Professor raises remain above average

Full-time GW professors received an average pay increase of about 5 percent at the beginning of this year, Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said Tuesday.

On average, full-time professors received a 4.9 percent increase and associate and assistant professors saw a 4.8 percent increase in their 2009 salaries – about 1 percent higher than the national average, according to statistics provided by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

Pay increases at GW, which are negotiated in the fall and take effect on Jan. 1 of each year, are based on a merit system. Each professor is eligible based on their accomplishments, which are determined by department heads and school deans.

“Each faculty member hands in an annual report on their performance,” Lehman said. “That report covers their teaching, which includes their evaluations, their research and their service, and whether or not they have served on committees.”

The raises – while averaging around 5 percent – can vary greatly, said Tyler Anbinder, chair of the history department.

“The pay raises vary greatly from 1.5 percent to almost 10 percent,” he said. “[The increase] depends on whether or not a faculty member has published a book or won an award, things like that.”

Professors in Anbinder’s history department saw a 3 percent increase, with every full-time faculty member getting a raise, he said. Nationally, history professors receive a salary of $81,916 a year for professors, $62,109 a year for associate professors and $51,773 for assistant professors.

Many of the professors contacted said that pay increases were not something they actively followed. Some also said they were not worried because of GW’s financial health.

“I feel less worried about budget cuts than my friends who teach at Harvard and I’m a lot less worried than my friends who work at state schools,” Anbinder said.

While other schools that depend on their endowment to fund their budget – like Harvard and Duke universities – have been freezing professor salaries, GW administrators have said they plan to continue to offer merit-based salary increases in 2010.

“We hope to be able to do a merit pay increase in January 2010 and as we build the budget we will decide how big that pool is,” Lehman said. “We are very conscious of what the outside financial system is.”

Professors have said that the University has been open with them about budgets and financial risks.

“The information we are getting for the University is that the University is in pretty good financial shape,” said Hermann Helgert, a professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. “In my experience, in similar circumstances in the past, the faculty has been pretty well supported.”

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