TO: Faculty Senate Council
FROM: Faculty Affairs Committee
RE: Salaries and Sabbaticals
DATE: February 21, 2003

The Provost has solicited advice from both the Faculty Affairs Committee and the Council of Deans about possible trade-offs between funding for salaries and funding for the sabbatical plan that was provisionally approved last year.

Last week Cynthia Mertens and Don Dodson, the chair and the administrative member of the Faculty Affairs Committee, met with the Faculty Senate Council to discuss this topic. Since there was insufficient time to frame the issues and respond to questions, the committee is sending this memo to provide more information for your consideration.

In addition, the committee is making several reports and documents available to faculty as background information. The following reports are available on the University’s website at

  • Faculty Salary Policy as it appears in 2002 Faculty Handbook
  • Faculty Salary Policy Implementation Guidelines (November 6, 2000)
  • Faculty Affairs Committee Recommendations for Faculty Salaries (October 3, 2000)
  • Approval of Faculty Salary Recommendations (March 2, 2001)
  • 2001-02 Benchmark Salary Report
  • Associate Professor Salaries by Years in Rank (2001-02)
  • 1999-2000 Benchmark Salary Report

An additional report, Recommendations for Faculty Salaries (Oct. 3, 2000) with FAC Proposals for 2001-2002 and Long Range Goals for Faculty Salaries, will be posted on Monday, Feb. 24.

Please send any comments you have by next Friday (Feb. 28) to Cynthia Mertens at You may also contact any other member of the committee: Steve Chiesa, Don Dodson, Kathleen Maxwell, Leilani Miller (on leave), Catherine Montfort, Sukhi Singh, and Manuel Velasquez.

Reasons for Consultation

The Provost’s Office invited the Faculty Affairs Committee to provide input on two separate questions:

1. Should some of the money available for market adjustments of salaries be allocated to implementation of the new sabbatical plan?

2. How should the market adjustment funds be distributed across rank-and-discipline groups?

With respect to the first question, the Provost’s Office was wrestling with this set of facts:

  • The Faculty Salary Policy Implementation Guidelines identify three types of salary pools: merit (to recognize performance), market (to keep Santa Clara competitive with a specified set of benchmark institutions), and equity (to correct any salary differences within Santa Clara that cannot be explained by market comparisons, years in rank, and performance over time). The merit pool is typically set as a percentage of the faculty salary base equal to the anticipated total average salary increase at the benchmark institutions.

  • In its "Recommendations for Faculty Salaries" to the University Budget Council on October 3, 2000, the Faculty Affairs Committee recommended that:

  • We believe that a reasonable target for SCU salaries would rank SCU fourth in the distribution of salaries of the benchmark institutions. The top three institutions are prestigious research universities that would be expected to remunerate faculty at relatively high rates. On the other hand, the other seven institutions are either of lower academic quality or located in regional areas with much lower cost of living or both.

  • We recommend SCU set salary targets to achieve approximately the 60th to 75 th percentile of the benchmark salary distribution, which would put us approximately in the fourth or fifth position in the ordinal ranking.

  • We further recommend that the University seek to raise salaries toward the high end of this range. This is warranted by the high cost of living in the vicinity of SCU and our desire to recruit and retain the very best faculty. In addition, institutional practices at SCU result in keeping faculty at the Associate level longer than at many other institutions. This means that given their length of service, salaries of Associate and Full Professors would appear lower relative to the benchmark group if we had data to adjust for years of service.

  • Using the methodology developed by the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Provost’s Office last fall calculated a total market shortfall in 2002-03 of $1,231,926 at the 65th percentile target. (This estimate is based on 2001-02 benchmark data increased by 3%.) To close this gap over the next three years would require a third of the total amount plus 3% each year, or $422,961 in 2003-4, $435,650 in 2004-05, and $448,720 in 2005-06. The Provost’s Office used the 65th percentile target because that was the figure suggested last year by the chairs of the Faculty Affairs Committee and the University Budget Council, and adopted by the University Budget Council, for the current five-year salary plan.

  • Using the same methodology, the Provost’s Office calculated that the current market shortfall drops from $1,231,926 at the 65th percentile to $774,473 at the 60th percentile and $672,955 to equal the fourth ordinal position in the benchmark.

  • During the budget process this year, the Provost’s Office recommended a 3% merit pool for all faculty on continuing appointment and a $422,961 market adjustment pool for tenured and tenure-track faculty in 2003-04. The University Budget Council recommended, and the Board of Trustees last Friday approved, a 3% merit pool plus approximately $450,000 to be used for market adjustments, equity adjustments, or other purposes deemed critical by the Provost.

