News for Texas Community College Teachers


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- John Frederick Boyes


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Overview of TCCTA Survey of Faculty Salaries

TCCTA Offers Online Faculty Salary Survey

For the third consecutive year, the annual TCCTA Survey of Faculty Salaries is offered totally online, allowing more features and information than printed previously in the Messenger.

The survey includes the same important data as always, plus responses to many new questions. Most importantly, the 2009-10 survey asked colleges to report supplemental benefits such as release time, sabbatical leave, on-site child care, and paid dependent insurance coverage. College officials had requested this opportunity, allowing their schools to explain benefits that do not lend themselves to quantification and ranking.

The components of the survey can be downloaded and printed conveniently.

TCCTA began conducting the annual Survey of Faculty Salaries in 1976. Since 2002, the association has collected and tabulated salary figures from Texas community colleges using four distinct “ranges,” from “lowest quarter” to “highest quarter” paid. The lowest and highest actual salaries for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees are presented for each range.

Ranges were based on the total salary range for each degree, subtracting the lowest salary from the highest, then dividing the result into four equal monetary quarters.

In addition, each school’s average salaries are reported and ranked with other colleges in Texas. Significantly, the TCCTA study of full time faculty salaries measures actual salaries paid instead of a sample or hypothetical model.

The study assumes a nine-month contract, with 12-month contracted salaries adjusted accordingly, at 75 percent. Colleges were asked not to include teaching overloads, administrative stipends, or grant-funded positions in their calculations.

The association has been increasingly challenged to report valid salary data, since colleges have adopted widely divergent methods of awarding salaries. Valid comparisons are difficult, since many schools have abandoned schedules showing “steps” at precise educational levels. An unfortunate result of these local changes is that it became impossible to collect accurately the salaries paid to faculty at exact levels of chronological experience holding specific professional degrees or credentials.

In recent years, another problem surfaced as colleges with salary schedules, or tables, showing years of service and educational achievements, failed to provide for advancement on the schedules. Therefore, in practices followed today at many colleges, a faculty member’s step placement is no longer equivalent to consecutive years of service.

Members are urged to view the ranking in the context of the entire survey. Factors beyond average salary, including the breakouts into ranges, should be considered in making comparisons. Readers should weigh a host of other factors, such as the additional benefits reported by the schools in narrative form. Many of these benefits cannot be measured in dollars and cents. A link providing a cost-of-living calculator is also offered at the site.

Faculty salary studies commonly calculate mean or “average” salaries. Such analyses tend inadvertently to give an advantage to older colleges over schools formed more recently, since large numbers of veteran faculty members are found at the higher end of reported earnings. Although the TCCTA study also employs the mean as a measurement tool, it is hoped that, when segregated into four internal ranges, with designations for academic degrees, the result enables a more valid interpretation than what is otherwise available.

“No study will be perfect for everyone,” said TCCTA Executive Director Richard Moore. “But we think this method of calculating and reporting faculty salaries and supplemental benefits allows comparisons to be made with more authority.”

Supplemental Links:

Cost of Living Calculator

Department of Labor: Consumer Price Index

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2009 Salary Study

2008 Salary Study

2007 Salary Study