Report and Recommendation on Salary Compression, Equity and Inversion at the

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Prepared by the Personnel and Benefits Committee of the UCCS Faculty Assembly

Tom Zwirlein, Chair

Members: Christine Hubbell, Mike Kisley, Mary Ann Kluge, Ceil Malek, Don Morley,
Judith Rice-Jones, Charlie Shub, Ted Baldwin (ex-officio)

As far back as March 1994 the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) has
identified salary compression as an issue affecting full-time faculty on the campus.

For the purpose of this report the Personnel and Benefits Committee defines:

Salary compression: Salary compression occurs when a new tenured or tenure track
faculty is hired at a salary similar to the salary of faculty in the same discipline with
greater longevity at the institution. For example, a new associate is hired in biology at a
starting salary of $60,000 when tenured associates in biology are also earning $60,000.

Salary inversion: Salary inversion occurs when a new tenured or tenure track faculty is
hired at a salary above that of continuing faculty. For example, a newly hired assistant in
communication is hired at a salary of $80,000 when full professors in communication
earn $70,000. Inversion problems can also occur in the ranks of the non-tenure track
faculty when a new instructor is hired at a salary above that of a senior instructor or
another instructor with more years of service at UCCS.

Salary equity: Salary equity is a different matter than the other two issues. Equity
means salaries are disproportionate among faculty in the same group. For example, the
salary of a full professor in computer science is less than the salaries of other full
professors in computer science.


The compression and inversion issues at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
stem from one or more of the following factors. First, the typical salary merit pool during
the latter half of the 1980’s up until 2005 have generally been too low to adequately
adjust salaries of meritorious faculty relative to UCCS peer institutions. Indeed, in some
years the merit pool barely compensated faculty for the effects of inflation. In any year
when the rate of inflation is higher than the merit increase pool, real incomes fall.
Second, prior to 1999, there were no merit raises given to non-tenure track faculty. Third,
for many years the University did not fund promotions. Faculty promoted to associate or
full professor received no merit pay increases for the actual promotion. Instructors were
also promoted to senior instructor without merit increases. These so-called “dry
promotions” lead to further salary inequities within the ranks of the faculty.


Finally, the Personnel and Benefits Committee at both the campus and system level
worked diligently during the late 1980’s to increase the benefit package to faculty
because both retirement and health care benefits were considered woefully deficient. At
the same time, the Tax Reform Act of 1987 required an equalization of benefits across all
campuses. This resulted in a major increase in the mandatory contribution to the 401 (a)
plan for UCCS faculty. The mandatory level of contribution was increased from a 6%
faculty/4% university split to the current 5% faculty/10% university contribution.

Add to this the extraordinarily large increases in national health care costs experienced
over the last decade. In response, the system-wide personnel committee and University
of Colorado administration have recommended increases to the faculty health care benefit
contribution to help offset these double digit increases. Since the University allocates
one total compensation pool for both benefits and salary increases, any benefit increase
reduces the salary pool.

In March 1994, the UCCS Faculty Assembly encouraged Chancellor Linda Bunnell-
Shade, to do something about the low salaries of existing faculty at UCCS. As a first step
Chancellor Bunnell-Shade ended the practice of dry promotions. Faculty promoted to
associate professor were given a salary increase of $2,000 in the year they were
promoted. Faculty promoted to full professor were given a $3,000 increase. In 1999
instructors promoted to senior instructor were given a $500 merit increase. They now
receive $1,000 for a promotion to senior instructor. This did not solve existing
compression and inversion problems since many existing faculty had already received
“dry promotions.” In an effort to correct this problem, institutional research performed
an analysis to determine which faculty were promoted without promotion raises.
Although a number of identified faculty did receive retroactive promotion increases
others did not. However, the faculty who did receive these increases never saw an
adjustment for the time value of money or inflation so the dollar amounts were

Since that time, the promotion salary adjustment amount has been increased several times
which in and of itself creates an issue of equity. For example, there are cases when an
associate professor was promoted to full professor in one year and received the standard
increase for that year of $3,500 for the promotion. The following year the standard
increase for the promotion to full professor was raised to $5,000. Thus, someone
promoted to full professor in one year receives a promotion increase that is 43 percent
below the promotion increase awarded in the following year. This $1,500 difference
continues to compound through time which further increases the disparity in faculty
salaries. In fiscal year 2005, the salary increase for promotion to full professor was
$6,050 while the increase for promotion to associate professor was $4,725.

