Status of Faculty Salaries?
Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty, (Almanac
Supplement, March 25, 2003), said the average Full Professor,
in the rank for the 10-year period, 1992-2001 (with the exclusions
noted there), had cumulative compound salary increments amounting
to 59.6% of the 1992 base. Subtracting the official cumulative
CPI of 30.9% from that total yields an average net base salary
gain of 28.7% (what I call the net economic gain).
I checked on one high-performing case and found instead, a net
economic gain of 6.1% over ten years, not 28.7%. If your figures
are like that, read on.
many long-time SAS colleagues have a cumulative compounded increment
with net economic gains of 7% or less for ten years, say, 37%
or less over your 1992 base? I wondered how to find out enough
to do something about it.
SEC (2001, I think) I had questioned whether there may be a pattern
of such disadvantage, when we were discussing an earlier Report
on the Economic Status of the Faculty, when the Provost was present.
There was considerable concern expressed at possible inequities,
but it wafted away in vagueness over how to determine any pattern
(without administration initiative), even though SEC was aware
that a pattern of disadvantage by age or years of service could
have bad consequences, magnified by published explanations of
tuition increases to parents.
did suggest a class-action kind of grievance for similarly situated
productive faculty, but it was unclear how such a class would
be identified. Maybe this would help.
I invite colleagues who have demonstrable results similar to what
I illustrated to e-mail me with the information (exact percentages
of 2001 on 1992 base salary, and years of service, but not specific
salary amounts). If a large enough sample comes to hand, I will
bring the matter back to public discussion, especially of collective
grievance as a remedy.
--James F. Ross,
Professor of Philosophy
Response from SCESF
SCESF presents such calculations based on averages for aggregates
for groups of faculty members, as provided by the Provost's
Office. Based on the information provided to the SCESF for the
2002-03 academic year, as Professor Ross suggests, "the average
Full Professor, in the rank for the 10-year period, 1992-2001
(with the exclusions noted there), had cumulative compound salary
increments amounting to 59.6% of the 1992 base. Subtracting the
official cumulative CPI of 30.9% from that total, yields an average
net base salary gain of 28.7%." Of course, as with any average,
there may be considerable dispersion around the mean. In order
to protect the confidentiality of individual faculty members,
the SCESF does not have access to individual data with which to
characterize such dispersion. If it were possible to obtain a
random sample of experiences of people in this group without violating
concerns about confidentiality, it would be of interest to do
so to learn more about the distribution of salary changes over
time. We have some concerns, however, about whether the procedures
suggested by Professor Ross would result in a random sample because
we expect that faculty members who choose to provide such information
would be a selected, not a random, sample.
addition, the anecdotal example given by Professor Ross represents
one individual within one school at Penn, for which this average
(given in Table 1 of the report) does not correspond. These (Table
1) are University-wide averages, and not averages by school by
rank. If you wanted to do a more rigorous comparison by rank (Professor)
and by school (say SAS) versus CPI, then Table 3 would be more
appropriate where the report accurately notes that 96% of Humanities,
80% of Natural Sciences, and 83% of Social Science Full Professors
in Arts and Sciences received cumulative raises (albeit from 1996-2002)
thank Professor Ross for his questioning, as that is exactly the
purpose of this report. We want each individual faculty member
to have the opportunity to make data-based assessments of their
own individual salary performance, and more importantly the school
as a whole against our peer institutions.
Associate Professor of Marketing & Statistics, 2002-2003 SCESF
Behrman, Professor of Economics, 2003-2004 SCESF Chair
Speaking Out welcomes reader contributions. Short, timely
letters on University issues will be accepted by Thursday
at noon for the following Tuesday's issue, subject to right-of-reply
guidelines. Advance notice of intention to submit is appreciated.
Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 10,
October 28, 2003