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SENATE 2006-2007
May 22, 2007, Volume 53, No. 34

Report of the Faculty Senate Committee on Economic Status of the Faculty (SCESF)

May 16, 2007

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Charge for 2006-2007

This Committee has the following general charge: The Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty shall gather and organize data on salaries and benefits and shall represent the faculty in the determination of University policy on salary issues. The Committee shall issue an annual report on the economic status of the faculty. The Chair of the Senate, after consultation with the Senate Executive Committee, shall include each year as an item on the agenda of a Senate meeting any report that the Committee may bring and any resolutions appropriate to it.

Procedures for Acquiring Faculty Data

We begin by noting that the Committee found it impossible to produce the typical report expected by the Faculty Senate due to lack of a complete data set required from the University. It has been noted by previous chairs for this Committee that obtaining accurate data on faculty salaries is ponderous due to the necessity of acquiring the information directly from department business administrators who typically use varying operational definitions for the term “academic year base salary.” In addition, the current procedures followed by the administration to produce reports of any kind on the characteristics of Penn’s faculty are complex and error-prone. The Committee also notes the unusual circumstances for this year that further lengthened the time needed to acquire the necessary information:

• The departure of Barney Lentz, the Director of Institutional Research and Analysis in mid-November 2006

• Replacement of the Director of Institutional Research and Analysis with an Interim Director working only on a part-time basis

• The discontinuation of the MIT Salary study, a source of institutional comparison data

• The lack of previous salary tables from 2004-05 and 2005-06 for comparative studies

• The necessity of providing Affirmative Action data to the federal government

• Competition for institutional research resources for the NRC assessment

We note that SCESF had full expectations that the salary data needed would be forthcoming in time for this report. On September 26, 2006 SCESF Chair Laura Perna and Faculty Senate Chair Vincent Price met with Barney Lentz to discuss the status of the tables for the report. At this meeting, salary information for FY2005 was provided and assurances were given that the committee would soon be provided with the tables necessary for the report for the year 2005-06. Since SCESF has not been able to produce a report since the report of 2003-04, it was also agreed that comparative data for the years 2003-06 would be produced in time for this report.  After the resignation of Barney Lentz, Susan Shaman was named Interim Director, Office of Institutional Research and Analysis on a part-time basis. Faculty Senate Chair Vincent Price met with Susan Shaman on November 21, 2006 to stress the need for SCESF to move ahead with the salary report, emphasizing that SCESF is already several years late with its routine reporting. Again, assurances were provided that the requested data for SCESF would be forthcoming as soon as was feasible. The tri-chairs of the Faculty Senate also repeatedly raised the issue of getting the necessary data during consultations with the President and Provost. The administration responded by hiring an outside consultant to help with data analysis and by assigning the task of producing the salary data tables as a high priority for Joann Mitchell, Vice President for Institutional Affairs.

After enormous efforts within the President’s and Provost’s offices, Joann Mitchell sent three tables to the SCSEF on April 27, 2007. The Committee noted that these were only a partial set of tables, without many of the data typically reported, and that the data also were aggregated to the school level, even for SAS, even though traditionally SCESF reports have disaggregated data within SAS to humanities, social science, and natural science. Also, the data received did not match data received in the fall for FY05. On May 1, 2007, SCESF met with Joann Mitchell, Deputy Provost Janice Bellace, and Susan Shaman to discuss next steps. Agreements were reached on the following:

1. The Faculty Database Information System (which is in development now) will include the academic base salary field ensuring accurate and easily obtainable information.

2. The Office of Institutional Research and Analysis will produce by (date to be given by Joann Mitchell) tables for 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07 that include accurate and complete data so that SCESF can produce a report in the fall.  The data for 2007-08 will be produced at the end of the fall semester, ensuring that SCESF can produce a second report in the spring.

Recommendations for Next Year’s Committee

Committee recommends the following actions for next year: 

(1) Follow-up on agreements from the administration as outlined above;

(2) Produce two reports in 2007-08;

(3) Ensure changes in data-gathering procedures so that salary data are forthcoming in a timely fashion for the future;

(4) Ensure that “academic year base salary” is clearly and consistently defined and that Business Administrators are trained to enter this information into databases correctly;

(5) Follow up on the status of completion of the Faculty Database Information System (FIS), making sure that academic base salary is included as a field in FIS.

2006-07 Committee Members

Laura Perna, Graduate School of Education, Chair                                                     
Barbara Medoff-Cooper, Nursing                                                                                         
Michael Katz, History                                                                                                           
Petra Todd, Economics                                                                                                           
Daniel Raff, Wharton                  
Chris Sanchirco, Law
Ex-Officio Members:
Senate Chair, Vincent Price
Senate Chair-Elect, Larry Gladney
Senate Past-Chair, Neville Strumpf

Almanac - May 22, 2007, Volume 53, No. 34