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UNC to examine salaries of minority and female faculty

Will look for disparities and outliers in staff pay

Following up on a study conducted in 2002 under former Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert Shelton, the University will examine potential salary disparities among women and minority faculty members at UNC.

The study will examine and look for any differences or outliers in the salary of minority and female professors who have a similar position and length of experience as their white or male peers.

The committee, headed by physics and astronomy professor Laurie McNeil, consists of seven additional members and will report to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney throughout the process.

Its first meeting is tentatively scheduled for next month.

“It seems like it’s time to do it again to make sure we are still on track, and problems that were revealed in the first review have not come back,” said McNeil, who added that the committee hopes to conclude its review by the end of the academic year.

In the original study, it was revealed that female faculty members outside the School of Medicine were paid, on average, $1,332 less than their male counterparts. Those with tenure or on the tenure track made $1,830 less than males in the same category.

Within the College of Arts and Sciences, female professors earned an average of $1,169 less while minority professors earned an average of $629 more.

Minority faculty members made $1,680 more on average in salary than white faculty, while tenured or tenure-track minority professors made $1,249 more on average.

Differences in the School of Medicine contained worse news for both women and minority faculty members.

Women made $6,976 less than men in that school, and minorities made $597 less than their white counterparts.

Department chairs were asked to explain and address any noticeable differences within their department in hopes of creating equitable salaries for professors with similar experience and position regardless of race or gender.

“There were clear differences in some programs,” Carney said. “We’re redoing the study to see where we are and how we are doing now.”

Archie Ervin, associate provost and director of diversity and multicultural affairs, said his office, which was founded in 2005 as the Diversity Office after the initial study had been conducted, will be able to give additional input in the new study.

“During the prior review, we did not exist so we were not involved, he said. “We weren’t able to make input.”

Ervin’s office concluded a climate survey of the entire campus earlier this month that gauged opinions from faculty and students on a number of issues, one of which addressed the question of whether the tenure and promotion process is free from bias.

Results of the survey are still being gathered and calculated, Ervin said.

“From this information, one of the things we can take a look at is how people who are on the faculty believe issues of race and ethnicity have implications for the tenure and promotion process based on their personal experiences,” Ervin said.

Donna Bickford, director of the Carolina Women’s Center, said UNC has been making progress — but still has work to do.

“I think it would be fair to say there has definitely been progress,” Bickford said. “But we continue to see chilly climate issues.

“There are a number of ways that women are systematically disadvantaged, and I think the salary equity study will show whether salary is one them.”

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