Maxwell Faculty Salary Committee Report


                                                                         April 9, 2018


From: Maxwell Faculty Council Faculty Salary Committee

To: Maxwell Faculty Council

Subject: Committee Report

The Maxwell Faculty Committee (MFC) Faculty Salary Committee (FSC) was inaugurated by the President of the MFC on February 28, 2018 (Attachment 1), and subsequently met on March 6th, 9th, 21st, 29th and April 3rd.  The committee was comprised of the following members: Elizabeth Cohen, Shana Gadarian, Jeff Gonda, Sarah Hamersma, Elizabeth Lasch-Quinn, Bob Murrett, Devashish Mitra, Tom Perreault, Robert Rubinstein, Amy Schwartz, Theresa Singleton and Janet Wilmoth.  As reflected in the attachment, initial focus was in the following four areas:


1.   Recommend acknowledgement of University Salary Report core finding of salary equity problems that require set aside finding from central administration.  Request funds to correct salary structure and a protocol for correction as it impacts faculty of the Maxwell School.  [The Provost informed the senate of one-time funds for salary corrections at the Senate meeting on the 21st].

2.   Feedback on the faculty salary process in Maxwell more generally. Has it contributed to inequities? How might it be improved?  

3.   How can we encourage more women to seek promotion to full? What are the obstacles if any?

4.   What is the average pay for social scientists (Maxwell departments) at competitor schools?


Consistent with this tasker, the FSC also formed a subcommittee (comprised of Sarah Hamersma, Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, Devashish Mitra, Robert Rubinstein, and Janet Wilmoth) to review the study of Maxwell faculty salaries conducted by the Dean’s office.  The subcommittee submitted a series of questions to Professor London on the report, which he responded to promptly (Attachment 2).

As a result of this process, the FSC discussed a series of issues pertaining to faculty salaries at Maxwell.  Some of these can be addressed immediately, while others lend themselves to additional study or deliberation after completion of this committee’s efforts.  There are legitimate concerns regarding the history of department-level and overall Maxwell School decision-making with regard to faculty salaries.   Most of these concerns are concentrated into discrete areas: gender inequity, the faculty salary analysis, both intra- and inter-department-level income disparities within Maxwell, overall lack of transparency on income-related decision-making at the department and school level, lack of diversity at Maxwell which may be related to salary and recruitment decisions, and university policies that affect women on maternity leave and parents with child care needs.

  With this as background, the following findings and recommendations are provided:

1.  Gender Inequity: In response to Syracuse University’s clear findings of systemic inequity between the salaries of men and women in the Maxwell School, we ask the Dean’s office to immediately acknowledge the inequities found by the University Salary Report, to remedy all salary inequities between male and female faculty members within its departments and programs, and to acknowledge and address the cumulative effects of this disparity on female faculty members.

2. Faculty Salary Analysis: The study of AY 2017-2018 Maxwell faculty salary data provided by Associate Dean Andrew London represented a partial baseline, accomplished on short notice.  

Faculty length of service at current levels should also be reviewed; in particular, follow-on analysis regarding years at the ranks of Associate and Full Professor in each of the Departments and for Maxwell overall should be evaluated.  As an example of displaying this component, the FSC subcommittee has provided a matrix for displaying results of such analysis (Attachment 3).  Given the fact of documented gender pay disparities, the committee also recommends that the Dean’s office conduct analysis to learn more about whether women experience delays in their promotion from associate professor to full professor that may reflect gender bias and signal to Department chairs the need to offer strong support for all qualified female faculty members seeking advancement.

Consistent with these points, and in order to provide an even stronger basis for action, the committee feels that there needs to be more robust analysis of Maxwell faculty salary data, to include, inter alia, additional regression analysis and control variables, as well as trend analysis using data on pay disparities over multiple years.  In support of this follow-on analysis, the subcommittee provided a report and a list of specific follow-on actions related to the Maxwell study as reflected in Attachment (4). It is the recommendation of this committee that all of the recommendations listed by the subcommittee in the attachment be adopted.

