April 4, 2016
According to data released through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System by the U.S. Department of Education, men are paid more than women in all five categories of full-time instructional faculty at UCCS.
The data, which is part of an annual report of faculty and staff on campus, compared the weighted average monthly salaries of male and female full-time instructional faculty across four categories: professor, associate professor, assistant professor and instructor.
Robyn Marschke, director of the Office of Institutional Research, said it is difficult to determine if UCCS accounts for the difference or if anything can be done about it.
Marschke said every year the university conducts an internal review of equity to see if it has a systematic problem.
“It’s really hard to get meaningful results,” said Marschke, adding there are too many variables at hand to truly compare
She explained variables like rank, merit, committee involvement and even articles published can all determine salary.
“You get down to comparing one person to maybe one or two other people,” she said, when all variables are taken into consideration.
Marschke said one possible reason for the wage gap is self-segregation, or the personal decisions of male and female faculty to go into certain departments and disciplines.
“Your department is the number one driver in how much you get paid,” she said.
The university does not determine the differences of department compensation, but rather looks to what is going on at the national level.
“We look at the market rates; we don’t establish a hierarchy,” Marschke said.
Despite the lack of meaningful internal results, some faculty still believes there is a real problem.
Catherine Grandorff, an English instructor, is one of the faculty who is working to combat the problem of wage discrimination at the university level.
Grandorff serves as chair of the Women’s Committee, a standing committee in the faculty governing body called the Faculty Assembly.
“When an issue of pay discrimination based on gender comes to our attention, we advocate by providing information and support,” she said in an email.
The purpose of the Women’s Committee is to address the concerns of female faculty, including fairness of recruitment and retention, recommending ways to help in the success of women faculty, and assessing the cultural climate of the university as it pertains to advancement, productivity and appropriate compensation.
Part of Grandorff’s concern is that UCCS is participating in the problem of wage discrimination.
“In a sector that should be at the forefront of combating sexism, we are wasting an opportunity to be leaders and instead perpetuating the problem of the wage gap,” she said.
Grandorff said there needs to be more done to effectively check wage discrimination.
“An Equal Rights Amendment at the national level would help, and though it has been encouraged for decades and analogues instituted in other countries around the world, we remain without federal protection, which makes it difficult,” she said.
One of current checks the university has in place is a grievance procedure that individual faculty can file for several reasons including perceived wage discrimination.
The university reviews the grievances and may look into it, but according to Marschke, information about the outcomes of the grievances is private information.
Grandorff said the data suggests UCCS still has a long way to go in terms of having effective checks against wage discrimination, but is hopeful the data will lead to change.
“I hope that this data can be used for positive reflection and change, so that UCCS might set a good example for the academic community by working to eliminate the pay gap in the very near future.”