GW faculty salaries are nationally ranked at the highest level they have been in more than 10 years, according to a report by the Faculty Senate.
The ranking is due to a faculty pay raise that was delayed by the GW Board of Trustees last year, creating a percentage salary increase of about twice as much this year compared to previous years.
Only 20 percent of schools in an American Association of University Professors faculty salary study have higher salaries than GW. Faculty full-time professors’ salaries at the University are ranked higher than 82 percent of the schools, associate professors’ salaries are in the 85th percentile, and assistant professors’ salaries are in the 80th percentile.
“For many years, the 80th percentile was a benchmark for where the president wanted us to be,” said Ernest Englander, a Faculty Senate executive committee member. “It’s the first time all three levels of professors have been at that level at the same time.”
The AAUP rated faculty salaries of more than 1,400 colleges and universities for the study. Last academic year, only GW associate professors were ranked above the 80th percentile.
Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said the figure should put GW in a strong position to competitively recruit professors.
“GW, being a top-tier institution, should be in the top tier percentile,” Lehman said.
Tom Curtis, the director of research at the AAUP, said professors are operating in a national job market and they use the ratings as a tool for their job search. “If you want to have the most productive faculty, you’re going to need the most competitive salaries,” Curtis said. “The overall salary levels give some indication of the prestige of the school.”
Only four out of the 14 schools in GW’s market basket, determined by the AAUP, have average full professor salaries below the 80th percentile. These include Tufts University, University of Miami, Tulane University and Southern Methodist University.
Englander said that while the average salary may now be at the 80th percentile, there are still schools within the University that are below that mark, including the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, which is in the 60th percentile.
“Even at the 80th percentile, it is important to note that the education faculty are still far behind,” he said.
The average full-time professor salary at GW increased by 7.7 percent in January 2006 to $118,802 per year from the July 2004 mark. The average associate professor salary is now $84,307, a 4.5 percent increase and the assistant professor salary is $69,300, a 9.7 percent increase, according to a Faculty Senate report.
The average faculty salary increase for schools in the study was 3.1 percent this academic year.
Murli Gupta, a professor of mathematics and chair of the appointment, salary and promotions policies committee of the Faculty Senate, released a report of the salary increases to the Faculty Senate earlier this month.
“The professors have been hammering the administration to bring us up to the 80th percentile of AAUP rankings,” Gupta said.
Last May, GW’s Board of Trustees decided to delay faculty pay raises six months, making it the second time in three years that GW staff had to wait 18 months for a salary increase that used to come yearly.
The board voted in favor of a 6 percent pay raise to take effect January 2006. Many faculty members supported a 3 percent increase in June 2005 instead.
Lehman said delaying the raise increased the salary pool and made it easier to recruit new faculty. He added that the University plans to increase salaries on a yearly cycle in the future. A 4 percent salary increase is expected as part of the fiscal year 2007 budget, Lehman said.
Faculty, however, questioned the administration’s justification for the salary deferral last year.
Donald Parson, chair of the department of economics, has been critical of GW’s budget and was skeptical of the significance of the salary increases.
“It was a much-needed catch-up,” Parsons said of the raise. “The University has been systematically squeezing faculty and squeezing students in terms of the quality of their education.”
He said, “This was basically a catch-up for past administrative failures.”