The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life

Raise comparison between faculty and administrators

May 7th, 2019

I asked for Guilford’s most recent IRS Form 990. I do this for several reasons, but I got started with the 990’s after the administrator bonus fiasco at the end of the Chabotar administration in order to have a look at our reported compensation for administrators. This most recent report allowed me to track the impact of the January 2017 raises for some of our administrators. I’ve shown the raises below, compared with changes in faculty compensation as reported to the AAUP for the same years.

Data

Data sources for administrators are 2016-17 and 2017-18 Form 990’s, which cover our fiscal year. Because of a change in our fiscal year start date, the 2016-17 report only covered 11 months, so I prorated the salaries reported in that document to 12 months before calculating the raises.

Data sources for faculty are our average salary by rank for the academic years 2016-17 and 2017-18 as reported to the AAUP by the college.

The 2016-17 numbers include part of the period covered by the large January 2017 raises. I think those raises are included in the 990 reports, because those report total dollars. I am not sure if they are included in the AAUP faculty salary reports, but I don’t think they were, because they show very little change from 2015-16 numbers. If the January 2017 raises were included in the 2016-17 data for administrators and not for faculty, then the difference between faculty and administrators is even more stark, and the faculty raise percentages should be decreased by about half to make them comparable.

For the administrators, I only included people who were working for the full year in both years and whose income was reported on the 990 in both years, with two exceptions:

  • Todd Clark, whose reported compensation dropped between the two years for reasons unknown to me, and
  • Kent Chabotar, whose compensation was set at $100,000 for five years following his presidency under the terms of his initial presidential contract

Barbara Lawrence is a special case, because her position changed from faculty to VP between those two years, so the high raise percentage shown probably mostly represents her new position. Her faculty compensation was high enough (>$100K) to be reported on the 990 in the earlier year, likely in part because of her involvement in the prison education project.

Analysis and Notes

With the exception of Jimmy Wilson, all of the administrators listed received higher raises (by percentage) than all faculty ranks. Jimmy’s raise percent was higher than all faculty ranks except Associate.

In dollar terms, all of the raises were higher than average faculty raises, in some cases much higher. Administrator raises for those on this list ranged from about $8,000 to $26,000, while the faculty averages changed by $2,000 to $4,300.

Jane Fernandes’ salary is set by the board and is not included in the compensation plan. The board granted her a raise during this time.

If the compensation plan was applied appropriately to all of these individuals other than Jane, for whom the plan does not apply, this outcome (higher raises for administrators than faculty) is possible if the administrators listed were all farther behind their targets than the average faculty member. I don’t know if that is true, because I don’t know the targets used for administrators, but do we know the faculty are far below their targets, so the administrators would have to be even worse off. That doesn’t seem entirely likely, given that faculty were at or near the 20th percentile among peers. However, setting targets for administrative positions is tricky, because the administrative positions we have don’t necessarily equate to similar positions at other institutions.

The raises for faculty were affected by the bad data used to set targets, as I’ve discussed earlier this year. That error was likely not made for administrators. All faculty ranks were affected by the improperly low targets in the first round of raises in January 2017, included in these data. However, the effect of these low targets is not big enough to account for the full difference in raise percentages between faculty and administrators.

Some faculty members who were farther from their targets received larger percentage raises than those who were closer. For example, my personal percent raise during this period was 8.9%, higher than the full professor average and higher than some of the administrators.

There is the potential for an apples-to-oranges issue here, because the faculty percentages are based on groups of 20-30 people, while the administrator raises are individuals. However, assuming the faculty salaries are reported correctly, that should produce no significant systematic difference in the numbers, with the possible exception that retirements, departures, or promotions of many high-salary faculty at any rank could depress the average salary for that rank to some extent, though likely not too much. When looking at the numbers, remember that the individual faculty raises are a range centered around the percentages reported, and are probably on average a little higher than the reported figure due to retirements/departures.

Updated compensation percentiles

April 13th, 2019

Back in February, I calculated an update to the Category IIB percentiles we used to publish in our Factbook. That post is here.

The AAUP has now posted data for the 2018-19 academic year. This year includes both the recent rounds of raises in January 2017 (in effect for the last half of 2016-17, although I don’t think that our AAUP salary reporting included the raises until 2017-18) and August 2018 (in effect presumably for the 2018-19 reporting).

I’ve updated each graph I made for the earlier post. Those are below, with interpretation:

Here are my interpretations of the additional year of data. Please see the earlier post for a more complete analysis.

