MFSC Subcommittee Report, April 2018

Maxwell Salary Equity Committee Subcommittee Summary:

Response to Maxwell’s Data Analysis on Salary Equity



There is general concern among Maxwell faculty over the question of why the salary inequities identified by the Maxwell Data Analysis differ so widely from those identified by the Syracuse University Faculty Salary Report, which the Provost directed the Deans of the Schools to implement. To address this concern, it has been incumbent on the Maxwell Salary Equity Committee to look at Maxwell’s Data Analysis head-on.  

The subcommittee carefully considered the Maxwell Data Analysis and compiled a list of further questions in the spirit of accuracy, thoroughness, and validity.  Associate Dean London provided a timely and thorough response to our initial factual questions (see attachment)


The underlying question motivating our inquiry is whether the Maxwell Data Analysis accurately reflects the following:

  • the full extent of salary inequity at Full Professor level and
  • the presence/full extent of salary inequity at Associate Professor level  

In considering the Maxwell Data Analysis, the subcommittee noted it is based on different data and uses different assumptions than the University Salary Report. Specifically, it uses AY 2017-2018 salary data of Maxwell tenure-track and tenured faculty, excludes the current dean, university professors, and non-tenure track faculty, and includes current associate deans (with 8.5 month salaries), former associate deans, and professors of practice. There are several ways in which this analysis could be refined, which we list below in the recommendation section.


The results of the Maxwell Data Analysis as currently specified:

  • indicate the overall gender disparity is explained in large part by rank and department,
  • confirm the largest gender pay discrepancies are at the full level, and
  • suggest there is variation across departments.  

The members of this subcommittee recognize the limitations of this analysis which call into question its validity in demonstrating the full extent of gender salary inequity in the Maxwell School.  

The subcommittee thinks the Maxwell Data Analysis in conjunction with the University Salary Report show there are gender pay discrepancies within departments.  Due to confidentiality, neither report provides details about the magnitude of gender pay discrepancies by department.  But the dean’s office has this data and could use it to identify the magnitude of the gender pay discrepancies within departments.  

The subcommittee expressed deep concern about the small number of female full professors in Maxwell, the miniscule number or absence of women in some departments at some ranks, and, in addition to salary inequity, inequity in compensation and opportunity (special chairs, research funds, GAs, and other vital resources).   

The subcommittee also thinks the Maxwell Data Analysis in conjunction with the University Salary Report suggest Maxwell women’s overall mean salary is lower than men’s because, in part, women are overrepresented at lower ranks and in departments with lower pay. Given this, we encourage the dean’s office to support women’s timely movement through the ranks, ensure department salaries are in line with their respective disciplines and more realistic outside benchmark opportunities for female Maxwell professors (interdisciplinary, administrative, research center positions, etc.), and consider whether the extent of disparities in pay across the Maxwell departments could be rectified. While we recognize market forces are driving departmental disparities, we also question whether the current level of inequality in pay across disciplines should be as large as it is given we are all a part of the Maxwell School.

The subcommittee recommends these action items:


1)      Suggestions for refining the analysis of Maxwell faculty salary data

a.       Control for time-in-rank, time-at-SU, endowed chairs, administrative roles (department chair, program director, current/former associate deans)

b.      Run new regressions with the logarithm of salary (in place of the salary itself) as the dependent variable.

  • Run the analysis without PAIA and without PAIA & Economics

c.       Include the same years and assumptions as the university salary equity report but add controls for department and previously mentioned variables.

d.      Plot salaries at Full and Associate Professor level by Department

2)         Ask the dean’s office to reach out to women faculty, particularly at the full level, to understand their concerns.

3)         Ask the dean’s office to identify and rectify gender pay discrepancies within departments.