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June 10, 2010

Pittsburgh campus faculty pay loses ground, librarians rank unchanged

An annual faculty pay analysis shows the University’s Pittsburgh campus faculty lost ground but librarians held steady in 2009-10 compared to average pay at the 33 other public Association of American Universities (AAU) institutions in the nation.

For the first time, faculty at Pitt’s Bradford, Greensburg and Johnstown regional campuses were reported as a single unit and ranked against a long-debated new peer group. (See March 4 University Times.)

Faculty pay at Pitt’s regionals ranked near the middle of the 231-member peer group made up of public and private category II-B (undergraduate baccalaureate-level) institutions in the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) Middle Atlantic, East North Central and South Atlantic regions.

The University Senate budget policies committee at its May 28 meeting reviewed the report prepared by Pitt’s Management Information and Analysis office. Given the difficult economic situation facing institutions nationwide, BPC chair John J. Baker commented, “I think it looks quite good when you consider the circumstances.”

Faculty pay at Pitt-Titusville, a category III (associate degree-level) institution, was not compared in this study but figures are available as part of the AAUP annual faculty salary report in the March-April 2010 issue of its publication Academe.

The Pitt report’s faculty data are for full-time instructional faculty as found in the AAUP salary report. Librarian salary data come from the Association of Research Libraries’ annual salary survey. (See April 15 University Times.)

Click to download salary comparison charts of full professors, associate professors, assistant professors and librarians.

Pittsburgh campus

On the Pittsburgh campus, full professors (averaging $128,300) fell to No. 17 in the public AAU peer group, down from 15th in the 2008-09 report. Associate professors  (averaging $84,600) dropped five places to No. 20. Assistant professors (averaging $70,100) fell to No. 27, down from 26th. Librarians (averaging $66,600) remained at No. 20.

“We’re never happy to see declines,” said Robert F. Pack , vice provost for Academic Planning and Resources Management and a chancellor’s liaison to BPC. “We particularly want to look carefully at assistant professors,” he said, adding that ensuring competitive pay at that rank “becomes sort of self correcting over a long period of time” as those faculty members move through the ranks.

Compared to last year, Pitt professors’ average salaries rose 0.8 percent. Associate professors’ average pay fell 1.2 percent and assistant professors’ average pay fell 1.4 percent. Librarians’ average pay gained 0.2 percent.

Although there was a pay freeze at Pitt, the University’s average salary figures are not the same as in the 2008-09 report due to hiring, promotions and retirements that alter the composition of each faculty rank from year to year.

Additionally, Pack noted that some Pitt faculty were promoted last year without salary increases. “They by definition depressed the salary of the rank they went to because they carried their existing salary with them,” he said.

He noted that it’s difficult to draw conclusions from this year’s rankings because some institutions implemented furloughs. “A furlough by definition is not a reduction in contract salary, it’s simply an absence of a paycheck,” Pack said. “At least a dozen of these universities had furloughs last year. The impact of that would be that the salaries in the report for those schools overstate the amount [faculty] receive because their contract salary didn’t change.”

Salary reduction approaches such as planned furloughs at peer schools are likely to make next year’s numbers problematic for comparison purposes as well, he said.

II-B campuses: Bradford, Greensburg & Johnstown

Faculty salaries for the II-B peer group were listed by decile with the first decile representing the 10 percent of schools with the highest salaries.


Professors at Pitt’s II-B region-al campuses ranked in the 6th decile with an average salary of $74,900. Professors’ pay for the 23 schools in that decile ranged from $76,400 to $73,300.

Among the 231 peers, professors’ average pay ranged from a high of $134,100 at Barnard College to a low of $46,700 at Calumet College St. Joseph.

Associate professors

Associate professors at Pitt’s II-B regional campuses ranked in the 5th decile with an average salary of $62,200. Associate professors’ pay for the 23 schools in that decile ranged from $63,500 to $61,200.

Among the whole peer group, associate professors’ average pay ranged from a high of $102,500 at the U.S. Naval Academy to a low of $42,400 at Ohio Valley University.

Assistant professors

Assistant professors at Pitt’s II-B regional campuses shared the bottom spot in the 6th decile with an average salary of $51,000. Top pay among the 23 schools in that decile was $52,100.

Among the 231 peers, assistant professors’ average pay ranged from a high of $82,400 at the U.S. Naval Academy to a low of $35,500 at Lees-McRae College.

Rankings for the entire II-B peer group list can be found at

Following the BPC meeting, Pack told the University Times that Pitt aimed to fall near the median of the AAU peers with regard to Pittsburgh faculty salaries. “We dropped down more than we would like with assistant (professors),” he said, noting that new hires contributed to that decline in rank.

With regard to regional faculty pay, “It’s hard to say where we would like to rank,” Pack said, adding that the University has a salary policy and the goal is to determine over time where Pitt needs to be in terms of accomplishing its goals of recruiting and retaining faculty.

In other business:

BPC unanimously elected officers for the upcoming year. Chair John Baker and vice chair Sue Skledar will continue in their offices; Barbara Warnick will join Michael Semcheski as co-secretary.

The new academic year brings a change in the committee’s elected faculty members. Stephen Carr, Nancy Glazener and Daniel Milberg ended their terms; newly elected members are Hiro Good, Michael Hahn and Chandralehka Singh.

Those who have agreed to serve as pro-tem members of the committee include Carr, Balwant Dixit, Linda Frank, Barbara Gaines, Ron Neufeld, Richard Pratt and Philip Wion.

In a closed portion of the meeting, Baker asked the committee to review the letter containing BPC’s FY11 salary pool recommendation to the chancellor. The recommendation had been discussed in a closed session at BPC’s April 30 meeting.

Pack, who will be retiring this fall after 17 years at Pitt, said his farewells to the committee.

“I will officially be retiring from the University at the end of August,” he said. “I have agreed, pending the selection of the [new] provost, to transition during the fall term on a part-time basis.”

Pack characterized the past 17 years as “extraordinarily difficult” from a budget and planning perspective and commended faculty for their willingness to balance competing needs — “usually the need between salary on one hand as against tuition increases and academic investments on the other.

“I’ve always been impressed by the willingness of faculty to take the long-term view about what’s best for the institution that they’re part of,” he said. “It has been a real partnership between the faculty, the faculty on this committee and the administration in trying to reach a set of goals that we’ve all agreed on are the right goals. It’s been a very satisfying 17 years.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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