APRIL 19, 2006


Senators Present:  Ernest Barreto, Jim Bennett, Rei Berroa, Alok Berry, Phil Buchanan, Richard Carver, Julie Christensen, Rick Coffinberger, Jose Cortina, Warren Decker, Bob Ehrlich, Karen Hallows, Susan Hirsch, Mark Houck, Dan Joyce, David Kuebrich, Julie Mahler, Linda Monson, Jean Moore, Ami Motro, Patricia Moyer-Packenham, Peter Pober, William Reeder, Larry Rockwood, James Sanford, Joseph Scimecca, Suzanne Slayden, Peter Stearns, Cliff Sutton, June Tangney, Susan Trencher, Phil Wiest, Stanley Zoltek.


Senators Absent:  Russ Brayley, Sara Cobb, Lloyd Cohen, Charlene Douglas, Jeffrey Gorrell, Lloyd Griffiths, Kingsley Haynes, Bruce Johnsen, Kristin Johnsen-Neshati, Menas Kafatos, Matthew Karush, Richard Klimoski, Jim Kozlowski, Alan Merten, Robert Nadeau, Lisa Pawloski, Paula Petrik, Daniel Polsby, Jane Razeghi, Daniele Struppa, Tojo Thatchenkery, Ellen Todd, Shirley Travis, Iosif Vaisman, James Willett, Mary Williams, John Zenelis.


Visitors Present: Sergei Andronikov (GIS Coordinator/Director and Associate Professor, Geography), Joani Bedore (Term Assistant Professor of Communication), Debra Bergoffen (Professor of Philosophy), Andrew Bickford (Assistant Professor, Sociology & Anthropology), Don Boileau (Professor of Communication), Mark Cooley (Assistant Professor, Art and Visual Technology),  Alan H. Christensen (Associate Professor, Molecular and Microbiology),  Daniel N. Cox (Assistant Professor, Molecular and Microbiology), Nancy Dickerson (Director, Academic Advising Center), Patricia Donini (Employee Relations Director and Deputy Director, Human Resources), Esther Elstun (Professor of German and Senator emerita),  Jane Flinn (Associate Professor, Psychology),  Laura Fyfe (Visiting Instructor, French), Linda Harber (Assistant Vice President, Human Resources and Payroll), Robin Herron (Editor, Mason Gazette), Mark Jacobs (Associate Professor, Sociology & Anthropology),  Evans Mandes (Professor of Art & Visual Technology), Carrie Meyer (Associate Professor, Economics),Janette Muir (Associate Professor, New Century College), Elavie Ndura (Associate Professor, Initiatives in Educational Tranformation), Ann Palkovich (Associate Professor, Sociology & Anthropology), Teresa Panniers (Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs in Nursing), Della Patrick (Staff Senate Liaison), Frank Allen Philpot (Assistant Professor, Marketing), Alex Pieterse (Assistant Professor, College of Education & Human Development), Victoria Rader (Associate Professor, Sociology & Anthropology), Ilse Riddick (Compensation Manager, Human Resources and Payroll), Alexei Samsonovich (Assistant Research Professor, Krasnow Institute), Cathy Saunders (Assistant Professor, English), Morrie Scherrens (Senior Vice President), Linda Seligmann (Professor of Sociology & Anthropology), Sabine Sievern (Term Assistant Professor, German) Bob Smith (Professor and Chair, Psychology), James Snead (Assistant Professor, Sociology & Anthropology), Jeanne Sorrell (Associate Dean for Academic Programs & Research, College of Nursing & Health Science), Karen Studd (Associate Professor, Dance), Steve Vallas (Professor and Chair, Sociology & Anthropology), Janet Walker (Human Resources & Payroll/Staff Senate), Cathy Wright (Term Instructor, Communication), Margaret Yocom (Associate Professor, English), Terry Zawacki (Director, Writing Across the Curriculum).


Call to Order and Introductory Remarks:  The meeting was called to order at 3:02 p.m.  Chair Dave Kuebrich thanked those in attendance for taking the time to attend the meeting at such a busy point in the semester.  Special thanks were accorded to the members of the Faculty Task Force on Salary Issues for putting in a great deal of time in order to prepare the preliminary report on which the ensuing discussion will be based. A final report will be presented by the Task Force in Fall 2006 at which time the Faculty Senate will vote on any recommendations included in the report. 


