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WOU professor salaries rank low

Western listed sixth out of seven among Oregon state universities

OUS Average Salary by Institution

Graphic by Karyn Pressel

OUS Average Salary by Institution

December 23, 2013

MONMOUTH — Full-time professors at Western Oregon University may no longer claim they are paid the lowest, on average, in the state university system — but they are the second lowest.

Only Eastern Oregon University professors are paid slightly less — a difference of less than $300 a year — in annual salary, based on nine-month appointments, according to a report released from the Oregon University System.

The averages were released as part of House Bill 2152, which establishes baselines and conducts annual reviews of public universities in Oregon with respect to employment.

Western Oregon University President Mark Weiss said personnel compensation costs are about 85 percent of the school's budget.

"Our goal has been to make progress in compensating faculty," Weiss said. "Our quality faculty do indeed deserve more than being near the bottom of comparator institutions; and we believe they no longer are."

Western has been prudent with its fiscal management, Weiss said.

"WOU ended last year with a strong balance sheet and strong reserves, among the very highest of all state universities," he said. "Some of the regional universities are now facing challenges that impact the ability to provide increased compensation and, in fact, challenge the missions of the institutions themselves."

Weiss said faculty and Western negotiated about a 9 percent increase phased over two years. The last biennium saw an 8 percent increase.

And while the average pay at Western for its 214 full-time faculty is $55,355, some departments are paid what is called Market Place Step Advances, per the collective bargaining agreement.

Professors in both business — which awarded the most undergraduate degrees at 13.6 percent and include 21 professors — and computer science, with 5.1 percent of undergraduate degrees awarded and 11 faculty, are considered "subject to national salary pressures," the contract states.

Because of this, faculty in business and computer information sciences may be offered starting salaries 10 steps above their peers, the contract states.

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