[The resolution at the end of this report was endorsed by the Faculty Senate on April 3, 2000.]
April 3, 2000
The Faculty Senate Budget Committee shares President Gilley's ambition to improve the University of Tennessee so that it may be recognized as one of the top 25 public universities in the United States. As salaries are the most significant component of the university budget, a clearly developed salary policy is a crucial tool for fulfilling the mission of the university.
As a first step towards this goal, our committee has worked to analyze faculty salaries at the University of Tennessee in relation to other universities in the Southern University Group. The Southern University Group (SUG) comprises thirty institutions, including the nine other peer institutions for UT as designated by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). Through information provided by the Office of the Executive Director for Budget and Finance, we compiled salary data for our campus in relation to the Southern University Group.
We directed the Budget Office to provide the committee with high, low and mean salaries for all ranks (Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor and Instructor) for every academic unit on campus and comparable data for SUG institutions. Median salaries are not available for SUG since these are aggregates of 30 institutions.
While the Budget Office was able to provide us with UTK data for both 1998-1999 and 1999-2000, the most recent SUG data are for fiscal year 1998-1999. For this reason, we focused our analysis on just the 1998-1999 fiscal year for both UTK and SUG.
The UTK averages are prepared by the Office of Institutional Research each year based on the October payroll (this gives time for new faculty to be on the payroll). Data for UTK are then supplied to The University of Oklahoma and they prepare a salary study. We then ask them for data based on different criteria. They do not supply us individual school data, but only the aggregate of those schools supplied to them as comprising the SUG.
It should be noted that the Budget Office could not provide the committee with data on the number, level of compensation and percentage of FTE's taught by part-time adjunct instructors. Our inquiries to the Dean's office in the College of Arts and Sciences showed that, while they keep track of extra section courses taught by adjunct faculty, these courses are funded by different sources. (Some are funded at the department level, while others are funded at the college level.) So, neither the College of Arts and Sciences nor the university has a clear picture of the extent of our use of part-time faculty.
The Faculty Senate Budget Committee analyzed the data to look for:
To assess these areas of concern, the following tables are presented.
- Disparities in salaries across the disciplines.
- Compression between ranks within the disciplines.
- Departments where salaries fall relatively far below SUG averages.
These tables will be posted on the Faculty Senate web site.
- Alphabetical listing by academic unit summarizing the data used to prepare the other tables.
- Ranked mean salaries of Full Professors.
- Ranked ratios of salaries for Full Professors to the corresponding SUG averages.
- Ranked ratios of salaries for Associate Professors to the corresponding SUG averages.
- Ranked ratios of salaries for Assistant Professors to the corresponding SUG averages.
- Ranked ratios of the mean salaries of Full Professors to those of Associate Professors.
- Ranked ratios of the mean salaries of Associate Professors to those of Assistant Professors.
Data for the University of Tennessee show that faculty salaries for most units are below market averages (data from the Southern University Group), and are below SUG averages in many disciplines that have been identified as "Outstanding Programs Related to Thematic Areas of Strength" (Feb. 1998 Notes from Academic Affairs).
Our analysis shows that the disparity between the disciplines is not only a function of market pressures. The mean for Full Professors in our highest paid academic units is often at or above the corresponding SUG average. But this mean is as low as 0.78 of the SUG average in our lowest paid unit. (See Table 3.)
These data suggest that the University of Tennessee needs a clearly articulated Faculty Salary Policy. While the disparity between salaries in different disciplines is an understandable consequence of market pressures, we think it unnecessary that some academic units fall much further below SUG averages than do other units. The practice of awarding salary pools to a given academic unit as a percentage of its base salary tends to perpetuate this problem.
Additionally, the data show that we are experiencing significant compression (a compression ratio near or below 1.00) in some disciplines. (See Tables 6 and 7.)
The lack of tracking our reliance on part-time adjunct instructors is a significant issue that the university needs to address.
The Faculty Senate Budget Committee recognizes that these data offer useful tools for formulating a Faculty Salary Policy that can enable the University to better fulfill its mission. While issues such as salary compression, salary disparity between disciplines, and increasing reliance on part-time instructors can be addressed in the future, we offer the following resolution for consideration at the April 3, 2000, Faculty Senate Meeting.
Resolved, that the Faculty Senate recommends that the Provost of the University of Tennessee:
- Conduct and publish an annual summary of faculty salary data from the Southern University Group to provide comparative data for The University of Tennessee.
- Implement procedures to bring the mean salary for each rank with three or more faculty in all academic units at the University of Tennessee to at least 95% of the corresponding SUG average.
- Implement procedures to bring the mean salary for each rank with three or more faculty in all academic units at the University of Tennessee that have been identified as "Outstanding Programs Related to Thematic Areas of Strength" to at least 105% of the corresponding SUG average.
- Conduct and publish an annual summary of part-time instruction, including the number of sections, level of compensation and percentage of FTE's taught, for each academic unit at the University of Tennessee.
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