The next attempt to resolve compression and inversion issues involved the entire faculty.
In 2000, the decision was made to set aside a portion of the salary pool in attempt to
increase the salary of the most severely compressed and inverted faculty. In the initial
years of the so-called “compression analysis” new funds from the University were
identified and allocated to enhance the salary pool to specifically address compression


and inversions issues. Institutional research developed a model to estimate a “predicted”
salary based on merit, years of service, years in rank and market. The predicted salary is
compared to each faculty’s actual salary to determine if a compression adjustment is
warranted. This model appeared to work reasonably well as long as extra money was
found to enhance the compensation pool.

In 2001, the Colorado economy experienced a downturn and the state of Colorado began
to defund higher education in order to comply with the TABOR amendment. Raises
became scarce and in fiscal year 2004 all merit raises were eliminated except for
promotion raises. This situation created more compression and salary inversion. Many
states across the country experienced similar budgetary problems during these years but
continued to fund sate higher education institutions by authorizing substantial tuitions
increases to compensate for the loss of state support. This was not the case in Colorado
where state legislators were forced to “ratchet down” the budget to comply with TABOR.
Tuition increases were kept at moderate levels since tuition at the time was considered
part of state revenue. State of Colorado appropriations to the 2- and 4-year institutions
began to drop. UCCS received 37% of its current fund budget from the state of Colorado
in 2001 with another 36.4% coming from tuition. In fiscal year 2006, only 18.5% of the
UCCS current fund budget is from a state appropriation. Tuition accounts for a full 46%
of the current fund budget in fiscal year 2006.

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Compression/Structural Faculty Salary Adjustments Over the Past 6 Fiscal Years
Fiscal Year Tenure/Tenure
Total Percent of the
2006 $53,341 $67,738 $121,079 15.0%
2005 $69,482 $149,090 $218,572 28.8%
2004 $0 $0 $0 0.0%
2003 $66,666 $32,372 $99,038 10.8%
2002 $58,889 $28,322 $87,396 12.2%
2001 $99,289 $46,322 $145,611 18.2%
Total $347,667 $324,029 $671,696 14.2%

At the same time, market forces continued to drive faculty salaries in many disciplines
upwards. Faculty at the UCCS peer institutions continued to receive raises that were
above the increases experience by faculty at UCCS. Thus, faculty salaries at UCCS peer
institutions began to pull away from those earned by the faculty at UCCS.

In response to the decline in state appropriations and rapid growth, the University began
to rely more on non-tenure track faculty. The University grew by 1,138 Full Time
Equivalent (FTE) students during this period but received no additional financial support
from the state of Colorado to educate these students. The University currently covers
52% of all course sections with non-tenure track instructors and part-time lecturers.


The hiring of full-time non-tenure track faculty was generally in line with national trends.
Many departments and colleges faced with their own budget problems hired non-tenure
track faculty, often at well below market salaries; sometimes below the poverty level in
El Paso County. This practice is particularly acute in the College of Letters, Arts and
Sciences, a college that relies heavily on non-tenure track faculty. The hiring practice
compounds the salary problems within the ranks of the non-tenure track faculty. The
method of analyzing non-tenure track faculty salaries captures these new hires almost
immediately as faculty with compressed salaries simply because they received a low
starting salary. Thus, one or two years after they are hired, these faculty are in line to
receive compression money. In contrast, senior instructors whose salaries are only
moderately higher do not fall in line for a compression increase using the current method
for analyzing salaries. Thus, new hires receive compression money while other nontenure track faculty with much greater longevity receive no adjustments. The problem is
not that the salaries of these newly hired instructors is compressed or inverted, they were
simply hired at a below market salary. At the same time, senior instructors who perhaps
should receive compression money do not because their salaries are somewhat above the
low salaries of the new hires. This creates an inequity within the ranks of the non-tenure
track faculty.

The tenured/tenure track faculty were not insensitive to the plight of non-tenure track
faculty. The Personnel and Benefits Committee, mindful of non-tenure track salary
problems, recommended to Faculty Assembly to allocate a portion of the compression
pool to this group of faculty. In fiscal year 2005, fully 67% of compression dollars were
directed toward non-tenure track faculty.

During this period, as stated previously, the merit pool was small, in one year it was zero
and in other years less than the rate of inflation. Yet Faculty Assembly at the
recommendation of the Personnel and Benefits Committee continued to set aside a
portion of the merit pool for compression. As stated, in the late 1990’s compression
money was identified from other University sources and these funds enlarged the overall
merit pool. Since 2001, all money set aside for compression has come from the regular
merit pool because the University simply had no other sources of funds to allocate to this
continuing issue.

