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October 29, 2015

Faculty salaries rank higher in cost-of-living comparison

Pitt faculty salaries rank higher in comparison with their Association of American Universities (AAU) public institution peers when the cost of living is taken into account.

An annual survey that factors the cost of living into the University’s annual AAU peer group comparison (see Oct. 1 University Times) showed that the average salary for professors on the Pittsburgh campus rose to No. 11, up from No. 16, among the 34 peer institutions.

Pay for associate professors moved to No. 12, up from No. 17; and assistant professors ranked No. 14, up from No. 26.

Instructors and lecturers remained near the bottom of the salary comparison, but moved to No. 27, up from 29th among 31 schools that reported salaries for faculty at those ranks.

Librarians’ average salary ranked No. 3 in the cost-of-living adjusted comparison, rising from No. 8 among the 34 schools.

The adjusted ranking uses Council for Community and Economic Research Cost of Living Index data in its comparison of Pittsburgh campus faculty salaries.

In an Oct. 16 presentation to the University Senate budget policies committee (BPC), Amanda Brodish of the Office of the Provost noted that the cost of living in Pittsburgh is in the middle of the peer group this year, tied with Florida and the State University of New York-Buffalo.

In last year’s comparison, only seven of the peer schools (Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, Texas A&M, Indiana, Kansas and Iowa) were located in areas with a cost of living lower than Pittsburgh’s. (See Dec. 4, 2014, University Times.)

In the current comparison, those seven were joined by University of North Carolina, Penn State, Missouri, Texas, Michigan, Iowa State and Arizona, to place 14 peers in areas where the cost of living is lower than in Pittsburgh.


Salaries at UPB, UPG, UPJ

Average salaries for faculty on Pitt’s Bradford, Greensburg and Johnstown campuses also rose in comparison with a subset of peers drawn from among 218 Carnegie Foundation Category IIB institutions in the three Association of American University Professors regions that border Pennsylvania.

Faculty pay at Pitt-Titusville, a Carnegie Category III institution, was not included in the report.

Cost-of-living data for the regional peers came from Sperling’s BestPlaces, which provides estimates for rural and suburban areas.

Bradford’s cost of living (which is higher than Johnstown’s and lower than Greensburg’s) was used as a baseline for comparison.

Four sets of 21 comparison schools — one for each faculty rank — were selected by ranking the institutions’ average salary from lowest to highest, then selecting the lowest school and those at every fifth percentile between 0 and 100. The resulting sample included 72 unique comparison schools, Brodish said.

Average salaries for professors at Pitt’s IIB regional campuses ranked No. 16, up from No. 37 among the 73 institutions in the unadjusted rankings. Associate professors moved to No. 13, up from No. 29; assistant professors rose to No. 18, up from No. 38.

And lecturers and instructors moved to No. 6, up from No. 21 among 52 schools with faculty at those ranks.

The full report can be seen at


In other business:

• The committee met in closed session to hear a preliminary report by the Provost’s office on part-time faculty salaries.

• BPC has canceled its November meeting and moved its December meeting to 2 p.m. Dec. 4 in 1817 Cathedral of Learning.

—Kimberly K. Barlow       

Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 5

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