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June 11, 2009

Report compares faculty, librarian salaries with AAU peers

An annual ranking of how salaries for Pitt professors and librarians compared with Association of American Universities (AAU) public university peers found full professors on the Pittsburgh campus falling from No. 14 to No. 15 in a group of 34 peers, while associate professors jumped eight places to No. 15. Pitt’s rank for assistant professors’ and librarians’ average pay remained unchanged at No. 26 and No. 20, respectively, compared to last year’s report.

The report covers instructional faculty and does not include clinical faculty from Pitt’s medical school, although those in the medical school’s basic science departments are included.

Instructional faculty is defined broadly, noted Robert F. Pack, vice provost for academic planning and resources management, adding that the category includes not only those who spend 50 percent or more of their time in the classroom. “Not only is it formal classroom instruction, it is supervision of doctoral students, it is post-doc supervision,” he said.

The report showed Pitt professors’ salaries rose 4.4 percent to $127,300 in fiscal 2008-09, from an average of $121,900 in FY07-08.

UCLA ranked first in the category with professors averaging $144,500.

Associate professors at Pitt saw a 6.4 percent increase in their average pay, which rose from $80,400 to $85,600.

Associate professors at the University of California-Berkeley ranked first in the category with an average salary of $96,100.

Pitt assistant professors’ average salaries rose 5 percent, from $67,700 to $71,100; however, their ranking, tied for No. 26 with Indiana University-Bloomington, lagged far behind No. 1 University of Maryland-College Park, where assistant professors averaged $83,400.

Pitt librarians’ average salaries rose 4 percent, from $64,000 to $66,500. Ranked No. 20, their pay was near the median of the group. Rutgers University-New Brunswick, where librarians averaged $88,900, ranked No. 1.

To download data charts go to:

Full professors:

Associate professors:

Assistant professors:


Regional campus:

The ranking for Pitt’s assistant professors drew the most discussion during the report’s May 29 presentation to the University Senate budget policies committee by Robert Goga, assistant director of institutional research.

BPC co-secretary Philip Wion pointed out that the dollar amounts in the assistant professor category were closely clustered just above Pitt’s average salary figure. Had Pitt’s average of $71,100 been just $500 higher, Pitt would have placed 23rd instead of 26th in the assistant professor category.

Pack was pleased that Pitt held relatively steady in its ranking in the professor category and with the return to the middle of the rankings in the associate professor category after what he termed a “one-year anomaly.” But he expressed concern for Pitt’s assistant professor salary ranking, adding that Pitt hopes to become more competitive in that area.

Competitive, Pack said, can be defined in terms of getting and retaining the desired candidates. “Are you getting the people you want to hire?” he said, adding that they need to be hired at a salary that makes them feel good about coming to Pitt.

Pack noted a past issue, particularly in science areas, “where we would lose a lot of promising people in about their fourth or fifth year, just when they’re starting to develop a reputation and their research is now funded. They came in sort of low and they’re recruitable,” he said. “You don’t want that to happen, particularly in areas where you have to invest a lot in startup. … You don’t want to throw away four or five years’ worth of infrastructure development.”

Pack said administrators look at more detailed department-by-department comparisons with the AAU peers and pass along the numbers to the appropriate deans to inform their hiring practices.

“We are looking closely, particularly at the assistant professor data, by department,” he said.

The annual report, prepared by Pitt’s Office of Management Information and Analysis, uses salary data (converted to a nine-month equivalent) taken from the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) report on the economic status of the profession, published in the March-April issue of Academe. (See April 30 University Times.) Librarians’ salary data come from the Association of Research Libraries’ annual salary survey.

The figures are not adjusted for cost of living, region or discipline.

Pack noted that the annual rankings are impacted by changes in the individual faculty members reported in each category in a particular year. “This is always people in this rank in this year, so the composition is always different,” said Pack.

For instance, “If we’re hiring more than other schools, we tend to have more people in the lower assistant professor ranks, more of them in the first couple of years of their appointment. We have no way to compare that with other schools,” he said. In addition, the academic areas in which faculty are being added can sway the rankings. “It depends on whether you’re hiring a lot of scientists or you’re hiring a lot of humanists,” Pack said.

(Note: The 2007-08 survey presented to BPC and reported on in the May 29, 2008, University Times did not include six University of California peers, for which data were not available at the time. However, the new report’s prior-year rankings are based on more complete information that was published in the July/August issue of Academe, which included the California schools.)

