Report on 2020 Salary Equity Review for Tenure / Tenure Eligible Faculty

Provost Liesl Folks, PhD MBA
Last updated on October 15, 2020 at 9:07 am to reflect the results from the elective review request.

Executive Summary

The University of Arizona is deeply committed to paying comparable salaries for comparable work for all of its employees, regardless of gender, race and ethnicity.  Accordingly, we have recently completed a comprehensive review of base salary among tenured and tenure-eligible (T/TE) faculty.  Our initial objective was to ascertain if there are systemic inequities in base salary on the basis of gender, race / ethnicity. Upon conclusion of that review we reviewed base salaries at the unit-level to ascertain through near-peer comparisons if there are instances of salary differences that could not reasonably be attributed to performance or some other legitimate, non-discriminatory, factor.  As a result of our initial legal analysis, we did not identity systemic disparities based on gender or race / ethnicity in the salary data at UA.  The subsequent near-peer comparison revealed instances of correctable salary variations which have been addressed by making adjustments totaling $885,659, equivalent to an approximate 0.5% increase in the total salary pool for this population. We plan to conduct similar reviews of salary among career track and continuing status faculty in the near future.

Process Description

Legal Review

In late 2018, the University of Arizona engaged an external law firm and further retained a nationally recognized labor economist to guide its legal review of compensation of tenured and tenure-eligible faculty.  While the work was privileged and not subject to disclosure, we are pleased to report that there were no findings of systemic issues in compensation with respect to gender or race / ethnicity.

Internal Review and Adjustments

Following the conclusion of the Legal Review in late 2019, we undertook a further analysis of salary at the unit level.  This review was informed by the lessons learned from the Legal Review and the widely used guidance from the American Association of University Professors provided in Haignere [1].  It was informed by newer work described in [2] and the related efforts at peer institutions [see refs. 3 – 10 for some examples].  To this end, we developed a mathematical regression model that provides a prediction for the expected salary for each faculty member. Then, we undertook a near-peer comparison of the salaries of similarly situated faculty. Where salary differences were found between near-peers that were not readily explained by a limited set of indicators, salaries have been adjusted to narrow the spread among those near-peers.  The amounts of the salary adjustments were informed by the predictions from the mathematical model.  No salaries were adjusted downwards.

A note: Equity vs. Market

The purpose of this review was to establish if there are base salary differences that do not appear to be explained by non-discriminatory job-related factors within the colleges at UA.  This review did not address possible differences in salary between UA and other institutions of higher education (i.e., “market rates”).


Faculty Included in the Review

  • All 1,458 T/TE faculty on the UA payroll in October 2019.

Data Utilized

  • Base salary data, as of January 30, 2020, exclusive of all additional stipends, merit bonuses, summer pay, supplemental compensation, or other one-time payments.
  • Year of terminal degree, as recorded in UACCESS Employee, or from publicly available online sources.
  • Academic rank, as recorded in UACCESS Employee.
  • Years in academic rank at U Arizona, as recorded in UACCESS Employee.
  • Employment unit(s) for paid position(s), as recorded in UACCESS Employee (e.g., department & college).
  • Gender data, as formally recorded in UACCESS Employee. Note that we are working towards providing an option for non-binary self-identification, but this was not available for the current analysis.
  • Race and Ethnicity data, as self-identified in UACCESS Employee.
  • Teaching contributions, measured as the sum of Student Credit Hours delivered in the period 2014 – 2019 (fiscal year data), as recorded in UACCESS Student.
  • Sponsored Award Research Expenditures, by credit split to investigator, 2016 – 2019 (fiscal year data), as recorded in UACCESS Research / Financials.

Accounting for FTE Differences

All salaries were adjusted to a 1.0 FTE academic year equivalent, to allow for comparison within the model.  Faculty on fiscal-year appointments were pro-rated to an academic year appointment.

