In a faculty meeting during the fall of 2016, a concern was raised pertaining to salaries of faculty members hired approximately 8-9 years ago, during a time of financial stress at Colgate (and elsewhere). The concern is that salaries of this cohort of faculty may have been permanently harmed by the low raises that they (and other faculty) received in their first few years at Colgate. A faculty member asked if salary compression has taken place for this cohort such that their salaries have barely stayed ahead of the salaries of faculty hired later. In response to this concern, Bob Turner, chair of the committee, met with Associate Provost Trish St. Leger. The following is a summary of key information from that meeting.
Salary raises for tenured Colgate faculty members are determined in a complex fashion upon consideration of a number of items—recommendations from department chairs and division directors, the salary pool determined by Colgate’s overall compensation guidelines, and a detailed analysis by the Associate Provost. The analysis by the Associate Provost considers whether individual salaries are in line with average salaries, controlling for a variety of factors such as rank, years at Colgate, years in rank, and number of merit increases. There are also special considerations for people hired at an advanced rank, people who have endowed chairs, faculty members in economics and computer science as competition is fierce to hire people in these departments, and faculty with teaching experience prior to coming to Colgate. The Associate Provost runs a regression controlling for these factors and looks for people with salaries that sizably differ from what the regression predicts. Sometimes these differences can be explained by known idiosyncratic situations; when not, the Associate Provost recommends corrective measures to the Dean/Provost. The Associate Provost also creates charts showing salaries of every person and how they compare to salaries of similar people with a little more or a little less time at Colgate (accounting for rank) to ensure that salaries aren’t out of line in ways that can’t be explained by known factors.
Salary raises for untenured faculty in the tenure stream are determined on a less individualized basis. Basically, all faculty members in a particular cohort are given the same raise. Raises for faculty members in different cohorts (basically defined by year hired) may differ to avoid or ameliorate salary compression.
Based on this analysis, there is no evidence that the salaries of faculty hired during the low-raises time period have been harmed permanently. Subsequent raises have brought this cohort into line with historical norms, and there is no evidence of any remaining salary compression for this cohort.
We appreciate Associate Provost Trish St. Leger’s responsiveness to this important concern.
Committee on Compensation
Bob Turner, Chair
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