The practice of taking funds from the regular merit pool only exacerbates the
compression and inversion problems in the ranks of the tenure/tenure track and nontenure track faculty because many faculty received only meager merit raises, often 1% or
less per year. Faculty who did not receive a compression raise in these years also saw a
diminished merit pool. These individuals effectively inherited part of the
compression/inversion problem. Continuation of this approach will never fully solve the
problem; it will just distribute further salary problems across the faculty.

The regression models used to for the annual compression analysis and to allocate money
is less reliable than it once was as more inequities have crept into the salary structure of
the faculty. Institution Research now considers the regression analysis of only marginal


In spring 2005, a special vote of the faculty was called by 25 dissident faculty who felt
that the practice of paying compression money had to change or be stopped. This
resulted in a special meeting of the Faculty Assembly and a resolution that charged the
Personnel and Benefits Committee to formalize a solution to the compression and related
salary issues at UCCS.

The Personnel and Benefits Committee worked diligently this academic year on its
charge. Institutional research has assisted the committee in its deliberations and has been
very helpful in gathering data, assessing issues, defining terms and assisting in a

A 3/30/2004 report by Institutional Research estimated that the compression, equity, and
inversion problem for the tenure/tenure track faculty to be approximately $325,000. The
latest estimates by Institutional Research estimates the compensation problems for tenure
track faculty now amounts to $1,212,202.00. The current analysis by Institutional
Research represents the dollar amount it would take to bring the tenure track faculty up to
the mean of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources
(CUPA.HR) peer schools. The analysis uses data for fiscal year 2005. The analysis takes
into consideration faculty rank and discipline. Fully 54% of the below peer average
market salaries reside at the rank of full professor. According to the analysis it will take
$653,057 to bring this group of faculty to the CUPA.HR peer average. The estimates for
the associate and assistant professor ranks are $391,568 and $167,577 respectively.
Many colleges and departments have differing levels of compression and inversion issues
within the ranks of the tenure/tenure track faculty. Please see the graphs in the
attachments to this report.

The same 3/30/2004 Institutional Research study estimated that $470,659 was needed to
bring non-tenure track faculty salaries up to the peer average of $35,372. An additional
$29,107 would be needed to bring librarian faculty up to their peer average of $58,540.
The 2006 Institutional Research study of non-tenure track faculty finds that $313,277 is
needed to resolve the salary issues facing the non-tenure track faculty (see the
attachments). English, Chemistry, Business, Economics and Computer Science have the
most severe problems in the ranks of the non-tenure track faculty.

The apparent improvement in the status of non-tenure track faculty was primarily due to
the 2004 faculty decision to allocate 67% of the compression dollars to non-tenure track
faculty. Unfortunately, the simultaneous near quadrupling of the compression problem
among tenured and tenure track faculty illustrates the futility of robbing the merit pool to
attack structural compensation problems.

Thus, the total funds needed to resolve the salary problem within the faculty is currently
estimated at $1,525,479.00. This figure does not include any analysis of library faculty.
To reiterate, much of this hole in faculty salaries was created since 2001 when the merit
pool declined at UCCS and other campuses in Colorado. At the same time, other state
institutions of higher learning around the country continued to increase tuition to offset


the loss of state support. These institutions placed themselves in a better competitive
position to support faculty and their salaries than UCCS and other higher education
institutions in Colorado.

Resolutions and Resolutions to Resolve Salary Issues

Given this background and the analysis of faculty salaries at UCCS, the Personnel and
Benefits Committee of the Faculty Assembly makes the following resolutions and

Resolution 1:

Whereas compression, inequity and inversion among faculty salaries will never be
resolved if only a portion of the regular merit pool is allocated to salary issues.

A. Be it resolved: New sources of University funds must be identified and
reallocated to enlarge the regular merit pool. These additional funds will
increase the absolute amount in the compensation pool and must be used
solely to resolve the issues of compression, inequity, and inversion.
The Personnel and Benefits Committee recommends that the University
Budget Advisory Committee (UBAC) in consultation with the Faculty
Representative Assembly and Administration identify and target new
University funds which will be allocated to the annual merit pool in order to
enlarge this pool. These added resources will be used solely to address the
compression and inversion problems articulated in this report as identified
by Institutional Research.

The Personnel and Benefits Committee recommends that the University
continue to identify such funds with a goal of eliminating salary compression
and inversion issues over the course of the next three years (FY 2007 – FY

Whereas the Personnel and Benefits Committee recognizes that UCCS has a
tradition of expanding its boundaries and sometimes stretches its financial
resources beyond the ability to pay for these new opportunities.

