Wednesday, January 16, 2013

UVic and its comparators

Which Canadian universities are similar to UVic, in the eyes of UVic's administration? Data is never neutral, obviously, so it's important that we look closely at their perceptions.

For several years, the Faculty Association has assumed -- and stated its assumption -- that the university's comparators are those that the Board of Governors uses for setting the salary for senior administration. There's some discussion of that original comparator list (including faculty salaries and administrators' salaries) in Bulletin #5 from March 2012.

During bargaining, though, the administration provided a considerably expanded list of comparators. It strikes me as peculiar, at best, to say that the same institutions shouldn't be used for the assessment of these different employee groups (administration on the one hand, librarians and faculty on the other). It smells a little like a class issue, frankly, a distinction simply for the sake of distinction.

Setting that aside for now, here's the administration's longer list, with asterisks marking those on the original list. I've included what Statistics Canada believes to be the 2010/11 average salary at each institution, but including Deans (to the nearest hundred dollars):
  • University of Toronto: $136,500
  • *Queen's University: $133,400
  • *McMaster University: $131,700
  • *Guelph University: $127,300
  • *Waterloo University: $127,200
  • York University: $126,700
  • University of Alberta: $126,500
  • *University of Calgary: $117,700
  • University of Windsor: $117,000
  • University of Ottawa: $115,800
  • *University of Saskatchewan: $114,800
  • *University of Western Ontario: $114,800
  • University of British Columbia: $114,400
  • *Carleton University: $114,400
  • *Memorial University: $110,600
  • *Simon Fraser University: $109,400
  • *Dalhousie University: $108,000
  • *Wilfrid Laurier University: $105,300
  • University of Victoria: $105,000
  • University of Manitoba: $104,200
  • University of New Brunswick: $103,800
CAUT has some slightly different numbers, because they seem to have been able to separate out the Deans. I can't find those right now: they barely change the rankings, though some of the gaps shift. In January 2012 we posted a bulletin discussing some of that data, but that's before we knew the comparator list was going to expand.

We're ahead of only Manitoba and New Brunswick, but we know a little extra about those schools.

Manitoba is very similar in size to UVic, and while it has no 2013 settlement yet, its 2012 increase is 2.9%. The administration's offer would thus result in a dead heat with Manitoba after the first year.

New Brunswick is slightly less than half the size of UVic, so it's not an exact comparison, but on the other hand, they're getting 3.5% raises in each of 2012 and 2013. Our administration's offer would leave us, in fact, behind UNB after the second year of the contract.

Which, to be clear, would mean that UVic's salaries would be the lowest in the country.


  1. This is a fascinating list - I'm appalled at the salaries for UVic faculty. However, beyond that, I find it very interesting that BC faculty salaries are so low (I believe a recent ranking by Maclean's which included the smaller universities put BC at the very bottom in terms of average faculty salary). There is no question in my mind that UVic admin has very dubious "smart growth" priorities, but it also seems that faculty salaries and the funding of post-secondary education should be an important political issue right now.

  2. Well, I don't disagree with you. Obviously, perhaps.

    As for what you call the university's "smart growth" priorities, those priorities are almost upon us now, in a material sense. It's crucial that people understand what they are and what they may mean, because bells can't be un-rung.

    1. And yet they're so deliciously jargon-y.