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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

June 11, 2009

Committee studies faculty salaries

by Erin Rosacker

Faculty Senate president Arnold van der Valk said salary policy recommendations stemming from committee reports will be part of this fall's senate business. The compensation committee, which he chaired in 2008-09, compiled a pair of reports that analyzed salaries of ISU's tenure-track and non-tenure eligible faculty.

"Overall, ISU faculty salaries are now the lowest in the peer 11, and the trend line suggests that we are continuing to lose ground," van der Valk said.

Tenure-track faculty

The committee used data from ISU Institutional Research and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to look at salaries and salary increases of tenure-track faculty. The report found that from 1998 to 2008:

  • ISU's mean salaries were the lowest among its peer 11 institutions
  • In a college-by-college comparison, only three colleges (Ag and Life Sciences, Engineering and Vet Med) have matched or exceeded salaries of faculty in similar colleges at peer institutions
  • Salary disparity of faculty in ISU's other colleges continues to grow in relation to those at peer institutions

And according to the report, humanities faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences were the lowest paid at ISU, and made 17 percent less than humanities faculty at peer institutions in 2008. Although Business faculty showed a 14 percent deficit in salary comparisons with their peers, they have the best mean salary at ISU.

According to annual AAUP data, 2008 mean salaries are:

InstitutionFull Associate Assistant
Illinois $125,700 $82,200 $73,700
Minnesota 121,300 84,300 72,300
Ohio State 121,600 80,500 70,900
Michigan State 116,000 82,800 64,200
North Carolina State 110,800 82,000 69,900
Texas A&M 112,300 79,800 70,500
Arizona 113,100 79,000 69,700
Purdue 113,300 77,200 69,200
Wisconsin 104,700 80,300 69,100
Iowa State 106,700 77,600 67,600

Non-tenure eligible faculty

Using ISU Institutional Research numbers, the committee also examined salaries of full-time non-tenure eligible (NTE) faculty at ISU. The study found that NTE faculty in Engineering and Vet Med earn the highest salaries of all ISU NTE faculty. In general, adjunct faculty are the best paid, followed by senior lecturers and lecturers. Vet Med is the exception, which the report attributed to a different use of the adjunct designation and a substantial amount of senior clinicians and clinicians in that college.

Although the committee determined NTE faculty received regular salary increases, it found the low salaries of LAS senior lecturers and lecturers troublesome.

"The absence of any relationship between salary and qualifications indicates that there is a serious problem with NTE salary policy in this college," the report read.

Although it was not possible to compare NTE faculty salaries to those at ISU's peer 11 institutions, the committee used comparative data collected by the American Association of Universities (AAU). The committee estimated that ISU NTE faculty salaries lagged 10 percent behind those at other AAU institutions. It also estimated 80 percent of ISU NTE faculty are paid less than faculty at similar institutions.

Top priorities

van der Valk said the committee's major findings were:

  • "that tenure-track mean faculty salaries in some colleges have dropped in comparison to those in Peer 11 institutions over the last 10 years while those in others remained at or above the Peer 11 average"
  • "that over the last 10 years, cumulative mean faculty-salary increases have not kept up with inflation"
  • "that lecturers/senior lecturers in some colleges, especially in the humanities division of LAS, are very poorly paid when compared to those in other colleges at ISU"

He said he expects the Faculty Senate to act on policy recommendations -- such as the compensation committee's recommendation for NTE faculty salary benchmarks -- this fall.

The reports are available on the senate web site. They also were sent to the ISU administration and other senate councils that consider faculty compensation issues.


A Faculty Senate committee reported that ISU faculty salaries fall short when compared to those at peer institutions. Senate president Arnold van der Valk expects policy recommendations in 2009-10 as a result.