The Chair also expressed the thanks of the Faculty Senate and the Task Force for the cooperation of Faculty Senates in our SCHEV peer institutions as well as the national office of the American Association of University Professors for their assistance in providing requested data, and went on to note that there is much interest in this issue nationwide.  Current plans are to send a report to a report to Academe and the Chronicle of Higher Education.


Ground Rules for the meeting:  Consistent with all Senate meetings, Senators and visitors may all contribute to the discussion.  To provide an opportunity for the maximum number of speakers, the Chair will recognize all speakers once before recognizing any speaker twice. Sergeant-at-Arms Jean Moore will monitor a two minute per speaker limit.  Anyone wishing to ask a question but remain anonymous is encouraged to submit their question in writing to the Task Force on index cards provided and collected by Sergeant-at-Arms Patricia Moyer-Packenham.  Speakers will not be identified by name in the minutes once the discussion has begun. Attendees are encouraged to provide further feedback, questions, and comments following the conclusion of today’s meeting. Finally, candid remarks are encouraged, but should be directed to policy issues rather than personal ones to ensure a productive and civil discussion.


Rick Coffinberger (SOM), Chair of the Task Force and member of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate introduced his Task Force colleagues: Richard Carver (IT&E), Julie Mahler (CLAHS- Public and International Affairs), Rich Rubenstein (ICAR), June Tangney (CLAHS – Psychology), and Michael Ferri (SOM) and thanked them for the time already committed.  The Task Force, formed 5 weeks ago, has met once a week.  The Sergeant-at-Arms was asked to distribute copies of the preliminary report (previously sent to all faculty via email) to anyone who requested it. 


The Chair announced the purpose of the Task Force as part of an effort to engage in important dialogue dealing with salaries of instructional faculty and administrative faculty, in the latter instance, particularly at higher levels.  Keeping in mind that the report is a work in progress and that no recommendations are being considered at this time, the Task Force’s main objective today is to gather comments and suggestions. 


The Chair referred to Tables 2 and 4 (below) to illustrate issues of significance for instructional faculty:




Fall 2000

Fall 2001

Fall 2002



Fall 2004








+6,944 (+10.58%)

60th Percentile






+8,287 (+12.59%)

George Mason






+4,534 (+6.78%)

            Source: GMU Factbooks.


 In Table 2 (above) it appears that instructional faculty at GMU made some gains (FY2000-2004), but the Chair pointed out that interpreting the Table cannot be done in isolation and must be seen relative to other institutions (the averge SCHEV identified peer institution did better than GMU by 4%) and further that there has been no ground gained on the goal set by the GMU administration some years ago to bring instructional faculty salaries at GMU to the 60% percentile.  Salaries for instructional faculty remain well below that range.



                               VA Institution

Cost of Living Index              

Its SCHEV Peer Institutions Cost of Living  (Ave.)

William & Mary               









VA Tech










The cost of living at GMU is significantly higher than at other SCHEV peer institutions. GMU’s falling behind has been exacerbated by two primary factors: (1) SCHEV peer institution faculty members have received better raises, and (2) they have a lower cost of living than GMU.  Further,  cost of living adjustment (COLA) for other Virginia universities has brought them closer to their peer institutions than GMU is to it’s peer institutions.




Fall 2000    

Fall 2004        

5 Year Increase


5 Year Increase

























Vice Provost*      






CAS Dean     






SCS Dean       






CEHD Dean 






SITE Dean   






SOL Dean    






SOM Dean 






NHS Dean                                                                        





SPP Dean   






VPA Dean  






                .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 5 (above) which focuses on positions rather than persons, demonstrates how funding for academic leadership positions has grown between FY 2000 – FY 2004. Of note is the additional factor that no monies were earmarked for raises in the state budget for a 3 year period.

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


     60th Percentile

      80th Percentile




2005 Salary Increase

2005 % Increase








Senior VP














Assoc. Provost  







Dean of Arts & Sci.







Dean, Education







Dean, Engineering







Dean, Law







Dean, Mgmt.







Dean, Nursing 







Dean, Vis. Perf. Arts







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.


The following Tables were compiled to provide a comparison of upper-level administrator salaries at GMU with high level positions in federal, state and relevant local government, since both groups act in the role of public servants, and have large responsibilities.



Salaries of Selected Federal Officials (2005)


Annual Salary



Vice President






Majority and Minority Leaders


Speaker of the House


Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court


Assoc. Justice, U.S. Supreme Court


Source: Federal Office of Personnel Management.











