‘PROGRESS REPORT’ OF THE SENATE TASK FORCE ON SALARY ISSUES FOR PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION AT THE SPECIAL MEETING OF THE FACULTY SENATE ON APRIL 19TH, 2006

 

At the Faculty Senate’s March 8th meeting, a Task Force was established to make a broad review of issues pertaining to GMU administrative and instructional faculty salaries including the widespread perception that there is a rapidly growing gap between the salaries of the instructional faculty and those of  the upper-level administrators.  For this preliminary report, the Task Force has gathered and examined data that leads it to the conclusion that this widespread perception is accurate and that new policies need to be developed and implemented before the next evaluation cycle.  The information which supports the Task Force’s conclusion is presented in the APPENDICES to this progress report.

 

INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY SALARY DATA

            The Task Force gathered data comparing GMU instructional faculty data to faculty members at other public, doctoral granting institutions in the United States; faculty members at GMU’s Peer Institutions as established by the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV); and faculty members at other public, doctoral institutions in the Commonwealth of Virginia (See REPORT APPENDICES: TABLES 1, 2, & 3).

            TABLE 1 reports the average instructional faculty salaries at GMU in relation to those at other U.S. public, doctoral-granting institutions for the 2004-05 period.  While instructional faculty at the ranks of Professor, Associate Professor and Instructor received average salaries slightly above the national averages, Assistant Professors were nearly three thousand dollars below the national average for their rank.  This data is consistent with the data reported in TABLE 3 which compares average GMU instructional faculty salaries to the average instructional faculty salaries at the four other public, doctoral granting institutions in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The data in these tables suggest that GMU instructional faculty are “holding their own.”

            However, the data in TABLES 2 and 4 support a starkly different conclusion.  TABLE 2 reveals that GMU instructional faculty have lost considerable ground compared to our colleagues at the SCHEV identified “peer institutions” as well as toward the modest SCHEV-appointed goal of raising average GMU instructional faculty salaries to the 60th percentile of the salaries among these peer institutions.  This disappointing outcome is further magnified by the fact that the cost of living in Northern Virginia as confirmed in TABLE 4 is significantly higher than in other parts of the Commonwealth where our sister institutions are located as well as in most, if not all, of the SCHEV’s “peer institutions” (which are used by SCHEV and the Virginia General Assembly as  the “benchmarks” for evaluating the adequacy of our salaries).

 

                  UPPER-LEVEL ADMINSTRATIVE FACULTY SALARY DATA

         The data presented in TABLES 5 and 6 confirm that upper-level administrative faculty have fared significantly better than GMU instructional faculty since 2000.  TABLE 5 reports the growth in salaries for selected high-level administrative faculty positions during the period Fall 2000 to Fall 2004.  The data in TABLE 6 provide context by comparing the current salaries of those same upper-level administrators to the salaries of administrators in the comparable positions at public, doctoral granting institutions in the United States.  This data shows that most of GMU’s upper-level administrator’s salaries are at or above the 80th percentile benchmark. 

         Further, TABLE 6 reveals that administrative raises during the last year were quite large, especially in comparison to the raises provided to many GMU instructional faculty members.  For instance, three administrators received raises of $40,000 or more.  In contrast, all seven of the 9-month instructional faculty listed in the current University Catalog as holding the rank of Associate Professor in the Psychology Department received less than $40,000 in raises allocated among them.  The Department of Music lists eleven 9-month instructional faculty at all ranks, and their raises taken together totaled less than $40,000.  It might also be pointed out that two administrators received raises that surpass the salaries of many tenured professors who have served the University well for decades.  The evidence gathered by the Task Force suggests that in comparison to their national cohort, GMU administrators are, indeed, exceptionally well compensated relative to their peers and to the GMU instructional faculty.  TABLE 10 shows how a failure to promptly address this problem will expand the gap.

         The Task Force has requested GMU Human Resources to order a custom study from the College and University Professional Association (CUPA) that will show how the salaries of high-level GMU administrators compare to those in their SCHEV-appointed peer institutions.  CUPA could generate this information quickly at a cost of several hundred dollars.  However, the Provost has refused to authorize Human Resources to process this request so the Task Force is in the process of contacting the Faculty Senate’s at each of the SCHEV institutions to gather this data. A similar process is underway to gather data on high-level administrative salaries at all of Virginia’s public colleges and universities.

