty.
  2. We will write policy language that will create procedures for calculating PTR for part-time appointed faculty and librarians.
  3. The three areas of the academic appointment: teaching/professional practice, scholarship, and service, will be more clearly articulated in the policy.
  4. The AAPM directs unit heads to issue PTR letters that clearly communicate the rationale for the PTR award and the process that was used. Too often, our members do not receive such letters. The new policy will mandate them.

When we have completed a draft of the PTR policy, we will post it and invite feedback.

Please direct comments to

Cynthia Messenger
UTFA President