Most of you probably saw the article in Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal, along with some subsequent campus discussion like the Daily Cardinal editorial (see post below), detailing how our faculty salaries continue to lag behind our peers. UW System is currently reviewing the data on salaries throughout the system and developing proposed strategies for addressing the pay gap.
Continuing the drum beat of discouraging news, the UW-Madison budget shop, using this school year’s data, has produced up-to-date peer comparisons. You can see the comparisons here, along with a historical graph showing how we have compared over the years. For this year, UW-Madison remains at 12th place for full professors and 9th place for assistant professors. We rose from 7th place to 6th place for assistant professors.
You may notice some slight differences between these numbers and those listed elsewhere. The Madison budget office does not factor in a cost-of-living adjustment, while UW System includes such a calculation. Also, some comparisons may be based on average, as opposed to median, numbers.
The UW System commission is important because it is charged not only with looking at the pay gaps, but also at the peer groups themselves. The groups have been approved by two different commissions appointed by governors, one a Democrat and one a Republican. They obviously do not include all the institutions that we compete with for talent on a daily basis, but they are considered a best-effort attempt to demonstrate competition. In Madison’s case, the group includes the major public research institutions across the country.
PROFS will continue to closely monitor the commission’s discussions and make the case for compensation that will allow the campus to retain and recruit top-notch faculty. We will also continue to remind decision-makers that other important factors, including funding for graduate students, have an impact on whether faculty members come to or remain on our campus.