  • Of the four ranks at Guilford tracked here (heavy solid lines), all showed a modest increase in 2018.
  • Nationally, the AAUP median for Category IIB schools increased more than Guilford’s raises for Associate and Assistant, which means we lost some ground against the median of our peer group at those ranks. This is not a surprise given the small size of our raise pool last year.
  • Nationally, the AAUP median for Category IIB schools increased less than Guilford’s raises for Full and Instructor, which means we gained ground against the median of our peer group at those ranks.
  • For Instructors, our reported modest increase in salary contrasted with the drop in the national IIB median Instructor salaries.
  • For Full Professors, our reported increase in salary coming in slightly stronger than the increase in the median may have to do with the large gaps full professors had from their targets, which meant they may have gotten more of the raise pool under our formula than others who were closer – i.e., we’re still pretty far behind our peers, but we filled in a little of the gap. I suppose we could have had fewer retirements or departures than other schools, also – we lost so many folks in 2016-17 that we have fewer left to lose now, which might have elevated our numbers somewhat relative to others. This is all speculation, though.
  • Fundamentally, in 2018-19, we appear to have more or less kept pace with other IIB schools in terms of dollars, but we did not make progress on closing our sizable gaps with them except at Instructor rank, which we only did because of a national decline in Instructor pay. Though not the best outcome, this is better than period from 2010-2016, when we stagnated or even lost ground in real dollars (this was even worse if you take inflation into account, which was a total of about 10% over that period).

Here is the impact on our percentiles compared to other IIB schools:

Remember that these percentiles are tracking a different thing from the dollar values above. The percentiles are only about our ranking relative to other similar schools, while the first graph is raw dollars.

Here are my interpretations of the additional year of data on percentiles. Please see the earlier post for a more complete analysis of the history.

  • At all ranks except instructor, we lost ground in terms of percentiles.
  • This was most pronounced at Assistant rank, which grew more strongly nationally than other ranks.
  • That means that, unlike 2017-18, when we made significant upward progress in our ranking, other schools passed us, although this didn’t wipe out all of the progress we made with the January 2017 raises.
  • We are now back to similar percentiles from 2013, when we were already in the midst of our very steep decline, as opposed to our heyday in 2008-09, when we were still well below where we’d set our goals at the time but (unbeknownst to us) at easily the highest level we’d experience for the next decade.
  • If we reach the stated goal of our compensation plan, we will be up near the 50th percentile for IIB, which is close to both the original Compensation Plan peer group of 46 schools and to the revised peer group of ~350 schools proposed this year.

Here are the raw numbers and last year’s percentage change in table form.

Guilford 2017-18 2018-19 Percent  change
Full  $    74,700  $    76,200 2.0%
Assoc  $    60,000  $    60,500 0.8%
Asst  $    56,200  $    56,400 0.4%
Inst  $    46,300  $    47,100 1.7%
IIB Medians 2017-18 2018-19 Percent  change
Full  $    87,300  $    87,800 0.6%
Assoc  $    71,300  $    72,100 1.1%
Asst  $    61,200  $    62,300 1.8%
Inst  $    53,500  $    52,500 -1.9%

 

We need to have raises at least as big as last year’s not to lose ground. If we want to regain some of what we’ve lost, or even (heaven help us) reach our stated goal, we’ll need to have raises that average more like 4-5%.

Not all of that needs to come from new revenue. Every year we have some more senior, more highly compensated folks retire, and if they’re replaced, they are usually replaced with younger, lower-compensated folks, which creates room for raises for remaining faculty without adding to the overall budget.

That’s how I see it. Let me know if you have questions.

Looking back at Guilford faculty salaries

February 20th, 2019

I spent some time Tuesday collecting some numbers and looking back at Guilford salaries. My goal was to recreate some of the numbers that Guilford used to report in its annual Factbook. That Factbook no longer exists, as far as I can tell, and the reporting of salaries compared to standards fizzled out in about 2013. So, it’s been a while since we had a comparison like what we used to have.

The target group we used to use for salary comparisons was Category IIB, a classification that includes institutions that grant primarily baccalaureate degrees. Guilford far exceeds the minimum degree requirements for this category and is nowhere near the postbaccalaureate degree requirements for Category IIA, even with our new Master’s program, so it’s clearly where we belong. More on these categories is available here.

I collected and processed the last seven years of the AAUP Annual Survey, which collects reports from most higher education institutions and produces an annual report. These reports are here. I selected only the Category IIB institutions in these reports. Guilford consistently reports to the AAUP like every good institution should.