In considering a relevant benchmark for determining the proper pay of GMU administrators, the Task Force is more inclined to use the salaries of other public servants than that of business CEO’s.  The data in TABLES 7, 8 & 9 report the annual salaries of selected federal, state and local government officials. When the salaries of GMU upper-level administrators are compared to the salaries of these public servants, they seem very generous.  The Task Force also finds compelling the position of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) that argues for “linking” the salary of a university president (and by implication of other administrators also) and the instructional faculty of an institution.  The AAUP reports, as a matter of grave concern, a growing divide between presidential and faculty pay in American higher education. However, the Task Force has concluded that ultimately there is no single factor that indicates the proper pay for university administrators in general and for the GMU administration in particular.  In determining the faculty and administrative salaries of a public university, a number of factors obviously come into play such as the revenues available from the state, the revenues available from tuition, the relative pay of other similarly qualified state employees and the success of administrators in raising external funds which benefit students and advance the educational mission of the university. 

A principal concern of the Task Force is that administrative pay not become so large relative to that of an equally hard-working  instructional faculty that it fosters a sense of injustice that results in demoralization and impaired collegiality.  Another concern is that a “well-heeled bureaucracy” is likely to inhibit private fund-raising and state support by projecting a damaging image to  legislators, tax-payers and the general public. 

 

Talking Points

            The Task Force will continue its work over the summer and present a final report with recommendations during the Fall semester of 2006.  For now, the following “talking points” are offered to focus discussion and generate suggestions on how to both improve the relative salaries of the instructional faculty and to promote trust in the processes utilized to evaluate and reward administrative faculty, especially those in high-visibility positions.

 

 

REPORT APPENDICES

 

TABLE 1: GMU AVERAGE INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY SALARIES BY RANK  COMPARED TO THOSE AT PUBLIC, DOCTORAL GRANTING INSTITUTIONS (2004-5)

RANK

GMU AVERAGE

PUBLIC DOCTORAL

AVERAGE

ABSOLUTE AND PERCENTAGE COMPARISON

Full Professor

$108,238

$97,948

+$10,290    (+10%)

Associate Professor

$73,173

$68,567

+$4,606      (+7%)

Assistant Professor

$55,405

$58,310

-$2,905       (-5%)

Instructor

$41,623

$39,398

+$2,225      (+6%)

Sources: 2004-5 GMU Factbook and AAUP “Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession”, 2004-2005.

 

TABLE 2: GMU AVERAGE INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY SALARIES COMPARED TO SCHEV IDENTIFIED PEER INSTITUTIONS (FALL 2000-FALL 2004)

 

Fall 2000

Fall 2001

Fall 2002

Fall

2003

Fall 2004

Change

Average

 65,633

67,828

69,435

70,876

72,577

+6,944 (+10.58%)

60th Percentile

 65,844

67,793

71,074

72,413

74,131

+8,287 (+12.59%)

George Mason

 66,845

66,802

66,802

68,305

71,379

+4,534 (+6.78%)

            Source: GMU Factbooks.

 

TABLE 3: GMU AVERAGE INSTRUCTIONAL SALARIES* COMPARED TO OTHER PUBLIC DOCTORAL INSTITUTIONS IN VIRGINIA (2004-5)

INSTITUTION

PROFESSOR

ASSOCIATE

ASSISTANT

INSTRUCTOR

GMU

106.8

72.4

57.4

45.9

W&M

106.0

73.2

60.8

44.2

UVA

118.1

78.1

64.1

49.9

VCU

 92.9

71.0

55.3

36.3

VPI

 96.8

68.8

59.1

37.4

*Thousands of dollars.

 

TABLE 4: COST OF LIVING INDICES AT GMU AND SELECTED

VIRGINIA  UNIVERSITIES

                               VA Institution

Cost of Living Index              

Its SCHEV Peer Institutions Cost of Living  (Ave.)

