Tech and USG address faculty pay gap

Photo by Blake Israel

Despite the compression of faculty salaries and raises awarded to presidents of University System of Georgia (USG) institutions, including G.P. “Bud” Peterson at Tech, the importance of faculty and staff on campuses in Georgia is not diminished according to Charles Sutlive, the Vice Chancellor for Communications of USG.

“We have been working to address faculty salaries, and for the last two fiscal years, we have made faculty salary increases the number one priority in our budget request,” Sutlive said. “Our faculty, staff, students and administrators are all important contributors to the strength of our campuses and each deserves support.”

Rafael Bras, the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Tech, added that the job and responsibility of institute presidents differs significantly from those of a faculty member. But that does not mean that Tech values its faculty any less, according to Bras.

“For the past five years, we have worked hard to address inequalities and make sure that our faculty salaries are competitive, even under difficult economic conditions,” Bras said. “Over the last two years, the state allowed for merit-based salary increases and the Institute invested heavily in these increases to maintain competitiveness among our faculty and staff. Georgia Tech does not undervalue faculty salaries and has continuously worked to make sure our faculty is appropriately rewarded and we are able to attract the best.”

Bras also pointed to data indicating that Tech supports its faculty by providing salaries slightly higher than the median of peer institutions. For the fiscal year of 2015, the median for peer institutions was $91,900 for assistant professors, $99,300 for associate professors and $149,400 for professors. At Tech, the average for assistant professors was $96,900, $103,300 for associate professors and $151,700 for that same year. Bras noted that the data for the median salaries as well as that for the average Tech salaries was sourced from the American Association of University Professors.

Over the last six fiscal years, 125 new faculty positions at Tech have been created thanks to money requested by Tech from the USG for the purpose of faculty recruitment and retention, according to Bras. He added that these positions have been very beneficial for Tech as a whole, as the student to faculty ratio has dropped, and smaller classes have been more available to students.

“Increasing faculty and staff salaries and providing funds for the recruitment, hiring, and retention of additional faculty were the top priorities of Georgia Tech in its Fiscal Year 2016 budget submission to the Board of Regents,” Bras said.

Sutlive added that, recently, there has been modest success regarding instances where the USG has been able to grant raises or wage increases to faculty at USG institutions. According to Sutlive, the USG continues its commitment to prioritizing the faculty and staff at its various institutions in the coming year.

For the fiscal year of 2016, Tech requested $10.8 million for faculty and staff-related goals, including recruitment and retention. According to Bras, one of the primary intentions is to utilize this money to grant merit-based salary increases to deserving faculty. He adds that Tech will continue the process of valuing faculty to the extent that it is able.