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ELIZABETH CITY – The University of North Carolina system recently received approval to develop a chancellor incentivization program that could be worth up to 20 percent of their salaries and is planned to be phased in during the current school year.

The approval came from the UNC Board of Governors at its Nov. 14-15 meetings, which took place at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City.

The BOG approved the program in concept at its Sept. 20 meeting and directed UNC system Interim President William Roper to return to the board with a detailed plan.

“This program provides up to a 20 percent annual incentive compensation opportunity for chancellors based on a combination of individual performance at each chancellor’s constituent institution, as well as performance on several system-wide performance goals selected by the (UNC system) president in consultation with the (UNC) Board of Governors,” the packet information states. “The latter is intended to incent collaboration among the chancellors in pursuing system-wide goals that advance the overall strategic priorities of the UNC system.”

The plan, which went through the BOG’s Committee on Personnel and Tenure, sets a minimum 24-month service requirement to be eligible for incentive compensation.

The program will be broken down into two categories: individual incentive performance awards and system-wide strategic incentive awards, each worth up to 10 percent of an eligible chancellor’s salary.

The individual incentive performance award will be based on the UNC system president’s annual assessment of the chancellor, according to the meeting documents, with an emphasis on “input from system office functional leaders on institutional effectiveness and demonstrated progress on key performance indicators in areas such as student success, finance, facilities, human resources and compliance.”

The individual portion of the incentive program includes tiers of university performance that would equate to different levels of pay. According to the documents, “overwhelming levels” of institutional performance would be worth the full 10 percent of salary bonus pay, “fully acceptable levels with no significant observed performance gaps” would be worth 5 percent of salary bonus pay and “significant areas of improvement and positive trends” would be worth 2.5 percent of salary bonus pay.

System-wide strategic incentive awards would be equal among all 17 chancellors. The incentives would based on three goals set by the UNC system president every three to five years, according to the documents, determined by a ratio percentage of the goals attained.

The system-wide goals will be set at a later date, prior to the program’s implementation.

The incentive pay would come in a lump sum following the end of an academic year, but by the end of the calendar year, according to the plan.

Most current UNC system chancellors make in the $300,000 range, with the lowest making $291,305, according to 2019-20 database information. ASU’s Sheri Everts made $375,098 in 2019-20, meaning a maximum 20 percent incentive bonus would equal $75,019.60. The entire program could end up paying out bonuses in excess of a million dollars.

In other news from the meeting, the board approved creating a task force that would make wholesale changes to the capital improvement application process, which universities currently utilize to get major building projects approved. The goal would be to minimize costs to the individual universities.

Speaking to the full board on Nov. 15, Governor W. Marty Kotis said the objective is for system institutions to not communicate “inflated numbers that a contractor might latch on to and present a higher-than-normal debt.”

Governor Temple Sloan, chair of the BOG’s Committee on Budget and Finance, said on Nov. 15 at the full BOG meeting that the idea was presented with overwhelming support and is something Kotis has pushed for years.

“What we’re talking about is not the behavior of individual campuses or individual campus leadership teams, what we’re talking about is a construction process system that is inadequate, antiquated and quite frankly, it’s broken,” Sloan said on Nov. 15.

A task force will take a look at the process and “reverse engineer” it, as Sloan explained on Nov. 15. Everts was named to the task force that will examine the issue over the next few months, Sloan added. One of the goals, Sloan said on Nov. 15, was to work with the N.C. General Assembly to get a new bill that would cement the UNC system’s capital improvement application process changes.

It was noted in the meeting that the system is waiting for the final passage of the state budget before finalizing an implementing the annual raise process for state employees. Also, the UNC system office said it is working on finalizing regulations and implementations for the parental leave process that it had previously approved.

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