I also have a record of many years of Guilford’s self-reported salaries and comparative percentiles, which I collected from the Factbooks back when they were available. I have those covering the years 2007/8 to 2013/14. These included faculty salaries at different ranks (also reported to AAUP) and a calculation of percentiles compared to the Category IIB pool. These reports also included percentiles for two categories of staff – administrative and support staff. I don’t have the data to extend these staff reports to today, and I’m not sure what data sets were used to created the reported statistics.

This first graph shows faculty salaries at four different ranks (indicated by colors), for Guilford (heavy dashed and solid lines) and AAUP Category IIB (thin dotted lines).

The dashed lines and the solid lines (representing Guilford salaries) overlap for three years, 2011-2013. As you can see, even though one was reported by Institutional Research and the other produced by me, they agree very closely, except for one blip in assistant professors in 2012. That gives me confidence that I’m doing this mostly right.

Here are insights I draw from these data sets:

  • Guilford’s faculty salaries rose from 2007-2009, then stagnated or dropped from 2007-2016. At the higher ranks, average salaries in unadjusted dollars dropped, probably due to retirements coupled with very limited raises. If we scaled salaries to cost-of-living, this drop would be even more severe, as there was a mostly consistent inflation rate of 1-3% during this time.
  • Probably in response to new hiring at nearer-to-market salaries, associate professors narrowed their gap with higher ranks as time went on.
  • The raises in the middle of the 2016-17 year are clear at the right side of the graph. The smaller summer 2018 raises are not represented in the time range covered.
  • During the period of salary stagnation, our Category IIB peers showed consistent growth in median salaries at all ranks.
  • The January 2017 raises (at least as represented here), though much bigger than in recent years, did fairly little to close the widening gap between Guilford and peer institutions, as they were only a bit higher than the overall Category IIB increase.

I also calculated percentiles, which I can also compare to past reported data. Those calculations are shown here:Guilford salary percentiles

 

The values for the two categories of staff are no longer reported, so they only extend to 2013. Again, there is mostly agreement between my numbers (covering 2011-2017) and the Factbook numbers (2007-2013) where they overlap, except for one year of assistant professor numbers.

Some observations from these data sets:

  • As one would expect from the dollar values shown in the first graph, our percent rank dropped at all faculty ranks.
  • Instructors, who were nearly at the Category IIB median in 2011, showed the greatest decline in percentile, although not the lowest overall percentile.
  • Associate professors hit bottom the hardest, reaching a low-water mark of 13th percentile in 2016-17. For reference, here are the five schools on either side of us on a ranked list of IIB associate professor salaries that year:
    • Saint Joseph’s College
      Baker University
      College of Southern Nevada
      Lewis-Clark State College
      Bethel College
      Guilford College
      University of Montana-Western
      Huntington University
      Dakota Wesleyan University
      Milligan College
      Ouachita Baptist University
  • Staff percentiles were nearly always higher than faculty percentiles when reported. This is likely due to several factors, such as (1) stronger market pressure for hiring new staff closer to peer salaries, (2) much higher rates of turnover, such that staff positions reset to market more frequently than faculty positions, because faculty tend to be much less mobile, especially following tenure.
  • Even with these structural factors, it seems likely that institutional leadership, budgeting, prioritization, and decision-making played a role in the growing disparity between the groups. My guess is that the percentiles for staff declined with faculty, but that they stayed stronger for the staff groups than faculty groups during the lean years. We lost more staff members than faculty due to layoffs during this time, but the reported salary numbers are an average that shouldn’t change with group size alone. I can’t think of a compelling reason why the average staff salaries and their percentiles would decline much even with the layoffs, as the layoffs were not focused among highly paid indiviuals.
  • Again, the raises in January 2017 provided a significant boost to faculty, but not enough to erase the previous eight years of wage stagnation and decline.
  • There were raises in August 2018 also, but those raises were small, not much more than inflation, and my guess is they would lead us to lose ground to our Category IIB peers during the 2018-19 year, as they likely grew more than we did. It will be interesting to see the 2018-19 numbers to see how it plays out.

One caveat – there was a very significant number of retirements (and, sadly, deaths) among senior faculty in the 2016-17 academic year – without looking it up, I think it was 8-10 people. By itself, that would likely be big enough to affect the average numbers for Guilford full professors, as would any year with a hiring freeze for assistant professors, but without specific numbers I can’t determine the magnitude. Obviously transitions and promotions at other ranks would have an impact as well.

