In this issue, we take a brief look at the newspaper. FSU's search has just collided with a politician, our affiliates have called for a boycott, and the annual AAUP salary survey inspired us to compare USF salaries with those in the invitation-only club we aspire to enter.
The Spectacle at FSU
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is president of the University of California, former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is the president of Purdue University, and a search committee is considering whether to recommend State Senator John Thrasher, former Speaker to the Florida House of Representatives and current Florida Republican Party Chairman, to be the next president of Florida State University.
Thrasher is an FSU alumnus and former chairman of the FSU Board of Trustees. Moreover, the FSU Medical School's building is named after Thrasher (he got rid of the old Board of Regents in order to get the med school), so this is not just some semi-retiring politician randomly choosing a job.
The problem is the search committee. A search committee is supposed to collect applications, and then review their credentials, and then interview the top candidates, and then make its recommendations to the board. But when Thrasher was nominated, the committee decided to pause the application-collecting to interview Thrasher. But there was a ruckus, including:
So the search committee
- First, the FSU Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida declared that UFF-FSU Has "Lost Confidence" in Presidential Search Process. The Chapter called for replacing the search firm, expanding the search committee, and fixing a timeline for the search.
- Next, the FSU Faculty Senate declared that "we have lost confidence in ... [the] search process." The senate called for a "return to an open search" with an application deadline in early September, with the three top candidates to be invited to FSU shortly thereafter, followed by a meeting of the search committee to vote on a recommendation to the Board.
Letter Carriers Call for Boycott of Staples
Staples and the United States Postal Service (USPS) have a deal for you. Instead of taking your packages to the post office to mail, you can mail them at (a participating) Staples store instead.
Both Staples and the United States Postal Service have had some financial issues lately, and the Boston Globe reported that [t]he long-troubled United States Postal Service was teaming up with equally distressed retailer Staples Inc. to offer mail services in 82 of its office supply stores. Staples wanted to attract customer traffic and the USPS was delighted to outsource business to workers who get one-third the pay.
The United States Postal Service is unionized, but Staples is not (did I mention their relative pay?). The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) called for a boycott of Staples, a call endorsed by the AFL-CIO, which is the umbrella for one of UFF's two national affiliates, the American Federation of Teachers.
- This is an example of the importance of affiliates. Just as our affiliates have helped us when we were in trouble (Thrasher and Governor Bush hoped to get rid of the United Faculty of Florida as well as get FSU its med school), so the APWU is getting help from its affiliates when they need help.
- While a full-time postal clerk may earn $ 50,000 a year, a Staples clerk may earn $ 17,500; such is the difference a union can make.
- The USPS's financial problems arise from Congress's inability to recognize that USPS has a mission distinct from any private company, which you can see buried at the bottom of the USPS's announcement of the joint venture with Staples: "A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation: 152 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses ...".
Department of Impasse
Faculty Salaries and AAU Membership
The American Association of Universities (AAU) is an association of America's (US and Canadian) premier academic institutions. At least, they collectively get the lion's share of external funding for research. AAU membership means that you have made it. Certainly, USF's Board and Administration think so: AAU membership is mentioned five times in USF's current strategic plan.
The Strategic Plan is big on benchmarks, so what benchmark might we use to measure progress towards membership?
The University of South Florida is its faculty. Faculty teach, mentor, and advise the students. Faculty conduct the research that leads to publications, patents, and applications that benefit the community. And faculty conduct much of the administration (which is called "service"). To progress towards AAU membership, USF must recruit outstanding faculty, USF must maintain the high levels of morale necessary for high performance, and USF must retain faculty in the face of headhunting by industry and competing institutions (including AAU members who have poached - er, hired away - USF faculty).
We propose a benchmark on faculty recruitment, retention, and morale. How does USF's pay compare to those of AAU members?
We looked at the American Association of University Professors' (AAUP) Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession. This year, 1,156 institutions provided information to the AAUP, so we can use AAUP's report on 2013 - 2014 salaries.
Private institutions are different from public ones (they keep more secrets and pay better), so we focus on the 34 public universities in the AAU. 33 of these were among the 1,156 institutions that provided information to the AAUP; information on these institutions is probably most readily obtained via the Chronicle of Higher Education's portal.
From the information provided by USF, the AAUP reported that:
The Board can rest easy. Thank heavens for Missouri!
- The average USF full professor's salary was $ 111,600. This put USF at the 28th percentile of all doctoral institutions covered by the survey. (Incidentally, at this rank, women made 85.9 % of what men did.)
Of the 33 reporting and public members of the AAU, average salaries for full professors ranged from $ 114,100 to $ 173,900, with a median (half above and half below) being $ 136,700. USF's average salary for full professors is below that of all AAU members, and over $ 25,000 less than the median..
- The average USF associate professor's salary was $ 81,200. This again put USF in the 28th percentile of surveyed doctoral institutions. (Interestingly, women at this rank made 95.2 % of what men made.)
Of the 33 reporting and public members of the AAU, average salaries for associate professors ranged from $ 78,200 to $ 111,800, with a median of $ 93,000. Yes, we beat the University of Missouri; the other 32 paid more than USF did.
- The average USF assistant professor's salary was $ 69,000. This put USF in the 24th percentile of surveyed doctoral institutions. (Women at this rank made 94.4 % of what men did.)
Of the 33 reporting and public members of the AAU, average salaries for assistant professors ranged from $ 64,700 to $ 99,200, with a median of $ 81,600. 32 may pay better than USF does, but we beat Missouri again! Bulls beat Tigers!
- The average USF instructor's salary was $ 50,600. This may be generous: this put us in the 40th percentile of all reporting doctoral institutions. On the other hand, lots of places (including Missouri) had "N/A" for instructors, so who knows? (Meanwhile, women's salaries at this rank fell to 88.6 % of men's.)
Only 22 of the 33 reporting and public members of the AAU provided information on instructors, and of these, average salaries ranged from $ 37,200 to $ 107,300, with a median of $ 53,100. Seven of those 22 public AAU institutions pay less than USF. Are we doing better on instructor salaries, or are they doing worse?