Faculty pay raises beat average

GW professors received an average pay raise of 4.9 percent in 2009 – almost 4 percent higher than the national average, according to University data and a study by the American Association of University Professors.

One-third of reviewed institutions decreased faculty salaries this year and the national average pay raise for full professors was just 1.2 percent, according to the AAUP study. GW, however, raised pay for all ranks of faculty, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said.

“We’ve been working very hard to keep the salaries in each of the ranks above the 80th percentile [as listed by] the AAUP,” Lehman said. “The only way you get really top faculty is if you have salaries that are competitive nationally.”

Two-thirds of universities across the country did not increase pay at the rate of inflation – 2.7 percent – according to the report. At Georgetown, salaries declined by 0.1 percent, and other schools in the District increased pay by less than 3 percent. American’s full-time professors saw a 2.9 percent average increase; Howard professors saw a 1.7 percent average increase; and Maryland instructors received a 0.7 percent average boost, the Washington Post reported.

John Curtis, the association’s director of research and public policy, said that though this year’s figures were expected to be low, the results showed even lower increases – or decreases.

“This comes on the heels of several years when faculty salaries have been just at the rate of inflation, or slightly above,” Curtis said. “It starts a trend where pay increases don’t even meet the rate of inflation.”

GW has been fortunate to be able to make steady merit pay raises this year, said Forrest Maltzman, chair of the political science department.

“Other schools are either not giving raises or not giving very much in raises,” he said. “One of the goals of the University is to prevent a star faculty from leaving, and pay raises are the way to do so.”

GW awards pay raises based on a merit system, requiring faculty to complete annual reports based on performance, Lehman said. The heads of departments and deans then review the reports before they reach Lehman’s office. Key categories considered when evaluating merit raises include teaching, research and service.

“The good news is The George Washington University can actually talk about merit pay increase,” Lehman said. “In the current economic situation, most schools cannot afford to do so.”

Professors in the Elliott School of International Affairs received the highest average pay boost at 7.2 percent, according to University data. Professors in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences received an average increase of 3.9 percent, and the Graduate School of Education and Human Development saw an average increase of 2.9 percent – the lowest jump of any University school.

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