Category IIB Regionals

Although several proposals for alternate peer groups for IIB regional campus faculty salary comparisons have been floated over the past several years at Pitt, no consensus has been reached.

Professors at Pitt’s three Category IIB regional campuses continue to be ranked in an 18-member peer group of regional/branch campuses of public AAU institutions. This year’s ranking, however, did not include salary information from Texas A&M University-Galveston and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, which did not submit information for the AAUP survey.

Penn State, which reports all its IIB campuses as a unit, led the list in all faculty ranks. Its IIB regional campus professors earned an average of $100,600; associate professors averaged $76,300, and assistant professors averaged $63,200.

The group average salary (excluding Pitt’s regional campuses) for professors was $87,300 (up from $82,100 last year), for associate professors $68,600 (up from $64,900), and for assistant professors $57,700 (up from $55,800).

For a detailed comparison of all schools in the IIB regional campus comparison group as well as the category III group that includes Pitt-Titusville.


The average salary for all ranks of faculty at Pitt-Bradford rose in comparison with their peer groups, with professors and assistant professors both moving from the bottom of the ranking.

UPB professors came from last place to No. 14 with average pay increasing from $66,900 to $74,500.

Associate professors at UPB moved up from No. 17 to No. 12 with their average pay rising from $58,600 to $63,000.

Assistant professors rose to No. 10 in the current survey; their average pay increased from $47,600 to $53,400.


Pitt-Greensburg’s professors ranked No. 11, unchanged from last year’s survey, while their average salary rose from $76,700 in FY07-08 to $77,800 in FY08-09.

UPG associate professors ranked No. 14, unchanged from last year, while their average salary rose from $60,600 to $61,100.

The average salary for UPG’s assistant professors dropped a notch to No. 15, while the average rose from $49,100 to $50,600.


Professors at Pitt-Johnstown fell one place to No. 16, which placed them last among the IIB peers reporting data for FY08-09. UPJ’s professors averaged $74,100, up from $71,500 last year.

Associate professors ranked No. 10, up from No. 15, with average pay of $63,700, up from $60,400 last year.

Assistant professors placed at No. 14, up from No. 17 last year, averaging $50,700. Their average pay in FY07-08 was $48,500.

Category III

Pitt-Titusville, the University’s sole Category III institution, is ranked in a three-member peer group made up of Penn State’s Category III campuses (reported as a single unit) and the University of Wisconsin Colleges.

UPT’s professors ranked third, unchanged from last year’s survey. Their average pay in the 2007-08 survey was $57,800 but salary data were not revealed in this year’s ranking because the number of UPT full professors fell from four to three. The survey does not display salary information when there are three or fewer individuals in a rank.

The group average, excluding UPT, was $74,900, up from $72,400 last year.

UPT’s associate professors remained at No. 2 with an average salary of $55,300, up from $52,100 last year. The group average, excluding UPT, was $64,100.

The campus’s assistant professors also remained at No. 2 with an average salary of $49,500, up from $47,500 last year. The group average, excluding UPT, was $54,200.

In other BPC business:

• Officers were elected, with their terms beginning July 1: John Baker of dental medicine, chair; Sue Skledar of nursing, vice chair; Michael Semcheski of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, who is the Staff Association Council’s representative on BPC, and Phil Wion, professor emeritus of English, co-secretaries.

Elected pro tem members were Balwant Dixit, pharmacy; Sean Hughes, education; Ron Neufeld, civil and environmental engineering; Richard Pratt, professor emeritus, physics and astronomy; Jay Sukits, Katz Graduate School of Business, and Wion.

• BPC discussed how to proceed with its responsibility to review whether Pitt’s planning and budgeting system (PBS) processes are followed and to monitor implementation of the University’s salary policy after receiving an annual report from the Office of Budget and Controller outlining the existence of planning and budgeting committees in units where they are required.

In addition to providing rosters of their PBC membership, units for the first time were asked to describe their salary notification and salary reconsideration processes. The committee agreed to seek clarification from units whose answers were unclear. (See related story this issue.)

Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Resources Management Robert F. Pack and Health Sciences budget director Richard Henderson agreed to follow up and report to BPC at its next meeting.

• BPC’s next meeting is set for noon-2 p.m. June 19 in 501 Cathedral of Learning. University Treasurer Amy Marsh has been invited to address the committee.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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