Mathematical Approach

A primary component of the equity evaluation was a conventional multilevel regression model, which allowed the impact of multiple factors on salaries to be simultaneously modeled.  The model was developed by UAIR staff in R, and used to predict employee salaries.  This model was constrained in its use of predictor variables as recommended in guidance from the AUPP [1].  We used a multilevel regression model with the following predictor variables:

  • Academic Rank
  • Years Since Terminal Degree
  • College (treated as a random intercept effect)
  • Department (treated as a random intercept effect nested within College)

At the institution level, the pseudo R2 for the model was 0.869, suggesting that 86.9% of the variation in salaries can be explained by these 4 predictor variables.  

For each faculty member, the model provides a “residual” value, which indicates the dollar amount by which that faculty member is over-paid or under-paid, relative to the predictive model.  These residuals were used to guide the amount of the salary adjustments that were implemented following the near-peer comparison.

Near-peer Comparison Process

Within each unit, faculty salaries were ordered as a function of years since terminal degree.  For every faculty member within the unit, the salary was compared against all near-peers (as determined by academic rank and years since terminal degree).  Where salary differences were observed that could not be readily explained by the limited number of performance factors available, being the teaching contributions (as appropriate) and / or the research expenditures (as appropriate), adjustments were implemented.  The size of the adjustment was informed by residuals resulting from the mathematical model used to predict the expected salaries.  The same process was performed for all faculty, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity.

Criteria for Exclusion of Individuals from Near-peer Comparison

Because an individual faculty member’s salary can be contingent on a variety of legitimate, non-traditional factors related to their particular circumstances, our review excluded some faculty (38, out of a total of 1,458) from being considered as comparators.  These include;

  • Faculty that currently hold, or previously held, administrative roles at the level of head / chair or above.
  • Faculty with formal retirement agreements in place.
  • Faculty with significant salary differences due to non-normative qualifications, relative to the peers within their departments (e.g., a computer scientist working in a non-STEM department).
  • Faculty for whom UArizona does not control the salary.
  • Faculty with current Performance Improvement Programs.

Who Performed the Near-peer Comparison?

The near-peer comparisons of faculty of each college were performed, one at a time, by a team comprising the Provost (Liesl Folks), the Dean of the relevant college, the Executive Director, University Analytics / Institutional Research (Ravneet Chadha), working with three members of the UAIR team, and representatives from the relevant college as needed (e.g., typically either the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, and / or the Assistant Dean for Finance & Administration). 


This process was limited in multiple ways.  The data used are limited in both scope and significance for many cases.  For example, ‘research expenditures’ is not a relevant performance metric at all for a great many disciplines, and even where it is viewed as being of some value, it measures an input rather than outputs, outcomes or impacts.  Similarly, ‘teaching load’ is a measure of individual contribution to the department’s workload, but (a) it varies per assignment by the chair, head or director, and (b) the quality of the teaching contribution (i.e., the outcomes or impacts) is not considered.  Service contributions (as distinct from administrative roles) were not considered at all due to a lack of data, even though workload assignments for T/TE faculty routinely incorporate a sizeable service component. 

We have made the assumption that all years since terminal degree were spent accumulating relevant experience, but this is likely not true for all faculty considered.   

As with many data sets, we fully recognize that our data may contain errors or inconsistencies that lead to imperfect outcomes, despite our best efforts to find and correct errors during this process.  For example, a challenge we faced was obtaining the year of terminal degree (or equivalent qualification) data, which, although necessary for HLC accreditation, has not been uniformly recorded for all faculty.

Accordingly, we acknowledge the need to develop more robust data sets to improve the process and outcomes in future reviews.

Review Findings

The total annual salary pool for all T/TE faculty included in this study was $182,019,817.  The share for female faculty is $60,883,723 (33.4%), and the balance funds male faculty salaries. Female T/TE faculty at UA are paid median annual salaries of $97,920, whereas male faculty are paid median salaries $110,775, a difference of $12,855.  As has been observed at other universities, this large difference is mostly attributable to factors other than gender, such as rank and field of study.  For example, the more senior ranks have a higher proportion of male faculty, as shown in Table 1, and these have higher salaries, as shown in Table 2.  

