The University of Michigan has increased salaries and headcount in a modest manner, in keeping with its commitment to affordability and accessibility, support of Michigan’s economic transformation, and longstanding dedication to controlling costs.
Using the Higher Education Institutional Data Inventory data to compare the growth of administrative positions and salaries to that of faculty positions and salaries doesn’t work. Here’s why:
HEIDI data only counts the people and salaries paid from the General Fund. The University of Michigan has done such a good job of getting other sources of funding for faculty (donor gifts, endowment proceeds, research grants) that more than one third of faculty salaries are paid from those other sources.
That’s good for U-M and that’s good for the taxpayers of Michigan. But it also distorts the faculty portion of the HEIDI data.
The HEIDI data would make one think that the number of administrators (staff) and administrator pay is growing faster than faculty pay. Actually, just the opposite is true.
The HEIDI data indicate that for the five years of 2006-2010, U-M staff compensation grew by 27 percent, compared to faculty compensation growth of 18 percent.
Our data shows just the opposite to be true. The average annual salary increase for the period was 3.7 percent for faculty and 2.5 percent for staff. Faculty salaries grew a total of 15.6 percent during that five-year period, on average, compared to 10.3 percent for staff.
In two of the last six years (FY04 & FY10), the President, Provost, Vice-Presidents, and Deans received no increase in their base salaries.
The HEIDI data only includes the portion of a faculty position paid for through the General Fund. So, faculty effort that is funded through grants and donations is not counted. And, HEIDI includes a wide range of employees under the heading of “faculty” — including graduate student instructors, lecturers and others.
Because of these two issues, HEIDI data indicate FTE growth of 2.5 percent for U-M faculty compared to 10.3 percent for staff for the five-year period.
In reality, our annual headcount shows that the faculty has grown 10 percent during that period while regular staff has grown 5.3 percent. (The U-M staff count does not include the hospitals and health centers. The faculty count includes tenured, tenure-track, regular instructional, “not on track,” lecturers, regular clinical, supplemental, primary, supplemental primary and emeritus).
The “administrators” that are not defined actually include professional staff such as employees in IT, finance, compliance, admissions, student counseling, human resources and research, among other areas. And, a portion of our administrative growth in research – while initially charged to the General Fund — is later recovered through externally sponsored federal grants.
The HEIDI compensation figures include benefit costs, including those for employee health care. That distorts the HEIDI numbers even more because benefit costs are constantly changing and depend largely on who is being counted.
U-M has been very aggressive — and successful — at keeping its health care cost increases below the national average (though, like other businesses, health care costs continue to rise).
Additionally U-M has shifted a greater portion of total health care cost (an average of 30 percent) to employees — both faculty and staff. All of that helps keep down the cost of running the university.