Since the findings overview was presented at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in March, CFA members have been skeptical of a CSU-sponsored faculty compensation study suspecting serious methodological missteps.
CSU management recently released the report, more than six months after CFA members submitted an information request. As expected, dubious assumptions in the report lead to management’s conclusion that compensation at the CSU is fine.
CFA members are poring over the report, but a few areas jump out as problematic. Comparisons between tenured and tenure-track faculty at the CSU and those at other institutions are not consistent. The analysis compares CSU faculty salary data with other university systems across the nation, but conspicuously excluded significant university systems in areas with higher costs of living, namely the University of California, the California Community Colleges, the State University of New York, or the City University of New York. Furthermore, the analyses completely overlooked the possibility of gender/racial pay disparities between academic departments.
These problems undoubtedly skew the study’s results.
“I was a team member on the faculty compensation workgroup and I have serious concerns about the methodology employed by Mercer and the recommendations in the report. As a team member, I was not provided access to the calculations Mercer completed, nor the underlying models. I was not given the opportunity to review or provide feedback to this report prior to its dissemination,” said Steven Filling, CFA Political Action and Legislative Committee chair and CSU Stanislaus professor.
We’ll update members when we have a more detailed analysis.