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Cal Bears crush Ducks by 35 points!

9/28/2013: Faculty salary averages for Fall 2012, from the Chronicle/AAUP data:

Honestly, this was a closer game than I’d expected for the faculty, given Berkeley’s academic chops. 
On the other hand President Gottfredson does make 11% more than Chancellor Dirks.
Next week is Colorado. Be warned: the salary spread doesn’t look good for Oregon. And Colorado also has a housing assistance program for new faculty, and for the full profs, up to 2 years salary as a lump-sum no teaching required incentive for their tenure reduction program. 
For the nostalgic, or those thinking forward to the inevitable tax-exempt bond scheme for expanding Autzen, here’s a little bit on former President Bob Berdahl and the Bear’s new money losing stadium:
From the Cal Athletic department website, Jan. 7, 2004

BERKELEY, CALIF.- University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl announced today that he will endorse an ambitious plan to renovate Memorial Stadium, the campus’ 81-year-old football venue. The project, which could cost as much as 140 million dollars, will be funded entirely by private donations.

And yesterday, April 17, 2012 in the WSJ, from no less than Rachel Bachman:

As state legislators shrink its appropriations, it’s hard enough for the University of California-Berkeley to maintain the nation’s highest academic ranking among public colleges. But there now looms a financial threat from another, somewhat unlikely quarter: the university’s football program.

Until now, the years-old effort to renovate the school’s football stadium, which sits on an earthquake fault line, never raised many alarms. Although its $321 million price tag would make it one of the most expensive renovations in college sports history, the university said the project would be funded privately, largely through long-term seat sales and naming rights.

But three years into the fund-raising effort, a projected $270 million from the sale of seats has failed to materialize. At the end of December, the school had collected only $31 million in the first three years of the sale. Now it has become clear that the university will have to borrow the vast majority of the money.

In recent interviews, university officials acknowledge that if revenue projections fall short and won’t cover the bond payments, the shortfall “would have to come from campus.”


  1. Anonymous 09/28/2013

    UOMatters still hasn’t learned that you need to include benefits especially pension benefits to make a rational comparison.

    And that UO salary will go a lot further in Eugene than a Berkeley salary will in Berkeley.

    Oh, you can live in Oakland and it’s close to a wash.

    And UOMatters still hasn’t learned that in comparing salaries, you need to compare apples to apples. Those Berekeley salaries include engineering and a lot of applied science faculty, right? That undoubtedly lifts their numbers.

    But hey, UO has a more distinguished faculty than Berkeley, right, so we deserve commensurate salaries.


    • Anonymous 09/28/2013

      Don’t forget all the help the UC system offers with housing, including housing allowances for down payments, subsidized mortgages, and subsidized faculty housing. So it’s probably a wash if you live in walking distance from Chez Panisse too.

      As far as retirement plans go, according to this document UC contributes 12% of salary.

    • Anonymous 09/28/2013

      It must be nice getting that modest Berkeley housing help so you can take on a million dollar mortgage.

      With a $5000/mo. housing payment, you’ll have lots left over from the salary differential.

      But when you get that job offer from Berkeley, you should probably take it!

    • Anonymous 09/28/2013

      Median house price in Berkeley for Jun-Aug 2013 is 700k, according to

      With 20% down (which you’d get help with both through the official UC Faculty Recruitment Allowance program and through a top-off in your startup negotiations, which I’ve been told is pretty common these days), your monthly payment on principal and interest would be about $2400 (3%, 40-year term). If you can’t cover the 20% down, UC will give you a subsidized secondary loan that exempts you from PMI all the way to as little as 5% down.

      And if you want to reach for that million dollar place, they’ll give you a graduated loan that lets you pay less at the beginning, and goes up over the life of the loan. Which you’ll be able to handle just fine since you’ll be getting raises as you work your way up through UC’s step system.

    • Anonymous 09/28/2013

      Yeah, great, a 40 year mortgage. And don’t forget the low property taxes in Berkeley!

      I can go to the trulia websites for Berkeley and Eugene, find comparable housing, subtract the listed monthly for Eugene from Berkeley, come up with ~ $3000, that eats up my salary differential real good.

      But, like I say, when Berkeley comes recruiting, you should probably take it.

      After all, they’ll still probably be in the AAU in five years!

  2. dude 09/28/2013

    Similar logic applies to admins, I take it?

    • Anonymous 09/28/2013

      Actually, yes. UO administration compensation should be compared, fairly, with other schools.

      As for Berkeley — I think they’re under-paying their top administration. They can probably get away with it, but not forever.

    • dude 09/28/2013

      On average I believe are admins are overpaid based on older contracts (yet to see new ones), not even including free trips to football games :-)

  3. UO Matters 09/28/2013

    We pay Kimberly Espy $295K. Berkeley pays her equivalent $333K, to manage a research enterprise that is ~10x larger than UO’s.

  4. UO Matters 09/28/2013

    By the Chronicle definition, which includes deferred pay and retirement, Gottfredson gets about $575K a year, making him the 54th highest paid public university president. UO full professor pay averages $110K, the 98th highest for public universities.

    • Anonymous 09/28/2013

      To run a university that doesn’t even have a medical or engineering school? Crazy.

  5. Hedgehog 09/29/2013

    Once you go beyond salary, you have to decide which of many other opportunities for compensation you are going to consider and how you are going to count that form of compensation. Research monies, travel support, incentivized compensation, little admin gigs, parking, summer money, housing subsidies, and so on. Those little admin gigs can have not only salary attached but also additional travel and other expenses–as well as a budget to play with. Once you go beyond salary, it’s all arguing over what and how to count. Just cost of living and average cost of homes can be quite contentious. You don’t have to live in Berkeley, you can live in Oakland or further out and take BART in from Fremont. Then you cut down cost of transportation because you have mass transit. But then we have LTD. It goes on and on. Salary is a clear major indicator of compensation. Of course medical insurance and retirement are huge, but it’s not easy to compare different policies or different retirement plans. Even tier one folks in Oregon can have entirely different retirement outlooks based on whether they can take money match or not. And then we multiple tiers and OPSRP, sometimes hard to compare even with each other.