New York









*Rounded to nearest dollar.






County Executive


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

Superintendent of Schools


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

Source: Fairfax County Government


Following the statement by the Chair of the Task Force and the brief narrative accompanying the Tables as presented, the floor was opened to questions and comments.


Question/Comment #1:  We are doing particularly badly at the Assistant Professor salary level in comparison with other institutions.  This has a major impact on our ability to hire new faculty.  Our department conducted a major search, bringing in six candidates at our expense.  Among the six candidates, the department voted for four.  So far all four have turned us down, primarily because of money.  Is this an anomaly at the university, or is it typical?  

Task Force Response:  This is not an isolated incident. A similar example from the School of Management was noted. In general, Task Force research thus far reveals that GMU cannot meet the salary demands of higher quality assistant professor candidates.


Question/Comment #2:  While the average raise for administrative staff is 8%; this does not mean that those at the lower end received that amount.   However, Associate Dean salaries range from $129,000 - $164,000 which prorated at 9 months (75% ) range between $96,000 - $121,000.  In examining a list (alphabetically, A-G) of all full professors’, salaries were as follows :  23 full professors earned less than $96,000; 40+ earned less than $121,000.  The evidence shows that excluding full professors brought in over the last five years with national and international reputations, there is a real disparity since Full Professors earn less than Associate Deans.

Task Force Response:  The Task Force looked briefly at salaries from 2005-2006.  The data is hard to manage for those who changed from 9 month to 12 month faculty, so it is necessary to be cautious in the following the interpretation of that data.  The average raise for a 9 month faculty member (774) was 6.64%; for 12 month faculty member (69) was 7.95%.  The average raise for 389 administrative faculty was 7.92%.  The duties that fall under those with titles that identify them as administrative personnel covers a wide spectrum of duties.  In looking at administrative faculty who were here last year and this year earning more than $100,000 (69), the average raise was 8.7%.  At this point it is difficult for the Task Force to provide an easily accessible compilation of material, but the members are happy to take further questions and to distribute available information via email.

 Question/Comment#3 : The Provost expressed his wish that the administration had had  an opportunity to review the Task Force report before it was released and to have had the opportunity to meet with the Task Force to identify instances of mistakes in single data.  He noted that interesting challenges arise around the focus on issues of internal balance or inadequacy, as well disparities that emerge among different kinds of positions, making it ultimately difficult to decide what to emphasize, but announced his willingness to work with the  Task Force.  He agreed that assistant professor salaries are too low, and asked the Deans on (the prior)Tuesday to see what we need in order to bring assistant professor salaries to more comparable levels as well as look at why this has slipped.  The Provost noted that in the next legislative round, there will again be an effort to address the COLA and wants to work jointly to address particular strategies for faculty and administrators as there is a lot of common ground to cover.  COLA affects faculty categories in a number of areas, and the Provost hopes to get the state budget to address this problem.

Task Force Reponse:  The concept of working together very reassuring.  In the view of one Task Force member, the issue was not to say administrators should be paid less, but to try to push faculty up to the same level (80%).  In trajectories over time, the differences are especially troubling.  A COLA report presented in 2001 by a former faculty senator (now on the faculty of the University of Virginia) pointed to the need to aggressively move for COLA at that time. The refusal of the COLA request made in 2005 was discouraging.


Question/Comment#4:  Regarding the issue of higher salaries for administrators, a department chair noted it is not a lot of fun to be an administrator.  He noted that five years ago he was willing to step down as Chair of his department, but a sizable rate (salary) increase induced him to stay on.  He asserted that there are not a lot of candidates for administrative positions and the market economy affects administrators as well as faculty.

Task Force Response:  The issue raised by the Faculty Senate and subsequently the Task Force, is not a question of parity, but equity.  Faculty want to prosper too.  GMU administrators’ salaries at the 80th percentile, while faculty salaries at the 48th percentile.  There are other inequities as well which when not addressed, creates a serious morale problem since in effect faculty become second class citizens in the university community.  Of 512 administrative personnel, $38,000,000 plus constitutes 32% of total salary pool; 12 month/9 month faculty receive 67.5% of total salary without adjuncts for whom we spend a lot of money.  Is the ratio of 32.5 % administrative salaries/67.5% instructional faculty salaries high enough to ensure top quality administrators or is it too high?  We will compare this with other universities.