  • Also during the budget process this year, the Provost’s Office identified the new sabbatical program as its highest priority for new funding in 2003-04. However, because of multiple budget pressures, the University Budget Council was unable to incorporate this into the budget. The current estimate of new funds required before the sabbatical plan can be implemented is approximately $600,000. This target could be reached by committing $200,000 a year over three years or $150,000 a year over four years.

  • After the budget process was completed, the Provost’s Office realized that there was a potential opportunity to reach the 60th percentile and, at the same time, fully fund the new sabbatical program over the next three years. Within the same time period, reaching the 65th percentile and funding the sabbatical proposal simultaneously would not be possible. This presented a potential choice: continue to pursue the 65th percentile as a target and defer funding of the new sabbatical program, or reduce the salary target for the next three years in order to fund the sabbatical plan.

After discussing the pros and cons of each option, the Faculty Affairs Committee thought it was very important to seek additional input from the Faculty Senate Council before giving its advice to the Provost, who will make the final decision.

On the second question - - how market adjustment funds should be distributed across rank-and-discipline groups - - the Provost’s Office was wrestling with this set of facts:

  • In 2000-01, the Faculty Affairs Committee recommended that market funds for the following year "should be allocated in such a way that average salaries in all ranks and disciplines match at a minimum the median of those of our benchmark institutions" before providing market funds to rank-and-discipline groups that were already at or above the 60th percentile. In response to this recommendation, the Provost’s Office gave the Deans market adjustment funds that were proportional to shortfalls between their areas and the benchmark medians. The Provost’s Office, however, allowed the Deans some discretion in how to allocate these funds for 2001-02 salaries. As a result, not all the market funds were used to close the identified shortfalls.
  • When the median target was not met for several rank-and-discipline groups, the Faculty Affairs Committee strongly recommended that such discretion not be permitted and that market funds for 2002-03 be allocated in strict accordance with the market shortfalls indicated by the benchmark study. The Provost’s Office carried out this recommendation. As a result, all of the market funds for 2002-03 were allocated to rank-and-discipline groups in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Division of Counseling Psychology, and most of the individual market increases were awarded to full professors. Once again, controversy ensued.
  • A preliminary analysis indicates that allocating market funds for 2003-04 based on shortfalls from the 60th percentile would result in a distribution that would roughly approximate the following: 5% of the market pool for full professors in Humanities and Arts; 5% for full professors in Social Sciences; 15% for all three ranks in Mathematics and Natural Sciences; and 75% for all three ranks in Business. The distribution would be very similar at the 65th percentile level, with a slightly larger share for full professors in Social Sciences and a slightly lower share for faculty in Business.

Based on projections from 2001-02 data, no market funds would be allocated to assistant or associate professors in Engineering (above the 75th percentile in 2001-02), full professors in Engineering (above 70th), assistant professors in Humanities and Arts (above 75th), associate professors in Humanities and Arts (above 70th), or assistant or associate professors in Social Sciences (above 65th).

Despite the fact that such allocations would be consistent with both a market-based salary policy and the approved Faculty Salary Implementation Guidelines, the Faculty Affairs Committee was sensitive to the probability of further controversy. It determined to invite comment from the Faculty Senate Council before making a formal recommendation to the Provost.

Questions and Answers

We will attempt to answer some of the most obvious or frequently asked questions about the salary and sabbatical policies below. We would be happy to answer other questions you may have.

Q. What are Santa Clara’s benchmark institutions for faculty salaries and how were they selected?

A. They are California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, Loyola Marymount University, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Davis, University of California-Irvine, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-Riverside, University of San Diego, and University of the Pacific. The Faculty Affairs Committee selected these institutions on the basis of the following criteria: those colleges and universities in California that in 1999-2000 (1) admitted the highest number of undergraduate students in common with Santa Clara, (2) had the same array of discipline groups as Santa Clara, and (3) provided faculty salary data to the College and University Personnel Association (CUPA). The Faculty Affairs Committee thought it was important to hold this group constant throughout the proposed five-year implementation period.

Q. Is this benchmark group ideal?

A. No. But the Faculty Affairs Committee could not identify another set of benchmark institutions that was based on both a clear rationale and available data for all rank-and-discipline groups.

Q. What are the rank-and-discipline groups Santa Clara uses for market comparisons?

A. Five discipline groups are used: Humanities and Arts; Social Sciences; Mathematics and Natural Sciences; Business; and Engineering. Three ranks – assistant, associate, and full professor - - are used. Combining the ranks and disciplines creates 15 rank-and-discipline groups.

