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Faculty salary average lowest in Ohio

Ten years ago, President Sidney Ribeau promised the University faculty he’d help them reach Ohio’s 70th percentile – or top three out of 10 – when it came to salaries.

Today none of the various levels of professors and instructors at the University are leading their peers in the state, and the average University educator’s salary ranks last in Ohio (see chart to the right).

At first glance, the University’s ranking is fairly embarrassing, according to Phil Terrie, professor of american culture studies.

“I think the numbers speak for themselves, and it hurts BGSU with faculty hires,” Terrie said.

But a more detailed breakdown of salaries at the University shows that over the past five years the percentage of the University faculty who are instructors has grown each year.

This growing number of instructors is what drops the University down to the bottom of the pack for average overall salary, according to Chris Dalton, senior vice president of Finance and Administration.

BGSU is ‘Instructor-heavy’

In 2005-06, the University employed far more full-time instructors than any other public university in Ohio. For comparison, 2,199 educators teach at The Ohio State University and only 11 are at the lowest level of instructor, while BGSU employs 851 faculty – 207 of which are instructors.

Though the number of instructors at the University leads the state, Ribeau emphasized that they’re valued faculty members who are usually here for the long haul.

“They’re long-term instructors, people who’ve been with us for an extended period of time,” he said, adding that when money comes from the state it’ll allow more professor jobs to be created, and BGSU instructors could be the first to fill those slots.

But in some ways, the increased number of instructors may water down the strength of a faculty’s voice on campus, Terrie said.

“I think the growing use of full-time instructors and lecturers is very problematic, because it leads to less and less of a voice at the University for tenured and tenure-track faculty,” he added.

Bowling Green State University has a particularly young faculty because of an early buyout program for contracts that was implemented in the early-1990s, according to Richard Hebein, vice chair of Faculty Senate.

The early retirement incentive program encouraged professors to retire early, offering them up to an extra five years of “teaching credit,” that could be redeemed during their retirement, based on the number of years they’d been working. The ERIP ended in 1999.

A significant number of faculty did leave during that time, almost all of whom were professors, which would have had a “significant impact” on the makeup of BGSU’s faculty, according to Dalton.

In their place, the University has since hired younger professors and instructors at a lower cost.

In retrospect, BGSU faculty could have – and should have – been pushed towards the top of Ohio’s compensation list back in the mid-to-late 1990s, according to Robert Boughton, chair of Faculty Senate.

“It [faculty salaries] is a problem that should have been addressed years earlier when the economy was robust,” he said.

Full professors’ salaries at BGSU rank 9th of 11 in the state, associate professors rank 7th of 11, assistant professors rank 5th of 11, and instructors rank 8th of 11. Bowling Green’s instructors’ average salary ranks 8th of 11 in Ohio, and their average lecturers’ salary ranks 2nd of 5 in the state who employ lecturers.

In a phone interview last Friday, Ribeau clarified his promise to the faculty 10 years ago, saying that the goal was to get each faculty group to the top of their respective packs, not to bring BGSU’s all-rank average to the top three in Ohio.

A common thread?

Six of the 10 public universities listed above BGSU on the average salary rankings have faculties that are organized by the American Association of University Professors – acting as a union to bargain collectively for their salaries and benefits.

An active AAUP chapter on campus would be independent of the University, unlike Faculty Senate, and could arguably have a stronger voice on controversial issues. The last attempt to organize Bowling Green’s faculty failed in 1994. Since then, there hasn’t been much interest generated on the BGSU campus.

Boughton suspects there may be reluctance among assistant professors who don’t have tenure to “kind of pass muster, not make waves.”

The potential gains that could come with collective bargaining should excite instructors at BGSU more than anyone, according to Terrie, who was an active member of the BGSU Faculty Association’s failed attempt to organize in 1994.

“Students who get these people [instructors] are getting faculty who are dedicated, but they’re overworked and horribly exploited,” he said. “And that’s one of the things, if we had collective bargaining, we could draw better conditions for these instructors and lecturers.”

But when looking at the breakdowns of individual levels of educator salaries, there’s no distinct trend that shows faculties at the six unionized schools have it any better or worse than those at BGSU, Dalton said.

The freedom to offer salaries without constraints that may come from collective bargaining also help some departments at the University who are competing with the private sector to attract educators.

For example, while the average salary for an assistant professor at BGSU is $53,881, the starting salary for a new professor in accounting and management information systems ranges from $90-110,000, according to Lawrence Kowalski, chair of the AMIS department.

FACTBOX #1:

“2005-06 Average faculty salaries across Ohio” The Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati are considered to be “full-function research institutions,” and are thought to be on a different level from BGSU and others in the state. It is also inherently difficult to compare BGSU’s faculty salaries to others in Ohio, because at the University, 10 percent of a faculty member’s salary is automatically taken out and put towards their retirement. For lecturers (not included for space reasons) BGSU ranks second out of five universities in Ohio at $42,503, less than $1,000 behind Wright State.

All-Rank Average Ohio State – $89,998 Cincinnati – $73,786 Cleveland St. – $69,592 Ohio Univ. – $68,772 Miami – $68,470 Youngstown – $66,042 Wright St. – $65,220 Toledo – $65,061 Kent St. – $63,809 Akron – $63,381 Bowling Green – $59,241

Average Salary for Full Profs Ohio State – $112,645 Cincinnati – $94,036 Miami – $92,878 Kent St. – $90,445 Cleveland St. – $90,134 Toledo – $89,309 Ohio Univ. – $88,863 Wright St. – $88,323 Bowling Green – $86,918 Akron – $81,767 Youngstown – $79,986

Average Salary for Assoc. Profs Ohio State – $74,194 Miami – $69,298 Cincinnati – $69,031 Ohio Univ. – $66,523 Wright St. – $66,343 Cleveland St. – $66,038 Bowling Green – $65,933 Kent St. – $65,744 Toledo – $65,229 Youngstown – $63,919 Akron – $59,781

Average Salary for Assis. Profs Ohio State – $65,781 Toledo – $57,516 Cincinnati – $54,734 Ohio Univ. – $54,641 Bowling Green – $53,881 Miami – $53,840 Youngstown – $53,345 Kent St. – $53,193 Wright St. – $53,093 Cleveland St. – $52,310 Akron – $51, 276

Average Salary for Instructors Ohio State – $56,266 Ohio Univ. – $50,005 Toledo – $49,263 Cleveland St. – $44,181 Youngstown – $40,994 Cincinnati – $40,363 Akron – $37,914 Bowling Green – $37,127 Wright St. – $35,675 Miami – $34,754 Kent St. – n/a

FACTBOX #2:

“Who’s teaching you: a breakdown of Ohio” Bowling Green dwarfs other public universities in Ohio when it comes to the number of instructors on its faculty. Ohio State University leads all 11 universities in total faculty with 2,199, with Cincinnati in second overall with 1,241. In comparison, BGSU employs 851 faculty.

Institution Full Profs Assoc.Profs. Assis. Profs Instructors Akron 238 260 127 63 Bowling Green165 247 197 207 Cincinnati 474 398 322 47 Cleveland St.168 207 138 13 Kent St. 217 226 219 n/a Miami 268 195 283 76 Ohio St. 957 750 481 11 Ohio Univ. 212 275 255 2 Toledo 226 191 172 10 Wright St. 156 186 121 45 Youngstown 186 92 108 41

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