Question/Comment#5:  The speaker congratulated the Task Force on its work and suggested additional analysis:


Task Force Response:  There is a whole category of administrative faculty who do not have this function.  There are many data management problems.  The idea to get data from Virginia institutions is commendable and will be pursued.  It was noted that the Task Force had requested but had been denied by the Provost, the opportunity to make use of a database that the university has access to.  As a result, the Task Force had to go to individual Faculty Senates around the state; that data is still coming in.  Salary data provided by Human Resources is available in the library is updated every 6 months and for several years the Faculty Senate has posted salary information on the website to which GMU faculty have access. 


Question/Comment #6:  Regarding academic/corporate modes of government labor and how they conflict with each other.

Task Force Response:  The question was interpreted as follows:  Is the corporate model of compensation appropriate for a government institution?  In looking at debates in the Chronicle of Higher Education over the past few years, there are differences of opinion.  The committee has not focused on whether the corporate model is in place at GMU. We need to pull together a little more on issues such as COLA. 


Question/Comment #7:  Department chairs are not considered administrators.  Could they be pulled separately, incorporated into administrative data?

Task Force Response:  We would have to do this by hand, but it is feasible.


QUESTION/COMMENT #8:  The speaker expressed the biggest concern for people at the bottom:  PhDs earning $30,000 vs. public school salaries beginning at $40,000-$45,000 with/without masters’ degrees.  Once you hire someone at a low salary level; then give them a 3% raise, they will never get off the ground.  The Task Force is urged to make special efforts to look at the Instructor category.  A large infusion of cash would be needed which might cause funds to be cut somewhere else.  Ironically this also exists in some research appointments where secretaries earn more than faculty, which creates disorientation among faculty.  There has to be a priority for this group; it is embarrassing to advertise for PhDs at $30,000.

Task Force Response:  The Task Force received an email from a colleague who is teaching overload with a salary in the low $30,000 range who is also teaching courses at other institutions.  The colleague in question was present at the meeting, and chose to make her identity and her situation public. She noted that she has been teaching for seventeen years at the college level because she loves to teach. With $47,000 defined as a living wage in the GMU region, it is very tough to live on the $30,000+ which is her salary from GMU.


Question/Comment: #9:  The administration should take a proactive approach regarding how administrative salaries are set.  What kinds of performance measures are applied and published?  Re Table 6 administrators’ salaries in 80% - on what basis are these salaries assigned?  In a corporate situation, Boards of Directors/CEOs decide in a “clubby” way.  The speaker said he was not questioning anyone’s integrity, but noted that we have a serious problem with  associate/assistant professors’ salaries and it is disruptive to morale.

Task Force Response:  There is a need for real leadership on this issue.


Question/Comment #10:  With reference to trajectory, the salary equity study committee has asked for longitudinal data.  (The Provost noted that he has not received this request, but that there is no barrier to working very closely on this).  It was suggested that GMU implement the practice of  “intermediate sanctions” used by many universities in which an outside audit committee looks at raises, then submits a report to the BOV.

Task Force Response:  Members noted that large non-profits use a similar process; outside consultants look at similar institutions, and that this could be a useful step for GMU. 


Question/Comment # 11: The speaker, a member of the Faculty Senate, reminded everybody to turn in their Faculty Evaluation of Administrators’ survey and expressed the hope that the results of the survey could become part of the criteria for evaluating administrators.


Question/Comment #12:  The speaker referred to a recently seen job listing at the University of California – Davis that stated that if anyone hired for the vacant position could not expect to be able to live within an hour of the university based on the available salary.  This has become an important problem at GMU as many colleagues must live far from the Fairfax campus where the majority of classes are held.  This prevents colleagues from becoming part of the university community.  A request was made that in addition to examining the disparity between faculty and administrators, that the Task Force also evaluate disparities between departments; at least to break down by schools and programs to get a more accurate picture of what exists.  It was also stressed that we need to follow up on how widespread the problem of faculty with low salaries teaching heavy loads is.

Task Force Response:  We need to get school data from Human Resources.  The Task Force hopes that each Dean will provide an annual report with exactly how much money was spent within each unit in the college.  Some things current in the budget are not identifiable. The Task Force asked that each Dean comply with the post-Enron response in budget transparency/disclosure in clear readable amounts and appropriate comprehensible details that specify amounts and programs.  Another Task Force member expressed the view that we should not get into micromanaging deans, or to suggest that we are like Enron.  The Task Force also noted that while our focus has been looking at instructional faculty, our support staff is in a worse position and it is the hope of the Task Force members that  whatever progress we make will benefit instructional faculty and staff as well. 


