Kudos to the Post-Gazette for questioning the high salary increases that the University of Pittsburgh's Board of Trustees just awarded to Pitt's officers. Their salaries are already high for a public university and in the upper tier of salaries for officers of peer public American Association of Universities institutions.
In contrast, most of Pitt's core teaching faculty have salaries near the bottom of their public AAU faculty peer groups. Management types undoubtedly consider this desirable because it lowers operating costs, but it causes hardship and faculty turnover -- and does not promote quality teaching, something Pitt claims as a priority.
Pitt's full professors are well-paid but constitute a small minority of core non-medical school teaching faculty -- just 26 percent of Oakland's 1,744 full-time faculty and only 10 percent when part-time faculty and graduate assistants are included.
Many part-time Pitt faculty are paid a set amount for each course taught: $2,722 to $4,046 for a three-credit course is common. A full-time teaching load (12 credits each of two semesters, totaling eight courses) pays only $21,776 to $32,368 yearly.
The raises for some Pitt officers were higher than the entire annual salaries of most part-time and some full-time faculty. While the officers may merit their salaries and pay raises, Pitt's low-paid teaching faculty likewise deserve to be rewarded appropriately, relative to their peers. The trustees need to remove their blinders and correct these faculty salary inequities.
JOHN J. BAKER
Chair, Senate Budget Policies Committee, University of Pittsburgh