Housekeeping information and communication page

April 17th, 2018

I’ve set up a page regarding the outsourcing of housekeeping with information and links to documents. That page is here:

Housekeeping

I’ve turned on comments there, so people can discuss or ask questions. I thought that might be perhaps less chaotic than a multi-step e-mail chain. I also thought it would be more accessible to Guilford staff, who can’t read the faculty e-mail chain on this topic, who aren’t permitted to write to the staff@guilford.edu address, and who might wish to take part in the discussion or make anonymous comments.

Regressive impact of the parking fee

December 17th, 2017

I did a little more work on the regressive nature of Guilford’s proposed new parking fee, following up on my previous post.

A flat fee will have a bigger impact on low-salary employees because it’s a larger percentage of their pay. Because some of our other costs (e.g. healthcare, capped social security) are also regressive, the parking fee becomes even more regressive in terms of percent of take home pay. Our lowest-paid employees are already taking home a smaller percent of their total compensation than our higher-paid employees, and the parking fee makes that worse.

Flat fees and fair compensation

December 11th, 2017

Flat fees, such as our healthcare costs or the recently proposed parking fee, provide a much more significant burden on low-wage employees than on high-wage employees. This is just basic math. When a cost or fee is constant, then it represents a higher percentage of income for a low-wage employee than for a high-wage employee.

Consider two cases below – a low-wage employee making $35,000 a year, and a vice president making $175,000 a year.

 

Both pay the same costs for Guilford’s healthcare. For an employee supporting a family, that will be $9390 next year. That cost is fixed, and therefore regressive by income. Social security tax is capped, making it regressive at high incomes, so high-wage earners above the cap actually pay a lower percentage than lower-wage earners. The VP pays more Social Security tax in total, but at a lower rate. Medicare is a constant proportion (not capped, so neither progressive nor regressive).

If we look at these employees’ listed salary, the VP makes five times as much as the low-wage employee. But the capped taxes and flat-rate costs exacerbate the inequality. After we deduct the Social Security, Medicare, and health insurance expenses, the VP takes home nearly seven times as much as the low-wage employee.

If we add another constant fee, say $120 for parking for the year, that money comes out of the take-home pay. The fee is the same for all employees, so that fee represents about half a percent (0.5%) of the low-wage earner’s take home pay, while it makes up less than a tenth of a percent (0.08%) of the VP’s take-home pay. By comparison, Medicare taxes are 1.45% of salary, or ~2% of take-home.

In other words, a flat $120 annual parking fee has an impact as much as seven times as great on our lowest-paid employees as on our highest. That’s textbook regressive. It represents about ten and a half hours of work for the low-wage earner, given directly back to the college, and only one and a half for the VP.

We can do better. For that matter, we should do better with our health insurance also.

University of Washington struggles with salary policy

June 9th, 2016

Here’s an article about faculty at the University of Washington trying to work on a policy to address salary compression. We have salary compression at Guilford, to be sure, and we also have other issues, many of which are bigger and more pressing than theirs. One major parallel: I see writ large in UW’s proposed solution a desire for more salary transparency and better care of long-term employees.

Seeking Fair Faculty Pay, Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

Models for salary adjustments

June 3rd, 2016

The ad hoc Compensation Committee has been working to produce a formula for faculty compensation which I’ll be sharing with you over the next couple of days. We’ll be inviting participation and feedback as we head into next year, when we hope to implement a comprehensive policy with formulas and targets for faculty and staff salaries.

Supposing that all goes off without a hitch, there’s a chance we may have money to allocate to salary increases as early as the middle of next year. I and others have encouraged the college to include salary adjustment money as a continual and growing part of the college’s budget process, the same way we budget for maintenance, computers, subscriptions, and supplies. Under that plan, if approved, we will have some room to make salary adjustments every year *(unless the budget reaches deficit and faces cuts, in which case the pool for salary adjustments might be cut just as any other budget line might).

So, with perhaps unwarranted yet unbridled optimism, a question interesting to me is how we might apply adjustments to existing salaries. The following are in place as starting conditions:

  1. There will be a formula in place for faculty (and probably staff) salaries based on parameters like length of service and rank
  2. Most faculty will be below their targets, although possibly not all
  3. After guaranteeing a living wage for all employees, which is our first priority, the draft compensation philosophy recommends that we address those employees farthest below their targets first.
  4. Even if above formula targets, no salaries will be reduced as part of this process, although such highly compensated people will likely not get raises for a long while.

Imagine, then, a set of faculty who are mostly below their targets, like this:

StartingConditions

As you can see, most faculty are below their targets, although two (#5 and #9) are above. Faculty member #4 seems to be the worst off, while #8 is close to the target.

Here are some models that could be used to get faculty up to their formula-specified targets.