Question/Comment #13:  In listening to all the comments and complaints, it is clear that something is not working because the morale of the faculty is not at the level it should be.  (Referring to a comment made by the Rector of the Board at a previous Faculty Senate Meeting)  “not everyone is walking around with a smile.”   We need more transparency.  In my department, we lost two consecutive applicants because we could not offer more than $45,000; one applicant was offered $13,000 more somewhere else.  What good does it make to become a Full Professor – if only a $1,000 salary increase and you need to spend years doing research, writing it up etc. (to qualify to apply for Full Professor).  The university does not reward loyalty.  A professor with an endowed chair at another university asked why do associate professors earn more than I do?  Response:  because you don’t threaten to leave.  I earn $60,000 after 22 years here.  Is it fair to match a higher offer out of department monies?  Some one else will suffer.  Term appointments in the department earn $28,400; with Ph.D in hand, $30,000.  Who can live on this?  One faculty member (the speaker knew) had to obtain a co-signer in order to lease an apartment because his salary was to low to qualify on his own.


Question/Comment #14:  If more money was given to hire faculty at a reasonable level, level, departments could rotate the position of chair more frequently, and the administrative burden could be shared on a rotating basis.  To bring in new people with new ideas (is important) and (we) lose innovation by keeping salaries low.

Task Force Response:  What we see are the related costs of being underpaid.


Question/Comment #15:  A colleague who has served as an assistant professor for the last twelve years is leaving for another institution at twice the salary.  We will continue to lose assistant professors if we don’t support them.  (The speaker was concerned that we are at) a very critical point, and encouraged the Task Force to figure out the cost commuting exacts on productivity; accessibility to colleagues, and research.  In regard to faculty housing, first crack should be given to assistant professors to reduce cost of housing even more, as a way to draw additional people. 


Question/Comment #16:  It is clear when all raises are defined by percentages that the problem of inequity continues to grow.  The example was cited of a young colleague paid to co-teach at $2,500 with someone paid $10,000 more.  Inequities at the lower level of faculty salaries are a real issue.


Question/Comment #17:  In 31 years of service here, the same story has been heard over and over.  The university is always “in transition” and workload issues get worse.  We cannot be a world class university without a world class faculty.  Some faculty cannot afford to retire because their pay is so low (they have been unable to put sufficient money into retirement funds).  The University does not support us acting as professionals; some faculty cannot even make long distance calls; no travel money exists.  When some percentage is announced for a faculty raise – 5 or 5.5.%; - by the time it trickles down, it’s a fraction of that (after cuts of the raise pool made by upper level administrators).  Having less money available, undermines morale.


Question/Comment #18: 

 In IT&E we have succeeded in attracting new faculty at higher salaries; however someone who has been here for ten years doesn’t make much more; so it’s more than just a salary issue.

Task Force Response:  In telling prospective new faculty of their high salaries in relation to other department colleagues, you might scare folks away as they realize the long term implications.  A member of our department refuses to see candidates any more; does not wish to trick them into coming here. 


QUESTION/COMMENT #19:  There needs to be a careful review of the performance of administrators.  Those who earn high salaries may not always be doing well, although most people do.


QUESTION/COMMENT #20:  One of our faculty members has a PhD and has earned $35,000 for years. He is very demoralized.  While he has served on other hiring committees – to give people a room of their own; hopes no one is moving across the country to make this little – Salary Matrix for full time four courses term $21,000 –21,720.  Others are putting together (income) from different campuses.

Task Force Response:  As we listen to the amount of teaching adjuncts and term faculty are doing; we might ask, what are we paying per student? 


Question/Comment #21:  Another way to raise your salary is to become an administrative faculty member.  It’s the wrong message to give if you become as Associate Dean you will increase your salary more than if you became a Full Professor.  As far as I know there is no national reputation for associate deans.




We see statistics as a starting point.  We want to get ideas from you about how we can better organize and have more leverage on this issue with the administration and the legislature, and to think hard about ways as a group we can organize and be effective.  The timing of creative thinking and recommendations are perfect.  The BOV is very interested in defining what makes a great university.  How to make working here as professionals most attractive is part of the way we move toward becoming a great university.


The meeting adjourned at 4:21 p.m.