James Madison University
Office of Institutional Research

 


Research Notes

Volume 12, Number 1

August, 1997

NEW FACULTY SALARY PEER GROUP

In 1986 the Virginia General Assembly approved a policy to enhance the competitive position of higher education institutions in Virginia by raising the average faculty salary of each publicly supported higher education institution to the 60th percentile of a group of peer institutions outside of Virginia. In the 1980's JMU had two faculty salary peer groups, with the most recent one being approved in 1986. The standard source of data on faculty salaries is the AAUP salary survey that is completed each year in the fall and published the following spring.

When the peer groups were selected in 1986 in cooperation with institutional representatives JMU ranked 22nd out of 25 peer institutions. Due to the commitment by the Commonwealth significant monies were designated by the General Assembly between 1986 and 1990 to raise the average salaries. Salary increases consisted of 12.25% in 1986-87, 8.50% in 1987-88, 8.53% in 1988-89, and 7.58% in 1989-90. Between 1985-86 and 1989-90, the average JMU salary increased from $29,682 to $42,618, an increase of 43.6 percent. The severe state budget reductions in the early 1990's resulted in JMU's average salary rank slipping from 7th in 1989-90 to 12th in 1992-93. By 1996-97 the average faculty salary was $49,971. This represented an increase of 17.27% since 1989-90. Even though the percentage increase was far smaller than the ones between 1986-87 and 1989-90, JMU's rank had risen to 9th place primarily because the other peer institutions received even smaller increases.

JMU has changed in major ways since 1986. The institution is prominently mentioned as one of the best regional universities in the country in several national publications. It has added a major new college in the College of Integrated Science and Technology. It has diversified its programs with a new General Education Program, the first doctoral program in Psychology, and expanded health-related programs. These quality indicators and new programs resulted in a higher profile that attracts quality students and faculty. JMU has one of the highest rates of freshman applications in the country. In Virginia JMU is now competing for students with the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary. If JMU is to continue to attract quality students and faculty, it must have the resources to pay quality faculty competitive salaries. For these reasons it was increasingly obvious that JMU needed a new peer group. Fortunately, officials at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) agreed.

In the winter of 1997 institutional representatives met at SCHEV to refine a method to select 24 new peers. It was acknowledged that the current peers were dated and should be revised for all institutions. The selection of the new peer group was technically and politically complicated. A potential group of 75 institutions was generated through a multi-variate procedure (cluster analysis) that compared JMU with national institutions on criteria that included headcount, percentage of part-time students, percentage of graduate students, percentage of bachelors degrees conferred, percentage of degrees conferred in various discipline clusters, research expenditures, average SAT scores, and percent of full-time faculty with terminal degrees. In addition, qualitative factors such as accreditation in areas such as business, five-year graduation rate, and percentage of applicants accepted could be considered to finalize the list of peer institutions. From these 75 institutions 25 (including JMU) were selected by representatives from JMU, SCHEV, the Department of Planning and Budget, and the House and Senate staff.

The table below lists the new peer group with selected comparison data and the 1996-97 AAUP salary average. One very important difference in this peer group should be noted. This is a far more competitive list of institutions than the 1986 group. Institutions now considered peers include such well-known institutions as the University of Notre Dame, the University of Delaware, Ohio University, SUNY-Binghamton, the University of Rhode Island, Providence College, and Texas Christian University.

These new peer institutions as a whole have a much higher faculty salary average than the 1986 group. In 1995-96 JMU's average salary was within $1,000 of the 60th percentile which means that the institution was not well positioned for good salary increases even though the quality of JMU and its national reputation had improved markedly since 1986. The situation with this new peer group is much different. As can be seen at the end of the following table, JMU is $4,500 below the 60th percentile. JMU is now ranked 12th among its peer institutions. The hope is that JMU will now be able to receive higher faculty salary increases in the next several years to move it closer to the new 60th percentile. These increases, however, are dependent upon the actions of the General Assembly.

James Madison University is very pleased to be considered among one of the best institutions in the United States. It now appears that its new peer group better reflects what JMU has become.

Additional questions about this Research Notes can be addressed to the Office of Institutional Research. Individuals who would like to view the Web sites of these institutions are urged to follow this link.

 

State and Institution

Comparison Data

1996-97 AAUP SALARY AVERAGE

STATE

PEER INSTITUTION

HEADCT

AACSB ACCRED

5 YEAR GRAD RATE

PERCENT APPS ACCEPTED

PROF

ASSOC

ASST

INSTR

TOTAL

NC

Appalachian State University

12,457

Y

60

66

57.3

46.6

40.3

 

47.9

TX

Baylor University

12,202

Y

67

60

67.1

51.4

41.3

 

51.3

IL

Bradley University

5,973

Y

67

95

62.4

49.1

39.3

30.3

47.5

CA

California State Univ.- Chico

13,798

Y

43

82

65.2

52.1

42.4

 

60.5

CA

California State Univ.- Fresno

17,461

Y

38

71

65.1

52.7

41.0

35.4

60.0

SC

College of Charleston

10,537

Y

53

74

54.4

46.2

36.3

28.8

42.4

PA

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

13,879

N

63

58

72.6

58.2

43.6

34.9

58.4

VA

James Madison University

13,209

Y

80

57

59.2

49.9

40.7

32.1

50.0

TN

Middle Tennessee State University

17,424

Y

30

72

58.1

44.5

36.3

28.3

44.0

OH

Ohio University Main Campus

19,727

Y

68

72

80.1

55.6

46.2

36.0

62.5

RI

Providence College

5,557

N

88

75

69.6

58.5

47.0

37.9

56.0

MD

Salisbury State University

6,010

Y

54

47

58.6

46.7

38.7

40.2

43.5

NY

SUNY - Binghamton

11,978

Y

80

40

74.1

53.5

43.3

 

58.4

NY

SUNY College - Brockport

9,047

N

48

54

62.0

52.8

41.0

 

49.9

NY

SUNY College - Oswego

8,616

N

57

53

55.0

45.6

35.4

27.3

45.2

TX

Texas Christian University

7,050

Y

60

73

72.5

52.6

45.6

38.1

56.1

MD

Towson State University

14,643

Y

70

63

57.8

46.7

40.7

33.2

47.9

DE

University of Delaware

21,365

Y

71

73

83.3

58.7

46.8

34.5

63.7

ND

University of North Dakota - Main Campus

11,486

Y

43

72

50.0

41.1

35.4

33.9

39.7

IA

University of Northern Iowa

13,116

Y

55

83

64.1

50.1

42.7

34.5

49.2

IN

University of Notre Dame

10,303

Y

93

39

90.3

62.2

51.3

54.4

71.3

OR

University of Oregon

17,470

Y

54

88

60.3

45.2

38.5

28.7

47.2

RI

University of Rhode Island

13,698

Y

60

79

68.4

51.0

43.5

 

59.4

TN

University of Tennessee - Chattanooga

8,331

Y

33

60

55.5

45.1

38.8

26.3

46.8

WA

Western Washington University

10,708

Y

52

76

55.7

45.2

37.5

 

46.8

Average Excluding JMU

12,202

 

59

68

65.0

50.5

41.4

34.3

52.3

60th Percentile Excluding JMU

               

54.5

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