Model #1: Capped flat percent raises

One of the simplest models for salary adjustments is to assign all raises based on a flat overall percentage. Although the methodology for allocation of raises at Guilford in the past has been secret, it seems in many cases to have followed this model for most faculty (likely with additional adjustments for increased rank, positive performance, and other factors).

Imagine if we applied this model, but capped salaries at their formula-specified limits. This would violate our principle of helping those farthest below their targets first, but it would be simple to calculate. I’ve created an animation of how that might look here:

CappedPct

As you can see, faculty member #8 reaches the formula target first, while #4 takes the longest to hit the formula.

This model, while simple, is really the opposite of what we want to do. I don’t think we should follow it, even though flat percent raises are often broadly applied in academia and in the general job market.

Model #2: Help the worst off first

Another approach would be to give raises to those faculty members farthest below their formula targets first. This could be calculated either as a dollar amount or as a percentage, but the percentage approach seems more appropriate. Here’s what that looks like:

FillHoles

As you can see here, application of raises is somewhat spotty, as the worst-off people get helped first. Faculty member #4 gets many raises, including several from the first few phases, while faculty member #8 waits nearly to the end of the process to receive a raise.

Model #3: Proportional adjustments

Finally, here’s another model. This is mathematically more complex, but what it does is assign a pool of raise money to everyone below the formula target based on how far they are from the target. Again, this could be done by dollars or by percent, but I used percentages. It looks like this:

PropPctBelowFormula

What you see here is that everyone below the formula target grows towards the target and receives a raise every year, but the size of the raise is proportional to the deficit. This also means that everyone reaches their target at about the same time (other than the folks who are already at or above when the process starts).

Conclusion

One caveat – obviously, our formula targets should move upward over time in response to inflation and salary changes at our comparison schools, so these models I’ve made don’t include that factor. It’s not hard to add, though.

I’d be curious what people think of these. Both #2 and #3 above honor the priority to help those worst off first, although #2 does it more literally. I think #3 might generate less confusion and more goodwill, although it is slower to correct the worst problems.

If there are other models or approaches people would like me to animate, let me know and I can do it.

CompensationHome

Changes to part-time and overload compensation

March 21st, 2016

Beth Rushing has recently changed and standardized compensation for part-time and overload teaching, both of which are paid by the course. She distributed this to division chairs, but I’m not sure everybody saw it. I thought it would be useful to post the prior system and the current system for comparison.

The old system

Under the old system, four-credit day classes were compensated at a flat rate of $3500. For evening classes, there was a fairly complicated formula. This depended on whether courses were taught under the CCE program and on how many students were registered in the course. Here’s an excerpt Beth sent me from an appointment letter for an evening course:

[Full pay was contingent on having at least 10 CCE students as of the last day to add for the term]. The overload compensation started at $3010, “plus an additional amount based on the smaller of two numbers (hereinafter referred to as extra students). The first of the two numbers is the number of CCE students enrolled in the overload night class. The second is your total enrollment in all four of your classes minus 55. For example if your total enrollment was 70 for your four courses and your overload night class had 20 CCE students enrolled, your extra student number would be 15 (i.e., the smaller of 70 – 55 and 20)…. Since traditional students are not included in the calculation of the teaching stipend, you will be paid an additional $170 per student for teaching the traditional students up to a maximum of ten students.”

Under this system, pay for a four-credit evening class could range from $3010 to a maximum of $6610.

The new system

The new system does not categorize students by type, nor does it differentiate between daytime and evening classes. There is a flat fee for a four-credit part-time or overload course of $4000. Beyond that, there are three possible adjustments:

  • +$500 if the course enrolls more than 25 students
  • +$500 if the course ends at 10 pm
  • +$850 if the course includes a lab

If I’m reading this right, this means that the per-course compensation could range from $4000 to $5850

Data requested at Faculty Forum on Compensation

February 25th, 2016

From Christine Riley:

As promised, I’m sending along the website where you can find the CUPA data we referenced. CUPA is the gold standard for staff salaries in higher education, and they are the only organization [that I know of] that surveys faculty salaries by discipline. This information is publicly available.
Look for the link for “Executive Summary” on this page.  There are also reports from the past 7 years, if you’re interested. Drilling down into this data requires institutional membership [which I believe we are getting.]
Also, Damon asked how many faculty are in each rank at Guilford:
Instructors: 11
Lecturers:   17
Asst Prof:    33
Assoc Prof:  29
Professors:  35
These include those with ‘visiting’ in their titles.
UPDATE: Here’s a document that lists visiting vs. tenured/tenure-track faculty: Faculty list

The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life