A peek inside the payroll

Why University professors and administrators earn what they do

Source: www.fin.gov .on.ca and pa rl.gc.ca
Source: www.fin.gov .on.ca and pa rl.gc.ca
Credit: 
Graphic by Katrina Ludlow and B. Shiva Mayer

Principal Karen Hitchcock makes $306,425.04, David Walker, dean of Health Sciences, makes $320,073.32, and David Saunders, dean of the School of Business, makes $236,520.50. They are three of the highest-paid employees of the University.

Vice-Principal (Human Resources) Roderick Morrison said the principal’s salary is determined by the Board of Directors based on what other principals and presidents in Canada are making.

“What’s the competition set for the job?” he asked. “The more senior the job, the more competition
there is.”

The principal, in turn, recommends salaries for all the vice-principals to the board. In the case of faculty and staff, salaries and compensation are determined through collective bargaining with their respective unions, Morrison said. Mack McCallum, Queen’s director of compensation and benefits, said there is still a fluctuation in faculty salaries, however, because there is more competition for some positions than others.

“There may be different levels of competition in different departments,” he said. “It’s a lot of pressure.”
Professors in the School of Business, the School of Health Studies and science faculty overall receive relatively large salaries compared to other faculty. A large percentage of the professors earning between $140,000 and $240,000 are from departments in business, engineering or health sciences.

John Dixon, associate vice-principal (academic/ international), said that each collective agreement the faculty signs with the administration lasts for three years. The current agreement was signed in May 2005, and lasts until April 2008. The agreement sets a scale by which all faculty salaries increase each year. Right now, it’s approximately three per cent.

In addition to this yearly salary increase, each year every faculty member undergoes a performance review. He or she submits a report to either his or her department head of everything she or he has accomplished that year: all the courses and students taught, the research done, work published and
the faculty or University committees participated in.

“The critical point is, what goes into the performance?” Dixon asked. “In terms of how well the teaching was done, the USAT is a very important measure and it’s to be read differently.”

Based on the professor’s annual report and the student-completed professor evaluations on the USAT, each department head will come up with a number of merit points rewarding the professor for his or her work that year: 10 merit points indicate expectations met; more than 10 indicate expectations exceeded, and less than 10 indicates expectations disappointed.

Each merit point is worth about $250, making the average merit salary increase about $2,500.

The department heads forward their recommendations to the viceprincipal (academic)’s office, where
they are looked over and passed to the Principal’s office.

John Holmes is a geography professor and president of the Queen’s University Faculty Association.

“Under the collective agreement that we bargained, there’s a minimum salary set for faculty … it’s the minimum level for people who are just beginning their academic careers. … So they can’t be hired for less than that,” Holmes said. “Most people get hired as an assistant professor.”

According to the collective agreement, the minimum salary for an assistant professor during 2005 to 2006 was $53,594.

However, Holmes said that even if applicants are coming out of a PhD program and have never had a faculty job, certain departments and disciplines have a higher starting salary.

“For example, people hired to teach in the school of business or law school get substantially higher starting salaries than in the Faculty of Arts and Science,” he said. “The argument is that they’re market-driven disciplines.
“If you’re a lawyer, you have the choice between working at a law firm … or you can come and teach law in the faculty of law at Queen’s, so there’s a sense in which the law faculty is competing with the private market to hire good people.”

On the other hand, someone who has a PhD in classics might start with lower salaries because there isn’t a lot of market demand for people in training in classics beyond academic careers, Holmes said.

Last year, three professors at Queen’s received 20 points. To receive such a distinction is very rare, he said, and professors who do get 20 points have usually won a major award.

If a professor has published a significant book in the year or has won awards, he or she may receive a score of 15, Holmes said. Anyone with more than 10 is judged to be above average.

“There’s a dollar figure attached to a point,” he said. “In any one year, you’ve got a salary of X to begin with, then you’re going to get the three per cent of X as an across-the-board increase.”

Then if you’ve got a score of 10, you maybe get another $24 to $2,500, and that would establish a new salary for the next year.

“Over time, even people who begin with the same salary when they first get hired … their salaries could well diverge because somebody might be consistently getting 12s and somebody might be consistently getting 10s.”

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