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Archive for Friday, September 17, 1999

FACULTY TO STUDY EQUITY IN PAY

September 17, 1999

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— Faculty senate leaders promise parallel studies of gender and minority equity at state universities.

Faculty at the six state universities plan to undertake studies of equity in pay and resource allocation for women and minority faculty and unclassified staff.

The promised faculty studies would parallel studies of equity in pay for minority and women faculty to be done by the administrations of the state universities, including Kansas University.

The Kansas Board of Regents was told Thursday that the faculty would undertake the studies.

Buddy Gray, chair of the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents and a Kansas State University history professor, told the board the administration-run studies were not enough.

"One of our concerns is that it is narrowly conceived," Gray said of the administration-run studies.

Specifically, Gray said the administration-run studies would focus only on faculty and only on salaries and may only look at the question of equity at each university.

James Coffman, K-State provost and chair of the Council of Chief Academic Officers, which defined the scope of the administration-run studies, said unclassified staff were not included because often there were too few people in comparable positions to be studied.

Gray urged the board to look at the issue from a systemwide perspective and to examine such issues as resource allocation.

Explaining to the board what he meant by resource allocation, Gray said, "For instance, in the natural sciences, in the allocation of lab space are there inequities?"

The faculty-run studies will use a variety of methodologies and include "qualitative" information, such as anecdotes, as well as quantitative or statistical information, he said. The faculties are committed to including women and minority members in the task forces running the studies.

The administration-run studies were approved Wednesday by the council of university CEOs, based on a recommendation by the Council of Chief Academic Officers.

The various councils are policy-development and advisory bodies for the regents. Decisions taken by the councils often result in policies for the six state universities.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said the university welcomed another opportunity to examine the question of equity as the administration-run study would provide.

"We already extensively review equity," Hemenway said. "Our hope is it is not a problem. The way you succeed in this matter is to be eternally vigilant."

KU reviews equity for women and minority faculty on alternating years. One year pay for women is reviewed; the next year, pay for minorities is assessed.

All of the regents universities follow similar policies. The reviews reveal minority and women faculty members who are outside the main body of faculty in terms of pay. Those individual cases are then studied to see whether there are specific reasons for the difference in pay. If no reasons for the differences are found, the individual's pay is adjusted.

KU Provost David Shulenburger said he would discuss with faculty leaders the possibility of combining the two studies. Shulenburger already meets regularly with a women's faculty group examining the question of equity for women in the granting of full professorships.

The administration-run studies are to be completed by Dec. 1, Coffman said. They are being done in part to answer legislative questions about pay equity.

Gray said the administration-run studies would be a good first step, but urged that action be taken once the studies are completed.

Several regents agreed with him.

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

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