The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life

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.

Really interesting study of economic situation of students

January 27th, 2017

The New York Times has an article along with an online interactive data set exploring the economic background and salary trend of students at a variety of schools. It buys hard into the fallacious connection that is all the rage these days that what you do in college is somehow the prime determinant of your salary in dollars later in life. I wish journalists would challenge that more. But the data are still really cool to examine.

Article: Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60. Find Yours. NY Times: The Upshot, By Gregor Aisch, Larry Buchanan, Amanda Cox and Kevin Quealy, January 18, 2017.

Here are pages for Guilford and for some other colleges we talk about:



High Point University







[link from Jim Hood]

When do we teach?

September 23rd, 2016

I did the following analysis while talking with Beth about our fall calendar, and I thought it might be interesting to share.

This is the number of courses by time slot for fall 2016:


Some notes:

  • All courses listed with times are counted regardless of credits. That means labs are included.
  • For courses that overlap multiple periods, they’re counted in both (or all three).
  • The four on Friday night are the THEA 190’s that are scheduled MTRF 6-11pm.

Here it is with total students in class rather than classes offered. Much the same picture, although the 8:30’s drop a little because they’re often smaller.


Enrollment report as of April 12

April 14th, 2016

Here are updated numbers from the enrollment group. Arlene writes:

Attached please find the new student enrollment report for this week. In response to their Spring Into Guilford experience, our office has received a number of calls and emails from students and/or their parents indicating that the choice has been made in Guilford’s favor, not as many of those calls and note as I’d like to see have actually materialized into deposits. We continue to call each student, invite
them to visit and connect them with members of our community. If we match our yield rate of (close to) 18% of the admitted students enrolling, we will have about 334 new traditional students. That is above our projected numbers. Yielding at a disappointing 17% will bring us close to the projected 312 (315) new traditional students. At the end of the month I will begin to share the transfer and CCE numbers. At this point they are too low to really provide helpful

Thanks to everyone for the support and enthusiasm around Spring Into Guilford.



Enrollment report as of April 5

April 8th, 2016

Arlene Cash heard a request from Jane’s community forum last week to share enrollment information with the community as we work to increase enrollment. The following table shows our traditional enrollment this year compared to the same date in the previous three years. It is not an exact comparison because the schedule of enrollment events was different (and earlier) last year. Arlene writes:

We are hoping to see a spike in deposit numbers after the Spring Into Guilford program this weekend.  Last year we had two one day programs and the first one was towards the end of March.  I expect that event helped move the deposit numbers as we expect them to be moved similarly after our program next week.  Keeping our eyes on progress.

Here’s the table:


Alternate comparison groups for salaries

April 10th, 2015

I’ve heard from several places on campus that we shouldn’t be comparing faculty salaries to AAUP IIB when we look at percentiles for faculty salaries. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable question to raise, although I’m not sure I agree. We want to compare ourselves to institutions like ours when we try to figure out where we are. However, we should be sure we’re changing our peer group because it’s actually a closer peer match, not just so our numbers look better, and if we’re going to consider changing the comparison group for faculty, we should also change it for staff and administrators.

One group that’s been suggested by some is colleges in North Carolina that are four-year private colleges that don’t offer graduate degrees. One problem is that there aren’t many such colleges in the state, so it’s not a large group – less than 20 – and some of them are very unlike Guilford in terms of size, budget, student preparation, and mission. Most are much smaller, have much lower budgets and endowments, and have a significantly lower preparation level for incoming students. However, if we use this group for faculty salary comparisons, our salaries are often in the top half of the list, and in some categories higher. This is a point made by an anonymous commenter to our page for the forum on a salary policy. A later anonymous commenter provided a link to data:

I am not sure where Anonymous at 4:53 is getting their information but looking at the AAUP salary data

Full professors at Guilford are at #6 out of 16 for salary at private baccalaureate institutions in NC

Associate professors at Guilford are at #8 out of 16 for salary at private baccalaureate institutions in NC

Assistant professors at Guilford are #8 out of 16 for salary at private baccalaureate institutions in NC

I did some further research using IPEDS data, which is a government database that collects information from colleges and universities. It is not without its problems in terms of consistency of reporting, but it’s at least a baseline comparison. I tried to look at how much of a priority faculty salaries were at each North Carolina baccalaureate institution in their budget, and this is the comparison I came up with:

Salary Comparison

As you can see, Guilford is at the lower end of North Carolina colleges in terms of percent of overall budget spent on instruction, which seems to me to support the idea that regardless of comparison group, we have prioritized faculty salaries at a lower level than other colleges. If we spent 28-30% of our total budget on faculty salaries instead of 23%, our faculty pay rates would have met the 50th percentile goal compared to AAUP IIB that we’ve put in our strategic plans.

That’s not to say that this would have been possible, or smart, or that staff haven’t also suffered from low pay, but numerically, it is interesting.


Guidance from CIRP data

March 17th, 2015

Susan Ikenberry from our Institutional Research office sent me the following report on our CIRP student survey data. Some of this was reported in our Faculty Forum earlier this semester. Very interesting information.

CIRP Narrative Items


Susan suggested that answers to the following questions can be found herein:

  • Incoming Students Intended Majors vs Actual Majors they graduate in 4 years later…..(some departments gain; others may have some opportunities) pp. 15-17
  • Habits of Mind (trends over 8 years)
  • Study Abroad & Experiential Intentions (trends over 8 years)
  • Political Identification (major shifts over 8 years)
  • Views on Social & Political Issues (major shifts over 8 years)
  • Demographics (changes in race, gender high school/neighborhood composition over 8 years)
  • Satisfaction & Retention (comparison of 1st-year likelihood of transferring out to actual retention of the cohort)
  • Disabilities, Emotional Health (changes over 8 years)
  • Behavioral Habits (virtual vs actual interaction, studying, family responsibilities…)
  • New Questions related to Guilford Core values that were asked for first time this year:
    • Why did they choose Guilford?
    • Why are they attending college?
    • Is a B.A./B.S. sufficient? (post-graduation academic goals)

College Philanthropic Campaigns

October 3rd, 2014

Mike Poston recently presented some materials to Budget Committee on the state of the two campaigns, one $60 million campaign just completed, and the $15 million bridging campaign just beginning now. In the survey I did last May, many people requested more information on the college’s advancement efforts, so I thought you might find this interesting. Remember that most of the totals here don’t represent cash-on-hand; many campaign contributions are pledges for future contributions or bequests in estates which we do not receive until later. Here are some of his slides, shared with permission (click on them to biggify):


This slide shows the breakdown of gifts received during the Advancing Excellence campaign which just ended this summer. It came in at a little over $2 million over its $60 million goal. Note that we did better at reaching our goals in some categories than in others.


This slide shows the breakdown of goals for the upcoming bridging $15 million campaign. The extra money (about $2.2 million) from the last campaign was carried over into this one, which is why the current total is about $2.8 million here. Again, we are doing better in some categories than in others.


This table shows a comparison of contributions between last year and this year with dollar amounts received by category.
This table shows the increase in alumni participation between last year and this year – it appears that alumni are more generous with their donations this year. The reasons for this are not perfectly clear, but Mike thought it might have to do with the arrival of Jane and the launch of the new bridging campaign.

The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life