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March 20, 2008

Most continuing faculty raises beat inflation in FY08

For the first time in three years the majority of continuing faculty saw raises that kept up with inflation.

A report by Pitt’s Management Information and Analysis office on fiscal year 2008 continuing faculty raises showed 85 percent (1,466) of the 1,725 continuing faculty (excluding medical school faculty in the basic sciences) received increases that equaled or exceeded the corresponding consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) increase of 2.5 percent.

Most continuing faculty saw raises of 2.5-4.99 percent. Individual pay increases averaged 4.8 percent — higher than last year’s 4.3 percent and better than the FY08 salary pool increase of 3.5 percent.

The FY08 salary pool increase, as determined by the chancellor, was 2 percent for salary maintenance increases for employees whose performance was rated at least satisfactory; 1 percent for merit, market and equity adjustments to be made at the unit level, and 0.5 percent to be distributed by senior officers to address market imbalances among various units within the University.

Of the 259 faculty members whose pay increases lagged behind the inflation rate, 60 received less than the 2 percent maintenance increase designated for satisfactory performance, presumably meaning their performance was not satisfactory.

That left 199 continuing faculty members (11.5 percent) whose real wages decreased in spite of performance that was judged to be satisfactory.

“I’m heartened by that figure,” said Senate budget policies committee chair Stephen Carr during the Feb. 22 meeting at which BPC received the report. “It’s still a problem for people who are judged meritorious [when] their real wages are down,” he said.

Last year, 61 percent of continuing faculty received raises below the inflation rate of 3.4 percent. In FY06, 57 percent lost ground in light of the 3.3 percent increase in the CPI. Although this year the news is better, BPC members expressed doubts the trend would continue next year in the face of a 4.2 percent consumer price index increase and poor prospects for a major increase in Pitt’s state appropriation.

The issue of shrinking wages has been a perennial concern for the BPC. Carr said he construed the increases of less than 2 percent for faculty judged unsatisfactory as evidence that the salary policy is being followed, adding that the committee has paid special attention to the plight of the employees who lost financial ground even though their performance was satisfactory. “That is an ongoing concern, but [the percentage of faculty affected] is much less than it’s been in the past,” Carr said.

Of the continuing non-medical faculty whose pay increases outpaced inflation, 988 saw raises of 2.5-4.99 percent, 262 received 5.0-7.49 percent, 84 received 7.5-9.99 percent and 132 received raises of 10 percent or more.

The 142 continuing medical faculty in the basic science departments saw an average pay increase of 5.5 percent. Of them, 14 got raises that fell below inflation. Ten received increases below 2 percent, while 4 got raises of 2.0- 2.49 percent.

Ninety-one received pay hikes of 2.5-4.99 percent, 18 got 5.0-7.49 percent, six got 7.5-9.99 percent and 13 got raises of 10 percent or more.

The responsibility center showing the smallest percentage increase in faculty salaries was the School of Dental Medicine, whose 79 continuing faculty averaged a 3.6 percent increase. The greatest percentage increase was in the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences (labeled as the line item “other” in the Health Sciences figures). The 22 continuing faculty there received raises averaging 9.1 percent.

Salary figures in the annual report compiled by Pitt’s Management Information and Analysis office are based on the faculty member’s FY08 contract salary, not including extra-contractual payments he or she may receive.

Faculty members excluded from the totals were those who were employed at Pitt in October 2006 but not in October 2007, those hired after October 2007, those whose contract base changed (from 12-month to 9-month or vice versa, for example), those on leave of absence without pay in October 2006, October 2007 or both; those who went from full- to part-time or vice versa, academic administrators at the dean’s level or above, visiting faculty, faculty who changed responsibility centers and those whose salary was reduced.

According to the report, Pitt had a total of 2,230 full-time faculty.

The 1,867 continuing faculty members represented in the salary increase survey represent 83.7 percent of Pitt’s full-time faculty.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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