If anybody knows where the chart that appeared on the wall of the Kent Hall copy room came from, they aren’t saying. Entitled “SMCM Salary Increases Since 2000,” the chart gives a picture of the disparity between the salaries of administrators and professors.
Since salaries are public knowledge, the chart could have been made by anyone with basic statistical knowledge. The chart (whose data set is the same as that in the St. Mary’s library records) shows the proportional increase in the salaries of the president, provost, vice president for business and finance, vice president for development, the average assistant professor, average associate professor, and average full professor. Additional lines show the increase in inflation (based on information from the bureau of labor statistics) and tuition, room and board (based off of the in-state tuition and including fees).
There are some statistical problems with the chart, said Tom Botzman, Vice President of Business and Finance. The line for the president, for example, shows the increase in salary for a single person who has been at the College for a number of years. The line for the average associate professor is an “average with replacement,” said Botzman — an average of many different salaries drawn from a pool that people enter and leave fairly frequently.
The housekeepers’ salaries, “jumped by sixty percent,” for example, said Botzman. “The line would outstrip the provost.”
Housekeepers’ salaries, however, started out around minimum wage. The recent increase is due to a raise in the salary floor – the minimum that a housekeeper can be paid – that was won after the workers were unionized a students staged a protest.
Full professors, however, are a more stable group. The average salary increase for full professors is similar to that of the average associate professor and well below the inflation line.
It’s not necessarily an unusual problem. Across the country, “Salary simply could not keep pace with the cost of living,” said political science professor Todd Eberly.
“It’s unfortunate that the salaries of some of our college employees have not even kept pace with inflation. What that means is, in effect, their salaries have gone down,” said political science professor Sahar Shafqat. “Because the student body has grown, that means that some people are doing more work for less pay.”
Salaries at the College are set based on the median of the College’s peer group, said Botzman. “Our peer group includes a number of colleges like Dickinson, Connecticut College, [and the] University of Minnesota-Morris.”
Essentially, the peer group colleges are “Liberal arts four-year institutions,” said Botzman. They are a blend of private and public (two thirds private, one third public), and, “They’re primarily undergraduate residential colleges.”
Salaries at the College aren’t comparative to those at a school like the University of Maryland, but for good reason. “College Park is a doctorate research institution,” said Botzman.