Study may reveal gender gap in faculty pay

The provost has begun working with the Faculty Welfare and Compensation Committee of the Faculty Senate to see whether Seton Hall faculty are paid less than faculty at other, similar institutions and to see whether female faculty are paid less at Seton Hall than male faculty, according to Dr. Nicholas H. Snow, associate provost for Finance and Administration.

The announcement that the provost’s office will work with the committee on a wage study comes after the committee requested a three-year study in June to compare current faculty salaries with salaries of similar and aspirant institutions, as well as with cost of living in Essex County.

A Setonian analysis of a study by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources and the 2010 University Fact Book revealed that Seton Hall professors, on average, tend to make less than their Mid-Atlantic region counterparts.

Additionally, full professors at Seton Hall, including law and health and medical science professors, on average made $129,255, while professors in the Mid-Atlantic region overall, on average made $142,584, a difference of approximately 9 percent, according to 2010 data.

Snow said the study will look into a possible gender discrepancy in wages after The Setonian’s analysis of the Fact Book revealed that, on average, female faculty tend to make less than male faculty at Seton Hall.

Professors from the Faculty Compensation and Welfare Committee and Snow say further study is needed to analyze both of the apparent wage discrepancies because there are mitigating factors that make it difficult to assess if there is an actual wage gap, especially in the case of gender.

According to the Fact Book, in 2010, the average male faculty member made $97,627, while the average female faculty member made $86,829, a difference of approximately 11 percent.

Dr. Roseanne Mirabella, a professor at Seton Hall and chairwoman of the Faculty Compensation and Welfare Committee, Dr. Mary Balkun, professor and member of the committee, and Snow all agreed that there are many factors involved in deciding salary that made it difficult to establish whether there is a gender discrepancy in salary.

According to Snow, when a professor is hired at Seton Hall, there is never a consideration of gender when the University decides on a salary.

Snow said the three major factors that may affect salaries are rank, market prices and length of time spent teaching. Snow said there are different levels of professors at Seton Hall who are placed in different categories in the Fact Book. The higher ranked a professor is, the higher his or her salary, Snow said.

However, for most categories including professor, associate professor, instructor and other, men still make more than women, according to the Fact Book. Women assistant professors, however, make more than men assistant professors. Snow said, however, that other factors are taken into consideration within rank when hiring a faculty member that may affect salary amounts, such as if a professor has previous experience.

Some faculty may also be paid more or paid less based on the marketability of their area of expertise. Snow said, for example, that his area of expertise was chemistry, and that he may be paid more than a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences who has a different area of expertise because of the higher starting salary of chemists in the private sector.

“(Salary) in higher education becomes so complicated so quickly that it’s hard to judge apples to apples, because even when you’re just looking in the College of Arts and Sciences, most professors will be teaching in different areas,” Snow said.

Snow added that higher education had typically been a male-dominated profession, and the longer a professor has been here, the more chances he or she has had for salary increases.

According to Mirabella, a study done in the 1990s at Seton Hall looked more deeply into the salary discrepancy and found that, when comparing professors who were equal in all other aspects, men made more than women. Mirabella said that a course of action had been outlined and initiated to correct that gap, though.

According to Mirabella and Balkun, though, the new salary figures need to be studied further to be sure the gender discrepancy in salary has not reappeared.

“I think this statistic is worth examining, even though it is hard to determine the exact cause based on the figures in the Fact Book alone,” Balkun said. “However, since women have historically been paid less than men, I would like to know for sure the reason for the difference.”

Balkun cited a 2010 Time magazine article, which revealed that, as of 2008, women were only making 77 cents to every dollar, despite the gender pay gap decreasing in the United States.

Mirabella expressed a similar sentiment, saying this new study should establish whether a salary gap existed between genders for professors at Seton Hall, as well as for all Seton Hall faculty compared to similar colleges and universities.

According to Mirabella and Snow, around 2007 the University undertook a large salary study, which found that faculty at Seton Hall were underpaid compared to similar schools.

Mirabella said having a salary scale similar to other universities increased Seton Hall’s competitiveness, as it helped to recruit higher quality faculty when the university offers a competitive salary. A competitive salary, Mirabella added, also improved not only the quality of life of the professor, but the quality of campus life.

“For a younger professor starting a family, it’s difficult to make ends meet in Essex County,” Mirabella said, adding that if a professor has to move far away, such as to Pennsylvania, to have a good quality of life, campus life is not as robust because professors cannot hold or attend as many night or weekend programs or be as available to students.

According to Mirabella and Snow, after the study was completed, the school increased professors’ salaries to help close the gap between Seton Hall and similar schools.

However, Mirabella said that due to the current economic climate and because of budgetary issues at Seton Hall that resulted from the economic problems, there have been fewer salary increases for faculty in the last few years.

Snow said when there is a more thorough salary review, the data would naturally become available in the course of the study to further examine the gender salary gap to ensure there was “no accidental” gender salary discrepancy.

“It’s been five years since the last study, and a lot has happened in those years, so I think (a new study) is a fair request,” Snow said.

Caitlin Carroll can be reached at Caitlin on Twitter @CaitiGirl

Author: Staff Writer

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