Task Force and Committees: Faculty Salary Study

Dear Faculty,

I am pleased to announce that the Faculty Salary Study Task Force has issued its report, and I write to summarize the report’s findings and to let you know our first steps toward addressing the recommendations. The full report is available on the website for the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. Read full report (PDF).

This is the first detailed salary study of the tenured and tenure track faculty to be undertaken at the University of Virginia. I want to thank task force members Sarah Turner (Chair), Silvia Blemker, Greg Fairchild, Amalia Miller, Eric Patashnik, Sara Rimm-Kaufman, Rip Verkerke, and Tim Wilson for their excellent work. In addition, I want to recognize the contributions of Gertrude Fraser, Marcus Martin, Susan Carkeek, Kerry Abrams, and Madelyn Wessel, all of whom served in ex officio capacities. The task force was commissioned by my office to conduct a rigorous examination of faculty salaries at the University of Virginia. The task force was given confidential access to extensive quantitative information about tenured and tenure-track faculty in all schools but Medicine. This information included the salary of each faculty member in four particular years (2013, 2012, 2007, and 2003).

Key Findings:
The task force determined that certain important variables such as rank (assistant, associate, or full professor), the faculty member’s school or department (discipline), the number of years since receipt of a graduate degree, and the number of years at UVA, were all essential to account for in its analysis. These factors have also been viewed as required in other recent University equity studies, as salaries vary widely across academic disciplines, schools, experience, and rank. Once it had accounted for these variables, the task force found that, on average, for the 2013 salary data, male faculty members made 2.7% more than female faculty members, an average annual difference of $3,638. The difference in pay was larger at the Associate and Full Professor ranks, reversed at the Assistant Professor rank, and most statistically significant at the Associate rank.  As has been the case in other recent University salary equity studies, the task force did not (and could not) incorporate qualitative factors that may affect salaries in individual cases such as annual performance evaluations, peer review, scholarly productivity, research funding, service or teaching contributions, or outside offers into its quantitative analysis.  This work remains to be, and will be done.

It is important to note this finding is not unique to the University of Virginia or to higher education.  Policy discussions and reviews regarding this issue are taking place in numerous industries.  This study also comes at a time when the University is committed to increasing overall faculty compensation to be in the top 20 of our AAU peers.

Task Force Recommendations and Next Steps:
The report recommended several actions, each of which we are pursuing. Kerry Abrams, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (kerryabrams@virginia.edu), will be responsible for leading the administrative activities associated with the report. First, Kerry and I will be meeting individually with the school deans to discuss the results of the study and require that careful qualitative assessments of faculty salaries be undertaken by each school and department. These assessments will include review of the factors noted above which could not be quantitatively evaluated by the task force. It is anticipated that some salary adjustments will be made.  Even though the task force was unable to reach conclusions about disparities based on race or citizenship, we will be closely scrutinizing individual cases to ensure that any appropriate salary adjustments are made. Although the report’s findings would suggest that women’s salaries are more likely to require adjustment, this process will include both men and women to ensure that all faculty members whose salaries were found to exhibit a statistical parity difference receive fair and equitable review.

Kerry will also carefully assess institutional practices that could differentially affect faculty success, soliciting input broadly from our University community and forming advisory groups where needed. While the report found a 2.7% salary differential between male and female faculty, the cause of this differential is not ascertainable from the data studied. The Provost’s office will be investigating several potential underlying causes identified in the report, including: the allocation of resources that lead to research productivity (such as lab space and research assistance); the assignment to committees and assessment of institutional service; efforts made to mentor junior colleagues; assistance provided to tenured faculty seeking promotion; the observed gender disparity in the rate and timing of progression from associate to full professor; and whether there are any gender disparities in hiring and salary-setting for senior new hires coming from other institutions. Some of this work has already begun through UVa CHARGE, an NSF ADVANCE program designed to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and social, behavioral and economic (SBE) science careers. We will expand the activities begun by the ADVANCE group to include faculty outside the STEM and SBE fields.

Finally, we recognize that achieving fully equitable representation and compensation at the University requires long-term study and engagement. The Provost’s office will continue to track the variables analyzed in the study; work to develop new, more nuanced methods of studying faculty salary; and commission appropriate reports to measure our progress over time.

President Sullivan and I intend to expand salary equity review beyond the group studied by the Task Force. Kerry has reached out to the leadership of the General Faculty Council and the Executive Vice President for Health Affairs to begin the process of studying salary equity issues among the non-tenure-track faculty and to enable a similar study for the faculty in the School of Medicine.

Best regards,


John D. Simon
Executive Vice President and Provost

Read the Faculty Salary Study Task Force Report to the Provost (PDF)

Chair: Sarah E. Turner
Title: To conduct a quantitative analysis of tenured, tenure track faculty salaries at the University of Virginia.

Presentation to the Board of Visitors' Special Committee on Diversity, February 2014

BOV - Charge and Updates Document
BOV - Diversity Committee Board Document (PDF)

Consultant to the Task Force:
Abigail Stewart
University of Michigan Salary Study Consultant Stakeholder Meetings
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Consultant Meeting Agenda


Name Title School
Sarah E. Turner (Chair) University Professor of Economics and Education College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences/Curry School of Education
Silvia Blemker Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and School of Medicine
Gregory Fairchild E. Thayer Bigelow Associate Professor of Business Administration Darden School of Business
Amalia Miller Associate Professor, Department of Economics College of Arts and Sciences
Eric Patashnik Professor Public Policy and Politics Batten School of Public Policy and College of Arts and Sciences
Sara Rimm-Kaufmannn Associate Professor, Leadership, Foundations and Policy Curry School of Education
J. H. (Rip) Verkerke Professor of Law, Director, Program for Employment and Labor Law Studies School of Law
Timothy Wilson Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology College of Arts and Sciences
Susan Carkeek Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Human Resources (Ex Officio)
Gertrude J. Fraser Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost (Ex Officio)
Marcus Martin Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity (Ex Officio)