B. Be it resolved: The Personnel and Benefits Committee encourages the
University Budget and Advisory Committee (UBAC) to rank the salary issues
articulated in this report as the highest priority for University funding. The
fair pay and treatment of all faculty should be considered at least as
important as new programs and other opportunities.

Resolution 2:

Whereas it is generally acknowledged that the full professors in the tenure/tenure
track faculty have endured compression, inequity and inversion issues for the
longest period of time.

A. Be it resolved: Compression and inversion issues for tenure/tenure track
faculty should be resolved at the full professor rank in the initial year,
followed the associate professors and finally assistant professors in ensuing
Whereas it is generally acknowledged that non-tenure track senior instructors
have endured compression, inequity and inversion issues for the longest period of

B. Be it resolved: Compression and inversion issues for non-tenure track
faculty should be resolved at the senior instructor level in the initial year
followed by instructors with greater longevity than instructors with fewer
years of UCCS service. A particular emphasis should be placed on resolving
salary issues for senior instructors, followed by instructors with five or more
years of service and then part-time instructors with 50% or greater
Whereas the Personnel and Benefits Committee recognizes that the salary
compression issues of the tenure track and non-tenure track faculty are different.

D. Be it resolved: The method to deal with the identification and resolution of
tenure track compression, inversion and equity issues can be different from
the method to resolve the issue for non-tenure track faculty. This does not
mean the salary issue with NTTF is less important or that it can be ignored.
It simply means one method of analysis may be appropriate for tenure track
faculty while another method may be more appropriate to resolve non-tenure
track salary issues. Both issues must be resolved. Institutional Research
should gather additional normative data on non-tenure track faculty salaries
for the purpose of developing a model to rectify non-tenure track salary
Whereas previous analysis models for distributing compression funds no longer
are effective.

E. Be it resolved: The Personnel and Benefits Committee recommends that
Institutional Research develop appropriate models, in consultations with the
Personnel and Benefits Committee, to allocate funds from an enlarged merit
pool to rectify compression and inversion problems within the
tenured/tenure track and the non-tenure track faculty.

Whereas an analysis of library faculty has not been conducted.

F. Be it resolved: The Personnel and Benefits Committee recommends that
Institutional Research collect the necessary information to conduct an
analysis to determine the magnitude of the compression and inversion
problems within the ranks of the library faculty.
Whereas the practice of hiring full-time instructors at below market salaries
causes an immediate problem in the ranks of the non-tenure track faculty.

G. Be it resolved: The Personnel and Benefits Committee recommends that
the University cease hiring non-tenure track faculty at below market salaries.
The Personnel and Benefits Committee with the advice of Institutional
Research has developed the following guideline for new non-tenure track
hires. The chart provides a floor salary and a recommended salary. All new
non-tenure track faculty hires should be made at a level no lower than the
floor. The Personnel and Benefits Committee suggests the recommended
salary be used as a reasonable starting salary for a person with the requisite
credentials and little or no University level teaching experience. This salary
should be adjusted upward in consideration of teaching experience, level of
education, industry experience, and other important and relevant factors.

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Floor and Recommended Starting Salaries for New Instructors

Floor Recommended
Discipline Salary Salary

Anthropology $ 26,000 $ 31,200
Biology $ 26,000 $ 31,200
Business $ 34,000 $ 40,800
Chemistry $ 26,000 $ 31,200
Communication $ 26,000 $ 31,200
Computer Science $ 30,000 $ 36,000
Economics $ 26,000 $ 31,200
Education $ 26,000 $ 31,200
Electrical engineering $ 30,000 $ 36,000
English $ 24,000 $ 28,800
Geography $ 26,000 $ 31,200
GSPA $ 28,000 $ 33,600
History $ 24,000 $ 28,800
Languages $ 24,000 $ 28,800
Mathematics $ 30,000 $ 36,000
Mechanical engineering $ 30,000 $ 36,000
Nursing $ 31,000 $ 37,200
Philosophy $ 24,000 $ 28,800
Physics $ 26,000 $ 31,200
Political Sciences $ 26,000 $ 31,200
Psychology $ 26,000 $ 31,200
Sociology $ 26,000 $ 31,200
Visual & Performing Arts $ 24,000 $ 28,800
Women's Studies $ 26,000 $ 31,200

Whereas the issues of salary compression, inversion and inequity is a moving

H. Be it resolved: There should be an ongoing analysis of these salary issues.
Further, it is recommended that Institutional Research continue to refine its
salary data.