The comprehensive study was presented to the Faculty Council on Nov. 3 after several campus groups that deal with gender equity approached the chancellor and the provost in 2001, asking for an examination of salary disparities at UNC-CH. The full report's results were made available Wednesday.
Executive Associate Provost Bernadette Gray-Little worked with Lynn Williford, associate provost and director of institutional research, to conduct the study, using methods applied in similar analyses at institutions like N.C. State and Duke universities.
What makes this study different from similar salary analyses done at UNC-CH is that it is a campuswide study, including the clinical areas of the schools of Dentistry and Medicine, and includes non-tenure track faculty.
Provost Robert Shelton said the first thing that needs to be done is to examine the results of individual departments to find out why the disparity is there.
The study shows that about 80 percent of the disparity is due to variables included in the study, such as years at the University and rank. But about 15 percent to 20 percent of the disparity is unexplained.
One theory behind the discrepancy is the idea that women aren't as likely to leave or to threaten to leave for better salaries as are men. Risa Palm, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, where men receive $1,169 more than women, said that while women sometimes do not threaten to leave, this shouldn't be the case.
"One of the issues is that after a certain period, the longer you stay at the University, the more your salary is damaged," Palm said.
Etta Pisano, chairwoman of the UNC-CH Committee on the Status of Women, said one reason women are less likely to threaten to leave is because many want to raise families. There is no excuse to underpay faculty based on these circumstances, she said.
"There are ways to make both men and women more comfortable in the stage of their careers where they want to start a family."