A recent effort to mitigate salary concerns, which would increase the salary range for tenured and tenure-track professors in the College of Arts and Sciences, was approved during a Sept. 27 UNC Board of Trustees University Affairs Committee meeting.
“This body has received several of these requests over the course of the past year, as faculty salaries across the institution have not been adjusted for several years,” Jennifer Halsey Evans, who introduced the motion, said at the meeting.
Under this new policy, the associate professor's minimum salary will be 20 percent more than the assistant professor's minimum. The full professor minimum salary will be 20 percent more than the associate professor minimum.
Chair of the Department of Classics and Faculty Council member Donald Haggis said salary compression has been an issue at UNC for the past 40 years.
“Establishing minimums in each of the professorial ranks in the tenure stream is a good idea and is clearly an effort to respond to salary compression and salary oppression,” Haggis said.
He also said there were no merit salary increases from 2013 to 2018.
During the five-year period, Haggis said the annual raise process offered a 1.3 percent rise, while cost of living was increasing by two percent. This difference caused salaries to drop below the average set by the Association of American Universities Data Exchange (AAUDE), an organization that compiles data from universities comparable to UNC.
Professor of English and comparative literature and member of the Faculty Council Jessica Wolfe said that, given inflation over the past several years, the cost of healthcare and education and the fact that professors are currently saving for retirement, there is a lot of pressure on wage-earning adults of all kinds to make more money.
“What that across-the-board adjustment will do is, it will move everybody up into the AAUDE average — but also allow for an equitable distribution of salary across those ranks,” Haggis said.