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Faculty Salary Studies

Image of a young woman smiling while throwing dollar bills into the air


Salary studies have been among the most important tools of the ADVANCE program at TAMU.  The Evaluation Team built on previous work at Texas A&M to conduct a baseline analysis of salary in the STEM departments on behalf of ADVANCE and the Dean of Faculties Office (now Faculty Affairs) each year since 2012.  The results of these studies are provided annually to the various Deans.

The primary goal of each study is to determine whether or not there are statistically significant differences in monthly salary between male and female tenured/tenure-track faculty at Texas A&M University, after adjustment for demographic factors such as title and years of service.  These analyses have also been used to determine whether or not there are any systematic differences by race/ethnicity or national origin, and to identify individuals whose actual salaries are unusually high or low, given the predictions of the salary model. Individuals with salaries that diverged sharply from the model predictions are flagged for follow-up by college administrators, and in many cases, equity adjustments are made for individuals (male and female) whose salarie are lower than expected.


Baseline analysis

The baseline analysis detected significant salary differences by sex in TAMU's STEM departments prior to the ADVANCE intervention. To determine whether or not ADVANCE has helped to close those gaps, the evaluation team (Drs. Lori Taylor, Jeff Froyd, and Joanna Lahey) used difference-in-difference analysis.  They found a statistically significant narrowing of the salary gaps in treated departments during the ADVANCE NSF grant phase, and no evidence of such a narrowing in the non-treated departments.  As such, the evidence suggests that ADVANCE did positively impact the relative salaries of female STEM faculty at Texas A&M University.

The baseline analysis examined the salary history for each tenured or tenure-track faculty member using a series of linear mixed models (also referred to as hierarchical linear models, or multilevel models) over the period from 2000-01 through 2010-11.  The data for this analysis came from university administrator records, departmental adminsitrative records, and a supplemental analysis of faculty curriculum vitae. Given that there was no reason to believe that the salary patterns were the same across colleges, separate salary models were estimated for each STEM college in the university.  For the two colleges that blend STEM and non-STEM departments (the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts), faculty in non-STEM departments were excluded from the analysis. With the exception of a handful of outliers, all tenured or tenure-track faculty with at least a half-time appointment in a STEM department were included.

The baseline analysis deteremined that two colleges at TAMU had statistically significant differences in monthly salaries for male and female STEM faculty. In the STEM departments of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (COALS), female assistant professors earned only 93.7% of the salaries of male assistant professors, all other things being equal, and in the STEM departments of the College of Liberal Arts, female associate professors earned only 91.8% of the salaries of male associate professors, all other things behing equal. None of the other differences in STEM salaries by college or faculty rank were statistically significant.

The Difference-in-Difference Analysis

ADVANCE activities were not the only factors influencing salaries at TAMU since the implementation of the program. The university instituted a university-wide salary freeze from 2009-2011. An early retirement program was implemented in 2011, and there was also a hiring freeze. Turnover among top administrators created uncertainty. The Vice President for Diversity and the Dean of Faculties (now Faculty Affairs) continued to sponsor programs that were independent of ADVANCE but might have influenced department head behaviors, faculty climate and retention. These alternative sources of change made it challenging to separate and analyze the effects of TAMU's ADVANCE program. 

To address this challenge, the evaluation team used a difference-in-difference approach to detect evidence of institutional transformation. Given the changes described in the previous paragraph, we cannot simply compare relative wages before and after ADVANCE. That effect would be measured with time bias, i.e. bias caused by changes over time. Another possibility would be to compare relative wages in ADVANCE-treated departments before and after the intervention. However, such a measure would include error because treated departments could be different from non-treated departments. Fortunately, the type of error given by these two approaches comes from different sources. The difference-in-difference approach is able to subtract out the error caused by time-bias with the first approach by comparing treated departments both before and after the treatment to non-treated departments both before and after the treatment. Essentially, one measures differences between groups (treated and non-treated) before the intervention (pre) and again after the intervention (post) to see if those differences have narrowed or widened. For the purpose of this analysis, the treated departments are all STEM departments plus the non-STEM departments of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  Data was gathered for nine TAMU divisions - the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the College of Architecture;  the College of Education; the College of Engineering; the College of Geosciences; The College of Liberal Arts; the College of Science; the College of Veterinary Science; and the Mays School of Business.

The analysis found that there was no evidence of a change in trend for treated departments, but there is evidence of a change in trend for treated departments. The trend for treated departments was significantly different from the trend for non-treated departments. Specifically, the salary gaps between male and female professors did narrow by the end of the ADVANCE period, but only for faculty in the treated departments.

Institutionalization of the Salary Studies

The Dean of Faculties Office (now Faculty Affairs) sponsored formal salary analyses prior to the implementation of ADVANCE.  The Faculty Affairs Office has made a commitment to continue the more frequent, more robust, ADVANCE analyses into the future.  The studies now include 14 divisions of Texas A&M, including the Law School, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, and the School of Public Health.


Additional Information

For more information about the methodology and approach of these salary studies, see:

Salary Model Poster Presentation

Lori L. Taylor, Joanna N. Lahey, Molly I. Beck, and Jeffrey E. Froyd. (2019) How to Do a Salary Equity Study: With an Illustrative Example from Higher Education. Public Personnel Management 1-26.

Annual Salary Studies

Annual Salary Study (2019)
Annual Salary Study (2018)
Annual Salary Study (2017)
Annual Salary Study (2016)
Annual Salary Study (2015)
Annual Salary Study (2014)
Annual Salary Study (2013)