Q. What are the limitations of the available data?

A. The data used for market comparisons have been characterized as "bad" data. In contrast, the Faculty Affairs Committee and the Provost’s Office believe that the data used are the best available for University-wide benchmarking, but they are certainly far from perfect. There are several limitations:

    • At best, the data are one year old at the time salary recommendations are made for the following year. For example, we must use 2001-02 data to make 2003-04 salary recommendations. To correct for this two-year gap, we adjust the actual benchmark data by 3% per year for each subsequent year. We can ascertain how accurate our projections are only by looking at data in subsequent years.

    • We must assume that the benchmark institutions report their data accurately to the College and University Personnel Association (CUPA) and that CUPA accurately compiles and analyzes the data for us.

    • The benchmark institutions may not always submit data to CUPA, as happened in 2001-02.
    • Clustering departments into five clusters (excluding Law) masks some disciplinary differences, particularly in the Business School.
    • Other salary comparisons can result in different conclusions from the ones we draw from our benchmark comparison. National studies conducted by AACSB for different business disciplines, for example, suggest that the market gap for Business School salaries is greater than shown in our benchmark analysis. Other studies that combine all disciplines, rather than disaggregating them, suggest that Santa Clara as a whole is doing very well. For many years, Santa Clara has consistently placed in the 95th percentile for each faculty rank in the national data reported by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). In the 2001-02 AAUP data, Santa Clara ranked 35th in the nation for full professor salaries. Most of the institutions ahead of us were major research universities.


These limitations of the data suggest that we must use our best judgment in determining whether, where, and to what degree Santa Clara’s salaries are below market.

  1. Shouldn’t the data be adjusted to reflect the high cost of living in the Bay Area?

A. The Faculty Affairs Committee suggested doing this several years ago when it was working with a national benchmark group, but the Board of Trustees did not support adjusting the data to reflect the cost of living in the Bay Area. The Board preferred to deal with this issue through a separate housing policy. In response, the Faculty Affairs Committee redefined the benchmark group to include only California institutions.

Q. Why not give each college or school the same percentage increase for market adjustments?

A. Some rank-and-discipline groups are already within the target range of the 60th to 75th percentile. Others have not yet reached this range. There are philosophical differences about how to respond fairly to this discrepancy. One point of view is that every group should receive something. Another point of view is that this would be inconsistent with a market-based salary policy. A variation on this point of view is that all rank-and-discipline groups should at least reach the bottom of the target range before using special funds to move other groups higher within the range.

Q. What do the data tell us about how our faculty salaries compare with those at the benchmark institutions?

A. Comparative data for 2001-02 salaries indicate that of the 15 rank-and-discipline groups (excluding Law) at Santa Clara, two showed no change in ordinal ranking and 13 showed an improvement in ordinal ranking since 1999-2000. There was an average net gain of 1.6 places in ordinal ranking. Of the 15 rank-and-discipline groups:

    • One ranked first (associate professors in Engineering)
    • Two ranked third (assistant professors in Engineering and in Humanities and Arts, all at > 75th percentile )
    • Three ranked fourth (assistant and associate professors in Social Sciences, both at > 65th percentile; associate professors in Humanities and Arts at > 70th percentile; and full professors in Engineering at > 70th percentile)
    • Four ranked fifth (assistant professors in Mathematics and Natural Sciences and all ranks in Business, all at > 50th percentile)
    • Four ranked sixth (associate and full professors in Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and full professors in Social Sciences and in Humanities and Arts, all at < 50th percentile)

With the market increases awarded last year, we expect to find further improvement in some of the ordinal rankings when data for 2002-03 are available. This assumes that Santa Clara’s 3% merit increase was equal to or greater than the average increases among the benchmark institutions. Given the state of the economy, we believe this is a reasonable assumption.

Q. With a benchmark group of 10 institutions, how can the shortfall at the fourth ordinal position be less than the shortfall at the 60th percentile?

A. Only nine of the 10 benchmark institutions provided rank-by-discipline group data for 2001-02. The missing institution was UC-Riverside. Data for all disciplines combined showed that UC-Riverside ranked fourth for assistant professors, seventh for associate professors, and fifth for full professors in 2001-02. This suggests that the absence of UC-Riverside probably had no effect on the calculation of Santa Clara’s shortfalls from the fourth highest position, except in three out of 15 rank-and discipline groups: assistant professors in Social Sciences (fourth out of nine), Mathematics and Natural Sciences (fifth), and Business (fifth).

Q. Don’t the data mask the effects of Santa Clara’s slowness to promote faculty from associate to full professor?

A. There is a widespread perception that associate professors move to the rank of full professor more slowly at Santa Clara than at most other universities. Although we lack good benchmark data to support this perception, we believe it is probably accurate. The putative effect is that salaries for associate professors, particularly those with fewer years of service in rank, appear better in comparison with the benchmark group than they really are. This was an assumption made by the Faculty Affairs Committee in its October 2000 recommendations. But is the putative effect real? We checked.

