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President responds to question about salary equity

November 20, 2000

Ask-the-Gov question: I understand the Mercer study was designed to equalize salaries at Austin Peay with those at comparable institutions. But my salary is considerably less than the pay I've seen listed in ads announcing openings at other universities (like TSU and MTSU). How come?

Dr. Hoppe's answer: I'm sure this question has risen in the minds of other employees, so I'm pleased to be able to answer it here.

First, APSU wasn't compared to TSU and MTSU. We're smaller than those institutions, so generally our salaries are less. Another factor that may contribute to the difference you observed is that the Mercer study is now four years old, and salaries at other institutions have increased during that period.

I do recognize that Austin Peay's salaries are low, and I hope the University will be able to revisit the equity study next year. Increasing salaries must be a priority if Austin Peay is to attract and retain excellent faculty and staff.

A bit more about the Mercer study: Data was collected in 1997 and salary changes were made in 1998. Salaries for faculty, administrators and professionals were based on comparisons with institutions designated by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The list included Appalachia State, Florida A & M, Georgia College, Northern Kentucky University, Salisbury State, Sam Houston State, Southwestern Oklahoma State, Morgan State, North Carolina Central, Murray State, UT-Martin and UT-Chattanooga.

Comparisons of professional staff salaries were done through seven survey sources covering higher education institutions. Compensation for clerical and support staff was based on comparisons with the City of Clarksville, Gateway Hospital, Fort Campbell and a Chamber of Commerce study.

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to answer the question, and I hope that in coming years Austin Peay's dedicated employees will see salaries that more closely correlate with those of other universities.