College of Liberal Arts

Merit Increases and Gender Equity: Message from Associate Dean Esther Raizen to Department Chairs

Thu, Nov 12, 2009

(Sent by email September 24, 2009)


In following the directives from the President and the Dean re this year’s merit increases, I urge you to consider very seriously the issue of gender equity.   The College, in consultation with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, is working on a policy on gender equity and the tools necessary for its implementation.  These tools will hopefully allow us to address equity issues in their full complexity— until we have them in place, I would like to pose a couple of questions that you may want to deliberate as you make decisions on merit increases.

•    Assuming that a productive way of assessing equity is to look at cohorts as opposed to individual cases, what would be the best ways to define cohorts as they apply to your department? Would you consider faculty by rank? Year of hire? Rank at hire? Administrative positions held over the years? Availability or absence of competitive offers? These are but a few of the possibilities—what would work best for your department?
•    Once you have identified a cohort, how would you compare members of this cohort to one another in terms of equity in pay? If, for example, productivity is to serve as the main factor in such a comparison, does your department have a clear definition of productivity that can be applied consistently as you examine the record of each faculty member within a cohort? Can you identify a pattern of differentiation in terms of pay between male and female faculty members with similar productivity records? Or if you look at faculty members who have served in essential administrative positions (e.g., Chair, Associate Chair, Graduate Advisor, Undergraduate Advisor), can you identify a pattern of differentiation in terms of pay between male and female faculty members with similar service records?
•    The report of the Gender Equity Task Force identifies the rank of Full Professor as the one in which the salary gap between male and female faculty is most pronounced.  As you look at full professors in your department, can you identify a pattern of differentiation between male and female faculty members in terms of pay?
•    The report recommends that “The records of women receiving a below-average salary increase for 3 years in a row will be examined by either a dean or department chairs” (p. 6). Can you identify cases like these in your department?
•    If you identify patterns of differentiation between male and female faculty in terms of pay, how can you best address salary gaps, or, at the minimum, begin to address them, with the allocations available to the department in the current merit increase pool?
As you consider these and other questions that are related to equity, you may want to examine CVs and annual reports of faculty, and use DEFINE to acquire information about salary at hire and pay increases corresponding to promotion and administrative service.   You may also want to consult the report of the Gender Equity Task Force.  We are interested in “best practices” and invite you to share with us ideas, procedures, departmental data—anything that you think might be helpful!
Thank you, and best wishes,


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