Cal Poly has announced its second phase of raises for faculty and staff as part of a four-year pay equity program that started last year to allocate at least $3 million toward compensation increases.
The university will spend $1.5 million this year to give raises to 300 staff and 316 faculty members.
The raises are retroactive to July 1.
The raises are aimed to bring Cal Poly faculty salaries closer to California State University averages.
“We have placed a high priority on this equity program,” Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong said. “I feel good about what we’re doing, and I hope to do more in the future. But it has to be within the balance of our budget.”
Cal Poly’s faculty union president said teachers are appreciative, but the pay doesn’t make up for years without raises during a down economy or put Cal Poly faculty on par with comparable institutions around the country.
“It’s a baby step,” said Graham Archer, Cal Poly’s faculty union president. “It doesn’t even bring all the faculty up to CSU averages — and we are supposedly the flagship of the CSU. The flag is looking a little tattered.”
This year’s raises bring associate professor salaries to a minimum of $74,000 per year from $71,000. Full professors with six to 10 years of experience now have a new minimum of $90,000, and those with 11 years or more have a baseline of $95,000.
Last year, assistant professors had their minimum salaries brought up to $65,000 while full professors within their first five years had a floor of $83,000, as part of the equity program.
In this year’s cycle, pay for lecturers and temporary faculty were adjusted on a case-by-case basis by the deans and academic personnel of specific departments — including the College of Liberal Arts, which has the lowest average lecturer salaries.
Cal Poly has about 1,300 faculty members, including more than 800 full-time and 500 part-time.
Of those, 221 tenure-line instructors and 95 lecturers and temporary faculty received pay increases.
The average raise for faculty members in this second phase was about $2,000 per year.
Staff raises were based on evening out inequities within certain job classifications — with the aim of bringing those workers to about the same or higher pay than other CSU campuses. Trade workers and personnel in health care, student services, clerical and technical support benefited from this phase of pay bumps.
Cal Poly’s pay equity program is handled separately from negotiated compensation between the faculty and staff unions and the CSU.
Currently, the faculty union is in the midst of negotiations, seeking a 5 percent pay increase and additional perks for those who are promoted to higher ranks, while the CSU has offered 2 percent.
The staff union has accepted a 2 percent increase across the board for CSU schools.
Archer said that past studies that have shown Cal Poly as much as 24 percent behind other comparable campuses.
“If you look at what you can get elsewhere, even within the CSUs, we’re behind in our pay,” Archer said. “We haven’t been brought up to par.”
However, Cal Poly officials say the state only provides about 40 percent of the revenue stream the university depends on to cover its costs, with the rest coming from tuition.
In-state students pay about $9,000 per year, while out-of-state students pay $20,160. Armstrong, as well as other CSU officials, have talked about increasing the number of out-of-state students to help pay for shortfalls.
The university currently receives about $10 million less than it did in 2010-11 and about $26 million less than it did in 2007-08, when state investment was at its peak.
Cal Poly’s faculty union has protested the number of administrative positions on campus and continues to find fault with the number of management positions — which jumped to 239 in 2014 from 160 in 2013.
Armstrong said many of those positions were at the low end of management pay, which can be in the $40,000s; some of the positions are paid for through Cal Poly Foundation money separate from state funds; and the campus has dedicated itself to fundraising efforts that bring in additional money, receiving $71.9 million for university programs and facilities last year.
Still, Archer questions how much of the donation money is directly tied to compensating teachers, adding the significant jump in the number of administrators doesn’t sit well.
“It’s difficult to track the money and where it’s going,” Archer said. “All I can say is that’s a lot more management positions than we had a couple of years ago, and the faculty hasn’t been compensated what we deserve.”
Armstrong said faculty compensation continues to be a high priority — and the university has to weigh that with other costs as it struggles to balance its budget, which is running a deficit.
“I wish we could erase the seven years and lack of raises, and we weren’t in the situation we’re in,” Armstrong said. “It has been frustrating. But I’m glad now we’re finally able to do something about it. … We’re stretching ourselves to be able to do this.”