Recent conversations at the college included a comparison of salary averages between our institution and 26 peer institutions using the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) reports*. SSC salary averages do appear higher by comparison, a point which has been used to suggest that SSC faculty are relatively over-compensated:
An important point to consider is that SSC salary data also include the overall “on paper” increase that occurred as a result of reallocation, a directive in which faculty’s gross salaries were increased by an amount that is then deducted from actual pay and put toward insurance benefits. It is unclear whether each reporting peer institution includes any form of benefits compensation within their salaries in the same way we do, and IPEDS does not specify this in their reporting methodology per individual institution. This clearly may make a significant difference in average salary calculations.
Stark AAUP is currently checking with individual institutions and will report back with updated information when it becomes available.
This is the IPEDS salary comparison report from 2011 and the one from 2012:
Comparison institution salary averages changed little from year to year, yet SSC averages jumped quite a bit. The change in patterns absolutely suggests that the reallocated funds do play a role when comparing the current salary averages to those at peer institutions.
The conversation further suggested that in order to figure the amount of any proposed raise of 1-2% for next year (if approved), the portion of any reallocated salary would first be subtracted from the base amount. For example,
- Current salary: $50,000
- Reallocated amount: $10,000
- Proposed raise: 1.0%
- Calculation: ($50,000 – $10,000) * 1.0% = $400
- New salary: $50,400
While this process reflects the reality that some faculty were hired post-reallocation, it certainly does raise an important question: why the difference in approach? Why recognize that reallocation has a skewing impact on base salary and subtract it in order to figure a raise, but then not recognize the same principle when considering overall salary data that is used to make comparisons and draw conclusions based on those comparisons?
Also mentioned was a possible lump-sum compensation payment based on several performance metrics including enrollment goals, graduation rates, and current year surplus. Is this process intended to eventually replace the possibility of raises which increase base salary? The answer to that question remains unclear since the discussion is a work in progress. However, if this is a system that will be implemented in the future, particularly troubling is the suggestion that meeting or beating prior student satisfaction rates be used as a possible measure of performance to figure any compensation. All faculty members are aware of the multiple problems and consequences associated with measuring “student satisfaction” and using it as an indicator of quality teaching. Such a system of compensation tied to satisfaction, however it is defined, is deserving of a much larger conversation before it is implemented.
It is in everyone’s best interests—faculty, administration, staff, and students—that the college looks to other comparable institutions around the state and country before this type of performance indicator is approved.
* IPEDS data and reports are available at http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/
Peer institutions included in IPEDS comparisons: Belmont College; Bluegrass Community and Technical College; Central Ohio Technical College; Cincinnati State Technical and Community College; Clark State Community College; Columbus State Community College; Cuyahoga Community College District; Eastern Gateway Community College; Edison State Community College; Grand Rapids Community College; Greenville Technical College; Hocking College; James A Rhodes State College; Lakeland Community College; Lorain County Community College; Marion Technical College; Metropolitan Community College Area; Monroe Community College; North Central State College; Northwest State Community College; Owens Community College; Sinclair Community College; Southern State Community College; Terra State Community College; Washington State Community College; Zane State College