Campus News

University Council: More state funding needed for faculty salaries

Responding to a sharp drop in faculty salary levels over the past six years, the University Council has called for increased state funding for salaries and steps to correct compression and gender disparities in faculty salaries.

At its Dec. 7 meeting, the council approved three recommendations regarding salaries submitted by the Faculty Affairs Committee. The recommendations were in a report that shows the percentage increase for UGA faculty salaries between fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2006 was the third-lowest among 16 national peer institutions and third-lowest among 12 major Southern universities.

According to the report, UGA faculty salaries rose 14.7 percent in the six-year period while salaries for public doctoral institutions nationally climbed 19.7 percent. In 2000, UGA salaries were seventh among 16 universities identified by the board of regents as UGA peer institutions; today UGA salaries are 13th.

UGA salaries were sixth among 16 schools identified by the Southern Regional Education Board as comparable flagship institutions in 2000, and today are 14th.

“These have been lean years for salaries,” said David Shipley, chair of the committee, in presenting the report. “It’s clear that salaries have slipped dramatically.”

The report notes that salary increases resulting from several years of 6 percent raises in the mid-1990s have been eroded by much smaller increases since 2000. Shipley presented a chart showing that in fall 2005, average salaries of UGA faculty at all levels were below average salaries at 12 national peer institutions, with gaps ranging from 8 percent for full professors to one-half percent for new assistant professors.

UGA would need $8.8 million in salary increases to catch up to the average of the 12 schools, according to Shipley.

The report notes that UGA administrators have said salary increases will be top priority this year with the board of regents, General Assembly and governor. One of the recommendations calls for salary increases to get high priority every year.

A second recommendation calls on deans, department heads and chairs to develop plans to correct unwarranted instances of salary compression and inversion, and gender disparity, in their units and provide the administration with cost estimates for these corrections.

The third recommendation asks that, as a barrier against future salary compression and inversion, base salary amounts be raised for promotion to the ranks of associate professor and full professor.

Following the unanimous vote to approve the recommendations, President Michael F. Adams said he will send the report and a cover letter to the chancellor of the university system.

In other council business, Susan Mattern-Parkes, chair of the council’s Executive Committee, urged faculty members to attend functions where they can interact with university alumni. ­Mattern-Parkes said she has talked to alumni while attending meetings of the Arch Foundation and found they are eager to meet and talk with faculty.

Alumni have a deep affection for the university and provide crucial support for academic programs through private donations, according to Mattern-Parkes.

“We should take opportunities to communicate our love for UGA and what we teach and talk about our vision for the future greatness of the university,” she said. “Alumni will find this inspiring, and it will benefit students and faculty.”