Faculty and staff members at Daytona Beach Community College might be a little friendlier to current students and potential ones this summer. That’s because their salary depends on them.
After seeing a nearly 10 percent drop in the number of fee-paying, full-time-equivalent students over the past three years, Daytona administrators decided it was time to give the college's employees more incentive to recruit and retain students. So they created a new financial plan that ties salaries to enrollment figures. The board of trustees voted to adopt the measure this week.
While professors will still receive bonuses based on promotions as scheduled in early July, most on the college's payroll will have to wait until October 1 for potential salary increases.
Last fall, about 3,333 full-time-equivalent students enrolled at Daytona, according to university data. If that number increases by 33 -- or 1 percent -- by September 1, faculty and staff will receive a 3 percent salary increase across the board. Accordingly, a 2 percent or more student increase will lead to a 4 percent pay boost.
Even a status quo enrollment total from a year ago would be a financial gain for faculty and staff -- they would receive a 2 percent salary increase. Employees wouldn't be penalized for a drop in enrollment, but they wouldn't be ensured of a pay raise, either.
State funding for education has increased over the past few years in Florida as the cost of living has risen, said Kent Sharples, the college's president. About one-fourth of the college's revenue comes from student fees."When enrollment goes down, so does revenue. That affects salaries. It makes sense to link pay to salary increase," Sharples said.
The president said Daytona is making about $1 million in budget cuts this fiscal year, which ends on July 1. Most are coming via administrative reductions.
Daytona is about $400,000 short of its projected tuition revenue from the 2005-6 academic year, said Rand Spiwak, the college's executive vice president.
“That's not a huge amount, but when you have a slight decline in tuition every semester, and you don’t collect, something has to give,” Spiwak said. “The way you stop the bleeding is to turn around loss of enrollment.”
Mercedes Clement, outgoing Faculty Senate president, said most faculty members she has spoken to are OK with the salary policy. “We figure usually when the economy is good, there’s a drop in enrollment,” she said. “Because the drop has happened in seven consecutive semesters, we need to do something about it. We could see the handwriting on the wall.”
Administrators introduced the new pay plan to trustees and employees earlier this year, and the planning council, a group of mainly faculty members that determines the next year's budget, determined it was financially feasible, Clement said.
She expects more professors to be proactive recruiters this summer -- doing everything from wearing a Daytona pin to attending open houses to asking neighbors or people in the grocery store checkout line if they have considered attending the community college.
“We all need to do something. It’s supposed to include everyone from the ground up," she said.
Added Spiwak: “If it’s an [employee] mowing grass, and that person sees a student lost, why not step forward and offer assistance. It might be the difference between the student staying in college or dropping out.”
Early indications are positive for the college: The number of registered students are up 5.6 percent from this time last year. But, as Spiwak notes, "nothing matters until the money is in."