Faculty salary study recommends changes

Longstanding underfunding by the state Legislature is the major impediment to faculty salary increases, according to a recently completed report by a Faculty Senate salary committee. Salary compression is also a concern.

The Faculty Affairs Committee and Faculty Senate will be considering salary issues, including those raised in the report, and will make recommendations to the WSU administration in the near future. Comments may be made to Michael Kallaher, Faculty Affairs Committee chair, at mkallaher@wsu.edu. The report can be found ONLINE @ www.facsen.wsu.edu/reports/faculty_Salary.

The report notes that underfunding is not unique to WSU: “Inadequate funding of salary increases is causing similar problems at public universities across the country.”

However, WSU faculty salaries lag behind those of its peer institutions (22 land-grant universities with veterinary schools) and five universities across the state (the University of Washington at Seattle and its Tacoma and Bothell branch campuses, Whitman and Seattle University).

Also, longtime full professors sometimes make less than assistant, associate or full professors with shorter time at WSU. Salary compression develops over time due to a variety of factors, including changes in market salaries at times of hire, promotional raises, and salary allocations for merit and equity.

The report makes four recommendations for internal change and three for external change to improve faculty salaries at WSU:

• Institute a new “full professor 2” rank. This would offer additional performance recognition as well as a promotional salary increase. 

• Set norms for market salary adjustments. Some recent adjustments seem extraordinarily large and reduce raises for other faculty members. 

• Institute across-the-board salary increases in years when the average salary allocation is less than the rate of inflation.

• Form equity redress committees of faculty and administrators at regular intervals (every 10 years, for example).

• Seek, in concert with the University of Washington, a one-time major appropriation from the Legislature to bring each institution’s average salary up to the average salary of its peers. 

• Seek ongoing approval from the Legislature to supplement salary allocations with local funds.

• Develop alternative, nonstate sources of funding for salary increases through endowments.

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