Staff Compensation Study Town Hall FAQ

Q: Can this slide deck be shared after this?

Download the Compensation Study Results presentation here.

Q: How did MICA and the consultants define regional/local?

Local = Maryland; Regional = Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania and New York

Q: With the bigger pool to benchmark against, does that bring ranges up or down?

It depends on a number of factors. In MICA’s case, the broader market likely resulted in higher salary ranges.

Q: In regards to 50th percentile—where was MICA prior to the study?

It varies by position. The practice was to pay between the 10th and 25th for those meeting or exceeding minimum requirements or existing employees with two to five years of experience at MICA.

Q: Will the list of local educational institutions that were used for comparison be shared?

Frostburg State; Goucher College; Johns Hopkins University; Loyola University; Montgomery College; Mt. Saint Mary’s University; Notre Dame of Maryland; Stevenson University; Towson University; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Maryland, Eastern Shore; University System of Maryland, College Park; Washington College; Saint Mary’s Seminary and University; and Saint John’s College.

Q: How are the levels of performance and expertise evaluated, for both new hires and existing employees?

For new hires, the manager and HR will have to review the years of experience and confirm the proficiency levels through the recruitment process and reference checking. Existing employees will be slotted initially based upon their years of experience and any documented performance issues.

Q: Will the list of positions and grades be published/shared with everyone? Where do all of the jobs fall?

We will share the list of grades with the assigned positions and pay ranges once they are finalized.

Q: How returning employees are considered/assessed on the ranges?

If you mean by “returning employees” those who were once employed by MICA who leave and return after some time working elsewhere, their pay will be determined as it is for any other new hire. Any relevant experience gained while employed elsewhere would be considered in assessing their level of expertise, as will their prior experience at MICA.

Q: Since MICA is moving toward a $15/hr minimum wage, how does this affect pay grades?

The impact is that the minimum of Grade 1 will shift upward from $24,100 to $27,300.

Q: Will the top amount an individual reached increase with inflation each year like tuition does? For instance in Group 1-3, if the top amount is approx. $43,000, will that increase with inflation each year?

It should be reviewed annually although it will not necessarily shift each year. A shift should happen when there is an indication that salaries in the labor market have shifted. MICA will want to keep pace with the market.

Q: Historically it has been extremely difficult to recognize and promote (title) employees who are performing above expectations, and alternatively, to put severely underperforming employees on pips. Can you speak to how those two things will factor into the roll out of this plan?

The initial rollout of the compensation program will not be merit-based. So, it will be no easier for a manager to address performance issues or to reward high performers. That will happen only after a performance management plan is fully implemented.

Q: I do not see VPs/Provosts on this list. Will that information be shared out?

No. The executive levels are not part of this study. It includes staff employees only.

Q: What is the timeline for this implementation? 

Begins immediately with the implementation of the $15/hour minimum wage through FY24 when the College anticipates having made all the needed adjustments.

Q: Merit mindsets can quickly center bias mindsets (ableism, racism, and beyond). How is this being kept in mind as this is discussed and implemented?

As Sammy indicated in the Town Hall meeting, merit and diversity are not mutually exclusive. We must be intentional about building systems that are fair and equitable, and bias free.

Q: Will lost COLA for FY20 and FY21 be added to these salary adjustments? 

The College does not yet have the information needed to determine the feasibility of making a COLA adjustment for FY20 or FY21.

Q: When can staff members update their JDQs/Job Descriptions? How accurate are job descriptions in practice when many people are forced to absorb the responsibilities of other positions?

HR will initiate the review of JD in the fall of 2021. We are anticipating a number of changes as a result of the adjustments we have all made as a result of the pandemic.

Q: Will JDs ever be kept in WD for anyone to be able to see? 

There are no plans to put Job Descriptions in Workday, unless we are recruiting to fill the position, and then it is an abbreviated description.

Q: Why is the target three years out? 

These are challenging fiscal times for the College. We have to make these pay adjustments in a manner that is fiscally responsible.  Additionally, we need the time to build a reliable performance management system--one that will help us to implement a merit-based pay system.

Q: What would merit a “stellar” year…what metrics are being used to make those judgements? I think that everyone who has performed through this incredibly difficult year is doing a “stellar” job.

Generally, a “stellar” year is one during which an employee consistently performs in a manner that is outstanding. The measures will be defined conceptually by the performance management system, but managers will likely work with employees to define it for the various roles at MICA.

Q: What does this mean for the folks that currently make $15—do they get a pay bump? 

Anyone making below the minimum of their pay range will eventually receive a bump in pay. That bump is not a part of the June 1, 2021, plan to implement the $15 minimum wage.

Q: If we review the JDQs in 2021 and then this is not implemented until possibly FY24, won’t the JDQs need to be updated again at that point?

Job descriptions should be maintained regularly. Whenever the job changes significantly, the job description should be updated and reviewed for appropriate classification.

Q: Will the implementation be by department? Or by pay grade? Or some other qualifier?

Those details have not yet been worked out. The exception to that is the June 1, 2021, implementation of the $15 per hour minimum wage, which will be implemented across the board.

Q: What is the impact / plan for sponsored projects?

The answer to this question depends on the terms of the grant. 

Q: Are FT faculty paid in the same percentile as staff? If MICA is on average paying staff in the 50% based on other schools are they also paying FT faculty in the 50%? Higher? Lower?

The full-time faculty pay structure is very different from the staff pay structure. They are not easily compared.

Q: How will this inform community partner/guest artists compensation—will a parallel framework be created?

We are not anticipating a similar system for guest artists.

Q: With performance reviews coming does that mean there will be more investment in professional development and training?

Yes, professional development and training are natural extensions of performance management.

Q: I work a full time job at MICA, I get paid well over $15 an hour. The smallest studio apartments in (and around) the city cost at LEAST 50% of my monthly pay. How can MICA justify pushing pay equity back by years when this is the circumstance your staff are in?

These are tough economic times. MICA must roll this plan out in a manner that is budget sensitive and financially feasible. It is the only way to ensure the future sustainability of the College.

Q: How do they evaluate positions that don’t fall into a specific category/aren’t similar positions at other schools?

Positions with no market match are slotted into salary grade ranges based on the required knowledge and skills, placement in the organization, and the level of impact they have on the mission of the institution. 

Q: Once the grades have been determined, what happens if the staff member is making more than the grade level? Will some people have a salary reduction?

No. There will be no salary reductions as a result of the implementation. Depending on the circumstances, the salary may be capped at that level until the range catches up to the pay.

Q: What do teams do while internal expectations remain unclear until the model gets set?

The expectation is that managers and employees will work on building skills around goal-setting and providing feedback.