Table 1. Representation of male and female T/TE faculty, by rank, in the review population.
Representation, By Gender
Rank Female Male
Professor 31.5% 68.5%
Associate Professor 38.5% 61.5%
Assistant Professor 42.4% 57.6%


Table 2. Median salaries for male and female T/TE faculty, by rank, in the review population (before salary adjustments).
Median Salaries, by Gender
Rank Female Male
Professor $125,999 $131,958
Associate Professor $92,510 $99,801
Assistant Professor $80,900



The representation of race / ethnicity cohorts among the T/TE faculty are shown by rank in Table 3, and the median salaries by rank, race / ethnicity are shown in Table 4.

Table 3: Shares of T/TE faculty, by rank, and by race and ethnicity, in the review population.
Representation, By Rank
Ethnicity & Race Assistant Professor Associate Professor Professor
American Indian/ Alaska Native 1.3% 0.7% 0.8%
Asian 17.8% 15.8% 9.2%
Black/African American 3.2% 2.1% 1.4%
Hispanic/Latino 8.8% 9.5% 5.2%
Not Specified 14.1% 13.2% 5.9%
White 54.9% 58.7% 77.5%


Table 4. Median salaries for the University of Arizona’s ethnic and racial populations, by rank, in the review population.
Median Salaries, By Rank
Ethnicity & Race Assistant Professor Associate Professor Professor
American Indian/ Alaska Native $78,000 $80,768 $128,554
Asian $90,000 $99,859 $129,606
Black/African American $84,375 $85,003 $153,563
Hispanic/Latino $80,000 $89,891 $115,749
Not Specified $73,440 $95,400 $133,734
White $88,000 $97,580 $130,948


Table 5. Salary ranges by gender, race / ethnicity, rank in the review population (before equity salary adjustments).
Salary Range
Gender Ethnicity Rank

Percentage of Faculty in Cohort

Minimum Salary Maximum Salary
F White Assistant Professor 5.9% $56,000 $215,000
F White Associate Professor 6.3% 59,829 $230,500
F White Professor 10.7% $71,998 $391,761
F American Indian/ Alaska Native Assistant Professor 0.2% $68,100 $78,000
F American Indian/ Alaska Native Associate Professor 0.1% $80,768 $107,910
F American Indian/ Alaska Native Professor 0.1% $128,554 $215,000
F Asian Assistant Professor 1.9% $56,000 $215,000
F Asian Associate Professor 1.4% $62,500 $310,000
F Asian Professor 1.1% $92,200 $550,000
F Black/African American Assistant Professor 0.3% $66,000 $250,000
F Black/African American Associate Professor 0.3% $69,500 $139,000
F Black/African American Professor 0.3% $135,000 $450,000
F Hispanic/Latino Assistant Professor 1.2% $57,211 $100,000
F Hispanic/Latino Associate Professor 1.2% $71,090 $138,000
F Hispanic/Latino Professor 0.9% $95,825 $412,000
F Not Specified Assistant Professor 1.6% $56,000 $290,000
F Not Specified Associate Professor 2.0% $62,195 $230,500
F Not Specified Professor 0.9% $80,720 $290,000
M White Assistant Professor 8.3% $56,000 $465,668
M White Associate Professor 11.1% 60,726 $410,759
M White Professor 23.8% 74,002 $565,200
M American Indian/ Alaska Native Assistant Professor 0.1% $78,000 $80,000
M American Indian/ Alaska Native Associate Professor 0.1% $78,980 $78,980
M American Indian/ Alaska Native Professor 0.2% $72,544 $216,154
M Asian Assistant Professor 2.7% $67,250 $300,000
M Asian Associate Professor 3.2% $64,222 $371,000
M Asian Professor 3.0% $88,377 $345,000
M Black/African American Assistant Professor 0.5% $66,500 $275,000
M Black/African American Associate Professor 0.3% $69,113 $401,403
M Black/African American Professor 0.3% $100,955 $189,525
M Hispanic/Latino Assistant Professor 1.1% $58,000 $134,000
M Hispanic/Latino Associate Professor 1.6% $61,211 $301,770
M Hispanic/Latino Professor 1.4% $95,825 $304,496
M Not Specified Assistant Professor 2.1% $56,000 $170,000
M Not Specified Associate Professor 1.9% $61,064 $422,292
M Not Specified Professor 1.7% $73,519 $266,475

