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Archive for Wednesday, December 8, 1999

KU STUDY EYES BIAS IN FACULTY PAY

December 8, 1999

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— The Kansas Board of Regents is trying to determine if pay inequities exist based on gender, race, age of other factors.

A statistical study to be presented to the Kansas Board of Regents next week shows no "systematic" difference in pay for women or minority faculty members because of gender, race, ethnicity or age on the Lawrence campus, Kansas University Provost David Shulenburger said Tuesday.

According to documents provided to the Journal-World by the regent's central office, the study found that 80 percent of the variance in pay at KU's Lawrence campus is due to faculty rank, the school in which a faculty member teaches and honors and awards a faculty member has earned.

At the medical center, 66 percent of the variance in faculty pay can be attributed to the same factors. Age, race or gender were not factors in differences in pay among faculty members, according to the study.

On the Lawrence campus, the unknown 20 percent may be due to market conditions for faculty that are too fine for the statistical survey to evaluate, Shulenburger said. Also, the survey was not able to measure productivity beyond considering rank as a sign of a professor's output.

"We've been doing this for a very long time," Shulenburger said. "We look at this every year."

Studies similar to those done by KU and the Medical Center are being undertaken by all of the state universities for the regents. The studies are being done at the request of Kansas House Budget Committee. The statistical information is to be presented to the Legislature next month.

Emporia State University also found variations in pay that could not be attributed age, race, ethnicity or gender.

Pittsburg State University found neither gender nor race or ethnicity could explain differences in pay. Not all universities examined how age might affect faculty pay.

Kansas State University, Wichita State University and Fort Hays State University all found gender could be a factor in explaining lower pay for women faculty members. KSU also found minority status could be a factor in explaining higher pay.

Beyond the statistical surveys, the universities will seek anecdotal information from faculty members to find possible problems that were not revealed by the statistical studies.

At KU, the Equity Study Committee led by Professor Susan Twombly is undertaking a survey of faculty that is to be completed by the end of January. Each of the universities has a committee overseeing the studies.

From there Twombly's committee will use focus groups to identify problems that may exist.

The next phase in the studies are intended to determine if resources are allocated equitably among faculty members without regard to gender or race.

The full studies are to be completed by December 2000.

-- Erwin Seba's phone message number is 832-7145. His e-mail address is eseba@ljworld.com.

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