In response to “What’s an employee worth,” originally published April 9.
On April 9, the Daily Sundial published faculty and staff earnings for the fiscal year 2005/06. This data is accurate for the time period reported, but it is important to know what it is that is being reported. Sometimes publications print information intended to increase readers’ knowledge of an issue, but information without context is often misleading.
Salaries listed include earnings for a year, but the raw data does not detail things like the percentage of appointment before additional assignments or pay earned for a prior pay period. Therefore, making conclusions about people and their pay can be misleading based upon this data.
Pay is also a function of longevity and occupational specialty. For example, some faculty positions in high demand and staff positions in technical fields, such as Information Technology, require higher salaries in order to attract qualified candidates to our university.
Finally, almost all faculty and staff are represented by a union with respect to salaries. This has a significant impact on salary distribution over the course of time.
In summary, this salary listing is an accurate snapshot of earnings during a specific period of time, but caution should be used when making conclusions based upon this raw data.
Bob Foldesi Associate Vice President Office of Human Resources
I just finished reading your “article” on “What’s an Employee Worth” and found it very lacking. What is your point? If your point was to show the disparity among faculty salaries, you did a very poor job and just muddied the waters by showing everyone’s salary. You state no sources for your information other than published salaries. I thought newspaper articles were supposed to state “who,” “what,” “when” and “where.” You have no subject, argument or conclusion.
There is also difference between tenure-track and part-time lecturers. It depends on how many classes one teaches as to the salary scale. Further, you do not show length of service, which also paints a very different picture from what you portray. Do your homework.
So besides causing an uproar over who makes more or less, you have not stated what this edition is supposed to point out and why this information was published in the first place.
And by the way, you state the reason all salaries were listed was because the university does not provide separate lists for faculty, staff and administrators. Well, the most basic sort in a spreadsheet format would have easily separated the three groups.
Susan Mueller California State University, Northridge Department of History
To the Editors:
While the editors of the Daily Sundial never actually explain why they published a list of employee names and salaries (“What’s an Employee Worth?” April 9), they seem to think they have done some groundbreaking investigative journalism by doing so. Certainly, had the editors assigned their reporters the tasks of sifting through this information and providing some context for these numbers, like the salary ranges within a given rank (professor, associate professor, etc.), and/or the disparities in salary ranges among colleges within the University (Humanities v. Engineering and Computer Science, etc.), the information could have been useful, enlightening, interesting. This kind of article would have taken some legwork and thought, which is what groundbreaking investigative journalism requires. Instead, the editors tell us the University doesn’t break down the information (so apparently they couldn’t), and that they have made what they call a “big gesture” by publishing what is unfiltered and hence useless, if potentially provocative, information. That’s not radical or groundbreaking; it’s simply lazy. What a wasted opportunity.
Dr. Beth Wightman Assistant Professor Director, Honors Program