Adjustments to Individual Faculty Salaries

From the results of this review, salaries of 177 employees, out of a total of 1,458 employees, or 12.1%, will be adjusted, effective at the start of Spring 2020. Summary tables on the impacts for each of the Colleges are attached as the appendix to this report. The total amount of the salary adjustments across this population is $885,659.  The notifications of the adjustments were made to individual affected faculty via memos from the relevant deans during the week of 9 March 2020.

Following the adjustments, the mathematical model we developed was re-run with the new salary figures, with the outcome that the pseudo-R2 increased slightly from 0.869 to 0.875.

Note: Units with Standardized Salaries by Rank

The faculty in some units at the University of Arizona have established fixed salaries for each rank, and these are adjusted periodically to mark-to-market.  No adjustments were made to salaries in these units.

Note: Units with low diversity

In certain units across the University, we recognized very low, or even zero, representation of diverse faculty (with respect to gender, race / ethnicity).  Among the 80 units reviewed, 25% meet at least one of the following criteria:

• One race / ethnicity group with over 90% representation (excludes Not Specified)
• One gender group with over 90% representation

 These instances raise additional questions that were outside the scope of our review.  The University is working separately to develop a comprehensive approach to increase our diversity within the faculty ranks.  We recognize the need for improved recruitment, career development, and retention, as well as improved promotional paths and processes. The relevant deans will discuss these issues with individual heads / chairs / directors and develop appropriate action plans in coordination with our University goals.

Next Steps

  • Elective Review Process*: Following the release of this report, we will launch a process to allow any current T/TE faculty member who has been on payroll since at least the start of the Fall 2019 semester to request an Elective Review of base salary using (only) the same data types and processes used in this review.  A simple, secure web form will be provided for faculty wishing to make a request.  An open text field will be provided to allow faculty to share information that they believe is pertinent for such an analysis.
  • Convene a Faculty – Administration joint committee to guide further campus work on faculty salary equity, and to stimulate thoughtful engagement with issues of faculty salary equity through sustained discussion and review.
  • Conduct salary equity reviews for Career Track Faculty and for Continuing Status Faculty (during 2020) and for University Staff (initiated already).
  • Implement non-binary gender identification option within our HR system.
  • Schedule biennial salary equity reviews for faculty and staff.

*This step has been completed. View the Elective Review Request


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  2. Rouhani, S. (2014). Intersectionality-informed quantitative research: A primer. Vancouver: SFU: The Institute for Intersectionality Research & Policy.
  3. Report On The UC Berkeley Faculty Salary Equity Study, reviewed 20 Feb 2020 at
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  5. Faculty Salary Equity: A Literature Review, The University of Texas System, Office of Strategic Initiatives, reviewed 19 Feb 2020 at
  6. Faculty Salary Equity Study: Recommendations to Provost, The University of Oregon, reviewed 19 Feb 2020 at
  7. Faculty Salary Equity Report, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reviewed 19 Feb 2020 at
  8. Final Report: 2014 Joint Administration - Senate Oversight Committee on Faculty Salary Equity Analyses, University of California at Davis, reviewed 19 Feb 2020 at
  9. University of Oregon Analyses of 2018 Total Salary Differences by Gender and by Race/Ethnicity Executive Summary, reviewed 19 Feb 2020 at
  10. 2017 Pay Equity and Advancement Report, Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women, University of Mississippi, reviewed 20 Feb 2020 at