Letter to Senate Education Committee

February 8, 2006

To: The Honorable Jack Scott, Chair
Senate Education Committee

Re: Hearing on University of California
Compensation Practices, February 8, 2006

Dear Senator Scott and Committee Members:

Bluntly stated, the UC Regents' announced goal of bringing all UC salaries to parity in 10 years is an invitation to a train wreck. The CPEC projections for 2005-06 noted that without increases, UC’s average faculty salaries would trail those of our national “Comparison-8” institutions by approximately 16% at the Full rank, 19% at the Associate rank and 14% at the Assistant rank.

Within California, the latest available AAUP survey shows that the average full professor salary at three UC campuses--Santa Cruz, Riverside and Davis--is lower than that paid by seven (mainly liberal-arts) institutions—Claremont College, Harvey Mudd College, Loyola-Marymount University, Pepperdine University, The University of Santa Clara, The University of San Diego and The University of San Francisco. In the category of research universities, the average full professor salary at USC tops those of both Berkeley and UCLA, while those at Caltech and Stanford are higher yet, by almost $25,000 per year.

In such a national and regional labor market UC campuses across the system are being forced to offer potential recruits beginning salaries that are equal to or greater than those of existing faculty members who have been on campus for four to six years, depending on the academic rank at issue. It should therefore come as no great surprise that because of this “salary compression” the system is losing faculty at a frightening rate. In recent years my own campus, UC Davis, has lost FOUR Assistant Professors of Philosophy to other universities. Faculty recruitment is both costly and time consuming, so losses such as these have a devastating effect on morale.

The so-called “compact” between the state’s public universities and the Governor will do nothing whatever to address this problem. Their agreed-upon budget growth rates of 3-4% per year cannot close the gaps evident from the CPEC study noted above because historically, the salaries of the comparison institutions have been increasing by slightly more than 4% annually. The Council of UC Faculty Associations looks forward to what will doubtless be very lively Legislative budget hearings in the months ahead.

Charles P. Nash
Vice President—External Relations
Council of UC Faculty Associations

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