Financial discrepancies persist as professors in different academic departments are not paid equally, even if they hold the same position, according to the Human Resources department of the California State University system.
In the HR department’s most recent Faculty Recruitment and Retention Survey encompassing Fall 2011 faculty statistics, newly hired assistant professors in the business/management disciplines were the most highly paid.
Same job, $36,000 difference
Judith Hennessey, interim dean of the College of Business and Economics, said the high salary for new assistant professors in business and management is due in large part to having to provide incentives for people experienced in these in high-demand fields come to CSUN.
“We have a very, very tough time competing for employees in the talent pool of candidates,” Hennessey said. “While the salary offering is higher than other academic areas, we’re still well below what other educational institutions offer new Ph. D. level employees.”
Hennessey said qualified individuals with experience in the industry and Ph.D.’s are important to be sure that the degrees of students who graduate in business are respected.
“Do you either try to get quality (new hires) as older employees retire, or do you not hire qualified people, without which you don’t get accredited?” she said. “There are very many companies that won’t hire students that don’t come from a program that’s accredited.”
The average salary for newly hired assistant professors in business/management was $97,392 in Fall 2011. This compares to the lowest paid newly hired assistant professors, in humanities disciplines, who made an average salary of $61,228.
Elizabeth Say, dean of the College of Humanities, said that lower salaries in the humanities department is not a phenomena unique to CSUN.
“I think that’s a national issue, and not just a CSU issue,” Say said. “It probably has something to do with supply and demand things.”
Say said that people who earn degrees in humanities disciplines might be in less demand by private corporations than their counterparts in fields outside the department, resulting in lower salary offerings.
“If you’re a physicist, you have a bigger market in job offerings in private corporations and in higher education,” Say said.
Say said this discrepancy in salary does not affect work performance within the College of Humanities.
“Are there folks who want to make more money? Yes,” she said. “But we don’t go into this because we expect to become rich. We go into this because we’re passionate about what we do and what we teach.”
Dr. Penelope Jennings, associate vice president of Faculty Affairs at CSUN, said multiple factors are considered when determining a new faculty member’s salary.
“Within a department or discipline, the provost and dean would look at (the new employee’s rank) at time of hire, education, and prior experience,” Jennings said. “Also, the department/college budget.”
The range of compensation that is able to be considered for a new faculty member is set by the faculty contract negotiated by the California Faculty Association.
For example, an assistant professor at CSUN who teaches during the academic year must make a minimum of $49,716 a year, with a maximum of $111,504.
Iliana Carvajal, confidential support in Faculty Affairs, said that new faculty members in an academic department typically start as assistant professors.
“From there, they are then promoted to associate professor and eventually they are promoted one last time to professor,” she said. “Basically the goal of an assistant and associate professor is to become a professor in their department.”
Large disparities in income for the same work label are seen in administration as well as academic faculty appointments.
For example, people in positions that Human Resources calls Administrator IV positions see a salary range of $150,000 to $225,000.
On the $150,000 end of the spectrum is the position of executive director of the University Corporation. At $225,000 is the position of provost and vice president of academic affairs.
“Someone in an Administrator IV position is a campus leader,” Jill Smith, associate vice president of Human Resources, said. “They’re generally (vice presidents of university departments) or deans.”
The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the CSU system and the California Faculty Association describes an administrator as an employee who serves in a position designated as management of supervisory.
The different labels for administrators on campus are designated with numerals I through IV and signify different types of job responsibilities.
“The different levels of administrators (I, II, III, and IV) represent different levels of responsibility, authority, and scope of impact on campus,” Smith said.
Titles in the Administrator I category include the director of audience services at the VPAC, assistant directors in admissions, and associate budget analysts.
Administrator II positions include the director of marketing and communications for the Tseng College, and the associate director of student housing and conference services.
Administrator III titles include the associate vice president of undergraduate studies, associate deans, and the associate vice president of development in University Advancement.
In general, the higher the administrator level, the higher the salary, but there are a few exceptions where this is not the case.
“There is overlap within the administrators’ salary ranges to accommodate varying degrees of technical specialties as well as organizational structure/design,” Smith said. “For example, an experienced Administrator I in a highly specialized field may have a higher salary than an Administrator II with a broader scope of responsibility, but working in a less technical field.”
Smith said the factors in determining administrator salaries are like those used to come up with professors’ salaries.
“We look at the qualifications, the experience, and the role they will be serving at the university,” Smith said. “We try to maintain equity and compare to other educational institutions.”
Despite the comparatively larger salaries Administrator IV positions see over other positions, there has not been a pay increase for these positions in the past few years.
“Administrators haven’t received an increase in salary for the last five years,” Smith said. “There has not been money for pay increases. It’s a difficult time. People have been expanding their roles (to compensate for a lack of funding).”