William & Mary               

100.5                           

108.4

ODU

101.2                            

  98.8

UVA

105.3                          

106.8

VA Tech

92

102.7

VCU

100.5                          

105.9

GMU

143.0

102.4                          

 

           

 

 

 

TABLE 5: GROWTH IN SALARIES OF SELECTED HIGH LEVEL

           ADMINISTRATIVE FACULTY POSITIONS FROM FALL 2000 TO FALL 2004

Position

Fall 2000    

Fall 2004        

5 Year Increase

 (Absolute)

5 Year Increase

(Percentage)

President

$300,000           

$334,750          

$34,750     

11.58%

VP-Finance

 178,000      

 

 211,200          

  33,200     

18.65%

VP-IT       

178,000       

 

211,200          

33,200     

18.65%

Provost

226,000           

 

260,000          

34,000     

15.04%

Vice Provost*     

161,200           

 

174,836           

13,636     

 8.46%

CAS Dean     

186,259           

 

221,167           

34,908     

18.74%

SCS Dean       

159,700            

 

225,000           

66,300     

41.52%

CEHD Dean 

160,000           

 

179,349            

19,349     

12.09%

SITE Dean   

224,429            

 

256,797           

12,398      

 5.52%

SOL Dean    

187,000            

 

225,327           

38,327      

20.50%

SOM Dean 

136,353            

214,150           

 

77,797      

57.06%

NHS Dean                                                                         

171,800

**

 

 

SPP Dean   

204,000            

 

215,373             

11,373      

 5.58%

VPA Dean  

175,000            

 

185,658             

10,658      

 6.09%

                .Source: GMU Human Resources Department.  Note that the Virginia General

               Assembly failed to fund raises for several years during this period. *For Academics  **Dual deanship

.

 TABLE 6: Salaries of GMU Upper-Level Administrators Compared to their peers at Public Doctoral-Granting Institutions in the U.S.

            Position

     60th Percentile

      80th Percentile

Median

GMU*

Salary

2005 Salary Increase

2005 % Increase

President

$316,650           

$400,000        

$295,008   

$349,479

$14,719

 4.48%

Senior VP

$265,665            

$339,200       

$247,851     

$232,320

$21,120

10.0%

Provost

$237,846            

$286,550        

$223,196     

$286,000

$26,000

10.0%

Assoc. Provost  

$148,431            

$171,119        

$138,845      

$215,000

$40,164

22.97%

Dean of Arts & Sci.

$192,502            

$216,636        

$174,310     

$255,000

$33,833

15.3%

Dean, Education

$161,466           

$187,000         

$152,823    

$191,523

$12,174

 6.79%

Dean, Engineering

$215,105             

$256,200        

$201,977    

$293,489

$36,692

14.29%

Dean, Law

$251,022            

$290,320        

$238,148    

$301,600

$76,273**

33.85%

Dean, Mgmt.

$223,800            

$278,000         

$208,151   

$225,716

$11,566

 5.40%

Dean, Nursing 

$174,786             

$204,802        

$163,194   

$197,600

NA***

NA

Dean, Vis. Perf. Arts

$161,092            

$190,600         

$153,236   

$258,200

$72,542

39.07%

Source: College and University Professional Association (CUPA).  *This figure does not include probable salary supplements or other perks provided outside of public view by the GMU Foundation. It is also quite possible that other GMU administrators receive financial support from the Foundation.  Administrators at other institutions may also receive private monies that are not reflected in the CUPA data.  **Promoted from Acting Dean.  ***Hired in January, 2005.

 

TABLE 7: SALARIES OF SELECTED FEDERALGOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

Salaries of Selected Federal Officials (2005)

Position

Annual Salary

 President

$400,000

Vice President

$208,100

Senator

$162,100

Representative

$162,100

Majority and Minority Leaders

$180,100

Speaker of the House

$208,100

Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

$208,100

Assoc. Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

$199,200

Source: Federal Office of Personnel Management.

TABLE 8: ANNUAL SALARIES OF GOVENORS IN MOST POPULOUS STATES (2005)

STATE

RANK BY POPULATION

GOVERNOR”S ANNUAL SALARY

California

1st

$175,000

Texas

2nd

$115,345

New York

3rd

$179,000

Florida

4th

$124,175

Average

 

$148,380*

*Rounded to nearest dollar.

 

TABLE 9: ANNUAL SALARIES OF SELECTED FAIRFAX COUNTY OFFICIALS (2005)

TITLE

ANNUAL SALARY

COMMENTS

County Executive

$213,960

Budget of over $3 billion and county population over 1 million

Superintendent of Schools

$250,000

12th Largest System  in U.S. with $1.5 billion budget and 166,000 students

Source: Fairfax County Government

 

TABLE 10: SAMPLE IMPACTS OF COMPOUNDING ON SALARIES

Initial Salary              

Salary After 5 Years

of 5% Raises*

Salary Increase After 5 Years*

$50,000                          

$63,814

$13,814

$100,000  

$127,628

$27,628

$200,000 

$256,256      

$55,256

$300,000

$382,884

$82,884

*Rounded to nearest dollar.