When associate professors at Santa Clara are divided into two sub-groups - - those with 10 years or less in rank and those with more than 10 years in rank - - both sub-groups were above the 60th percentile in all discipline groups except for two. In Mathematics and Natural Sciences, associate professors with 10 years or less in rank were substantially below the benchmark 60th percentile. And in Business, both sub-groups were below the benchmark 60th percentile, with the additional phenomenon that the average for those with fewer years of service was higher than the average for those with more. While we have not been able to obtain years-in-rank data for the benchmark institutions, we believe that the expected effect of Santa Clara’s promotion practices on salaries has not been generally confirmed.

The Faculty Affairs Committee is considering how to deal with the findings for Business and for Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

Q. Why did I get such a disappointing salary increase last year?

A. We can’t answer this question, but we can describe the checks and balances that exist. If it is working properly, the Faculty Salary Plan should result in an average salary for each rank-and-discipline group that falls in the range of the 60th-75th percentile of the benchmark group.

Your salary should bear a reasonable relationship to this average, given your performance over time. This can be defined as a combination of your performance evaluations ("merit") and years in rank.

To help assure that the dispersion of salaries within a particular rank-and-discipline group is appropriate, the Faculty Salary Policy Implementation Guidelines developed by the Faculty Affairs Committee states: "Individual salaries should be flagged for review if they fall outside a range of 85% to 115% of the average Santa Clara salary for the same rank and discipline group." The Provost’s Office annually flags individual salaries that fall outside this range for the Dean to review in light of years in rank and performance over time. Concerns about individual salaries should be addressed to the Dean.

Q. Will the Faculty Affairs Committee consider refinements to the Faculty Salary Policy and the Faculty Salary Policy Implementation Guidelines?

A. Certainly. The committee has expressed a preference to maintain some stability in the guidelines until the target range has been achieved, but constructive suggestions are always welcome.

Q. Shifting focus, can you summarize how the pending sabbatical policy differs from the current one?

A. The pending policy would allow faculty to take sabbaticals with no loss in salary. An eligible faculty member would earn one quarter of fully paid sabbatical leave for every nine quarters of regular service. In other words, an eligible faculty member would receive one quarter of sabbatical at full pay after nine quarters; two quarters at full pay or three quarters at 2/3 pay after 18 quarters; and three quarters at full pay after 27 quarters. Quarters of accrued time not utilized for a sabbatical could be applied toward a subsequent sabbatical. This policy would offer not only higher compensation but also greater flexibility than the current policy.

Q. What is the current status of the pending sabbatical policy?

A. The policy was developed by the Research Committee, refined and approved by the Faculty Affairs Committee, and approved by the Provost subject to obtaining full funding for incremental costs.

Q. What will the pending sabbatical policy cost?

A. This is difficult to project with precision, since the new policy may encourage different sabbatical-taking behavior than the current policy. Linda Kamas last year did a careful analysis that estimated the incremental cost as $416,939 to $542,086 per year. The Provost’s Office did another analysis this year, using a different methodology and higher course replacement costs, which resulted in an estimated incremental cost of $600,000. The difference in estimates is due primarily to the difference in course replacement costs, which are higher now than when the first analysis was done. It is expected that the incremental cost would be worked into the budget over a period of three or four years.

Q. Why wasn’t the sabbatical plan built into the 2003-04 budget?

A. The sabbatical plan was the Provost’s top priority for new funds. The University Budget Council was not able to provide any significant funding for new requests, however, because of pressures on the budget created by rising costs, endowment losses, pressures to restrain tuition increases, and the general economic downturn.

Q. Is it possible to achieve the goals of both the Faculty Salary Plan and the new sabbatical plan at the same time?

A. We believe the answer to this question is yes. Assuming the same level of available funding over the next three years, incremented by 3% in the second and third years, we should be able to meet the match the fourth ordinal position and meet the 60th percentile salary target with sufficient funds remaining to fully fund the sabbatical program in either three or four years.

Q. Would this be a desirable trade-off?

A. That is the question on which we are seeking advice from you. One point of view is that the University should push aggressively to achieve a 65th percentile salary target in three years. Another point of view is that the new sabbatical plan would make such a contribution to the professional lives of faculty that it should be implemented as soon as possible, if this can be done without sacrificing the goal of matching the fourth ordinal position among the benchmark institutions for each rank-and-discipline group. There are undoubtedly other points of view.

The Faculty Affairs Committee and the Provost’s Office would like a sense of how the faculty view the questions we have presented. What do you think is in the best interest of the faculty as a whole? What is fairest? What will best promote the quality of teaching, scholarship, and intellectual community within the University?

If you have made it to the end of this memo, we thank you for your patience and welcome your questions and comments.

Faculty Salary Policy