Data on retention and post-exit interviews are another area of study that would be helpful, as it would be useful to have a better understanding of attrition by women and other faculty members at the Maxwell School for the period of the last several years, to have a better sense of those who have opted to leave the university.

 3. Intra- and Inter-Department Issues: There is concern that women are concentrated in the Maxwell Departments with lower salaries and resources, and that there is a need to balance this distribution more evenly at Maxwell.  Each department at Maxwell should conduct and share with the Dean’s office an analysis of faculty at peer/benchmark institutions, which are not the same for departments across Maxwell.  Committee members forwarded three such studies for peer faculty in the fields of Economics, Political Science and Anthropology (AEA data, APSA data, and research by Prof. Rubinstein - Attachments 5, 6, and 7); similar products should be completed for other departments.  We also recommend that the Dean’s office initiate meetings with segments of the faculty that the Salary Report indicates are affected by its findings for individual or group discussions on concerns related to salary, and related matters.  The FSC subcommittee forwarded this as a key recommendation and drafted a template invitation letter which could be used in support of such an effort, in this case for women at the Associate and Full Professor level (Attachment 8).

4.  School and department practices for faculty evaluations: the current procedures for Department and School faculty evaluation, merit review, and formal avenues for engagement with the Dean’s office should be more carefully and transparently documented (see Attachment 9).  In conducting this effort, the end result should be a process for the Maxwell School and individual departments with as much transparency as possible, in which the faculty will have high confidence - without exposing personal data.  Additionally, a procedure ought to be in place to monitor whether outside offers have created or are creating gender pay and promotion disparities, especially in light of the evidence that women experience discrimination in negotiation processes. There should be an overall approach to salaries at Maxwell which removes, as much as possible, incentives to solicit offers from other universities and colleges as a means of securing pay raises and promotions.  A healthy approach to salary levels should not rely on encouraging faculty members to seek outside offers. Yet it is recognized that we live in a competitive environment, and in the case of an outside offer, significant and equitable effort must be made to retain both male and female faculty members.

5.  Overall assessment of faculty contributions and performance: School and department practices for faculty evaluations: the current procedures for Department and School faculty evaluation, merit review, and formal avenues for engagement with the Dean’s office should be more carefully and transparently documented (see Attachment 9).  In conducting this effort, the end result should be a process for the Maxwell School and individual departments with as much transparency as possible, in which the faculty will have high confidence - without exposing personal data.  Additionally, the Maxwell School and Dean’s office ought to convey to faculty a clear sense of which activities in their departments, the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, their disciplines, and the public sphere contribute to salary raises and promotion. There would be value to emphasizing any and all work by faculty members, as reflected in annual CV updates, to include service in administrative, public, and interdisciplinary areas, because of the matrix organizational structure at Maxwell, and the extent of centers and institutes as part of this fabric.  Additionally, it is acknowledged that the University Faculty Salary Report did not take performance indicators into account, and that the follow-on Maxwell analysis was consistent with this approach.  Having said that, performance is a key component with respect to faculty salaries, and sensitive analysis related to this variable should be accomplished. But given the findings of systemic gender inequity, particular care should be taken in assessing rationales for lower salary levels of women and extra attention paid to ensuring their contributions in all three expected areas of teaching, research, and service be fully counted in their favor.

6. Hiring and salary decisions need to emphasize the value of diversity at Maxwell, and serve to significantly increase representation by both underrepresented minorities and people of color.

7.  University policies currently have built-in financial penalties for faculty members on maternity leave.  It is worth noting that since maternity leave is equated with disability leave, normal salary raises tied to time in service and merit are not provided.  Accordingly, the Maxwell School should strongly advocate with the University to modify policies that work against faculty on maternity leave, as well as for expanded child care services.  As a related issue, University child care facilities for young children should be expanded and made more accessible to faculty, staff and students.

As a final comment, it is the sense of this committee that the MFC should continue to keep a Faculty Salary Committee comprised, to conduct independent analysis, to expand data accessibility where possible, and to work with the Dean’s office, Departments, Centers and Institutes, and faculty.  Such a committee can act as an important voice, and continue efforts to advance equity and fairness for all Maxwell faculty members.