By Laken Franchetti, Editor-in-Chief
President Bob Iuliano began Thursday’s faculty meeting by recognizing numerous faculty members that had recently received accolades or published new work.
Iuliano then detailed his experience on the November budget retreat. He shared that the College remains on track to balance the budget on a cash-basis this year. Iuliano also mentioned that the projections for structural deficits have effectively been unchanged.
Although early in the process, Iuliano shared details for the College’s application numbers. The College’s application numbers are up 21% relative to last year. It was revealed that the majority of that percentage has been driven by international applications, as only 8% are domestic applications.
Iuliano also spoke on the compensation for faculty at the College, and he shared that the College is not where they want to be on this issue. Iuliano reiterated that the administration has a lot of work to do in ensuring that Gettysburg College is a place where faculty and staff are compensated as effectively as possible.
Remarks from the Provost
Provost Jamila Bookwala gave an update on the curriculum proficiency framework that the Provost’s office has been working on since the start of the semester. The Office has a framework they are ready to share, and this framework will be open to faculty through Moodle either Monday or Tuesday of next week.
Bookwala reiterated that during this process, the Provost’s Office engaged with department chairs and gathered cross-institutional comparisons, especially within the Central Pennsylvania consortium institutions.
Bookwala then detailed further information about some of the changes and proposals previously made by the College administration. The Provost’s Office has a goal to reach about an 80% fill in courses, and they expect to combine multi-sectioned courses that have low enrollment. An updated course cancellation policy will be posted to Moodle. The current policy is to cancel courses enrolled with less than seven students. The new policy will utilize a tiered approach, changing minimum enrollment for courses to 10 students for 100-level courses, eight students for 200-level courses and six students for 300-level courses.
After hearing from the science departments, the office has changed their original plan concerning the teaching credit with labs. Faculty will now receive one teaching credit for the first lab they teach in an academic year and half credit for all remaining labs that year. Bookwala recognized that this could mean strengthening the PLA program to provide further learning support to students in courses with labs. She also addressed that the Provost’s Office will need to work on adjunct compensation for courses with labs so that adjuncts do not lose current compensation.
Administrative support staff from academic departments were invited to lunch earlier this week to offer greater communication between those staff members and the Provost’s Office.
2023 Faculty Salary Report
Chairperson for the economics department and chair of the finance committee Linus Nyiwul began to present the 2023 Faculty Salary Report. Nyiwul addressed some of the limitations and practices of the report, including the use of averages rather than raw data to compare Gettysburg College to around eighteen other institutions.
It was found that the average salaries for assistant professors, associate professors and professors at Gettysburg College are below the College’s “like institutions:” Connecticut College, Denison University, Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Lawrence University and Union College.
Associate Professor for the Sunderman Conservatory of Music Robert Natter serves on the finance committee as well, and he addressed how the average salary gap continues to widen. Gettysburg College was found to have a 1.7% salary increase over five years, and this was below average in the “like institutions” group, which held an average 2.82% salary increase over five years.
The differences in salary at Gettysburg College due to rank and gender was also explored. In the assistant professor role, women made more than their male counterparts with a 0.3% median difference. For associate professors, men made more than their female counterparts with a 1.2% median difference. For professors, men made more than their female counterparts with an 8% median difference. It was acknowledged that this data could have been skewed or affected by the faculty member’s division or years of service.
The takeaways from these findings are that Gettysburg College salaries fall below their peers, and this gap is widening over time. The main areas of concern for salaries, from an equity standpoint, are for associate professors in division two and professors in division one. As for benefits, retirement benefits at Gettysburg College fall below those of peer institutions, and employee health care costs have remained relatively flat yet will likely increase. Health care costs for the College have also risen and will continue to rise.
The finance committee made some recommendations for the College moving forward: set a goal for future Gettysburg salary adjustments and conduct further analysis of salary equity.
The committee then allowed time for questions and comments.
Associate professor of biology István Urcuyo commented on the College’s apparent concern for proper faculty compensation despite requesting a subgroup of faculty to teach more than they have before without proper compensation. Urcuyo wondered if the financial committee had asked the administration questions related to proper compensation for faculty receiving an increased expectation of teaching.
Physics professor Kurt Andresen stated that he had looked at publicly available data to find that the president’s total compensation had increased by about 25% compared to five years ago, when the College had a different president. Andresen wondered why that was the case. Because the College operates as a nonprofit educational institution, part of their tax reporting includes the salaries and total compensations of top earners at the college.
Iuliano responded to Andresen’s claim saying that he has given up pay raises during the pandemic and gave back 15% of his compensation.
Andresen then revealed that the Provost recently expressed the decision to decrease faculty by approximately 10%. He questioned Iuliano on if he was planning to decrease the President’s Council by 10% as well. Iuliano did not respond to Andresen’s query.
Assistant professor in philosophy Mercedes Valmisa Ovideo stated the importance of investigating the difference of pay between white faculty members and faculty of color, as well as the difference between divisions.
Academic Standing Committee Reiterates Expectations with “Incompletes”
Chairperson for anthropology Matthew Amster represented the Academic Standing Committee, and he reminded faculty that they are only meant to give “incompletes” to students that have emergencies, such as an illness, which prevents them from completing a course.
The last faculty meeting on Nov. 2 was a closed door session with only faculty in attendance. The faculty discussed the strategic direction and recent events at the College.
(Editor’s Note: This article was edited at 11:42 a.m. on Nov. 28, 2023 to provide further clarification to Andresen’s question. – L. Franchetti)