    All these different non-salary forms of compensation are important. They are, however, very difficult to count fairly, and they count very differently for different people, depending on their needs, Salary is a good index here–simple, clear, fairly non-contentious to count, valuable to everyone.

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      Salary is very simple good index until you actually have to pay the bills! As I know very well from my own experience as an employee at 3 universities in three very different locations.

      And when you find out that you can’t afford to live in Berkeley (or Brookline) and end up in Fremont (or Brighton, or Brooklyn), and you add up all the time you’re spending being tossed around in the subway — that adds up to a cost, too.

  6. Anonymous 09/29/2013

    Cal doesn’t pay grad student tuition. So, here’s another type of complex compensation – more grant $$ for research. Or summer salary.

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      Oregon has the highest cost of lab research personnel that I know about. Grad students need to have full tuition paid the entire time–it is common elsewhere to reduce tuition after qualifying exams. Post-docs have benefits that cost 75% of salary–elsewhere it is often 15%-25%. Research assistants are the same. A terrible situation that will force lower productivity.

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      And for the postdocs reading- nobody wants to cut your real benefits, especially healthcare. But retirement goes into a black hole unless you stay over 5 years and can collect it. OUS rules.

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      The retirement black hole no longer exists for Tier 3 hires where the 6% is vested immediately

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      Didn’t know that. And the other 6%?

  7. Anonymous 09/29/2013

    “Next week is Colorado. Be warned: the spread doesn’t look good for Oregon.”

    Hope UO Matters will become sophisticated enough by then to break out all the irrelevant faculties like engineering and actually compare comparable salaries.

    And be sure to get the retirement benefits right. I knew a guy who moved from Oregon to Colorado because he was fed up with the low salary here.

    Turned out he hadn’t taken into account the very different retirement benefits — when he got there, he was shocked to find that his pay after they took out all the money for retirement wasn’t any better than at Oregon!

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      UC-Boulder also offers subsidized housing loans.

      But the real action is for the full profs. Colorado’s retirement incentive program is extraordinarily generous compared to UO’s TRP:

      a. In exchange for the tenured faculty member’s agreement to immediately retire and
      relinquish his/her tenure rights, the Chancellor may agree to a retirement incentive
      that shall not exceed twice the faculty member’s base faculty salary at the time the
      agreement is executed. Such incentive payment shall take the form of a one-time,
      taxable cash payment to be paid on or after the retirement date, but no later than
      December 31 of the calendar year in which the retirement date occurs.

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      It must be great to be eligible for a loan so you can enjoy shopping in a housing market that is more than twice as expensive as Eugene.

      On the phased retirement plan, I like that “may agree.” More details of what is actually given, please.

      I note that the actual pension contribution in their ORP plan is 10% — pretty typical, but not as good as the 12% offered even in the Tier 3 ORP plan at UO.

      Take that into account, and assistant professor salaries at UO are within $1500 of CU.

      But that is before you take out the engineers.

      I think it will be hard to keep a straight face with the sob story next week.

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      Why are there such assholes around here? Can you not get the point being made? UO salaries suck. period.

    • UO Matters 09/29/2013

      Do your homework on the engineers Bernie:

      “The overall institutional average salary for the ALL AAU Public Peers was also weighted by discipline, using the UO FTE distribution across all schools, colleges, and CAS divisions.”

      In short, no engineers were harmed in computing the comparators salary averages for the AAUDE comparisons on the IR web page. I’m reporting the AAUP/Chronicle data here, since I can get it by school. Not much difference, sorry.

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      Can’t you get the point? I and others have been making the case, with facts, evidence, and logic, that they are really not so bad. Not when you make fair comparisons. Like I just did above, re the assistant professors at Colorado compared to UO.

      By and large, we have it pretty decent here. Much better than just a dozen years ago. 90% of our neighbors in Lane County would say we have jobs to kill for, if that matters. Sure, there are a lot of things not to like at UO.

      Including so many colleagues who feel so sorry for themselves.

      But I have friends at a lot of universities, they all grumble too. Including my pals at Colorado!

    • UO Matters 09/29/2013

      You’re just shouting Bernie.

      When I and others bring up the details of the actual benefits packages at other universities you get pissy, or try to distract people by talking about med schools and engineering professors, without even a basic understanding of how the comparisons account for them in the calculations.

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      UOMatters: you linked to UO sources, who competently try their best to make an apples-to-apples comparison, i.e. they use data that exclude, e.g., engineers.

      But when UOMatters inanely posts these weekly comparisons of total AAU salary data, it’s nothing of the kind.

      Sure, if you want to talk about UO data on comparators, go ahead. But next time, try to get the benefits comparison into the picture — UO also tries to track total compensation, as you know very well, or should.

      Or just listen to honest Uncle Bernie, he knows what he’s talking about, and he seems to have infinite patience — goes over the same things over and over. Good old Uncle Bernie!

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      If you want to think it’s pissy for Uncle Bernie to point out that having to pay for housing that’s two or three times as expensive is not such a great deal, go ahead.

      But please, next time, post those UO comparisons of total compensation alongside the UO comparisons of salaries.

    • UO Matters 09/29/2013

      Those total compensation numbers show the cost to UO, not the value to the faculty. Plus they ignore many benefits, such as summer support, housing, retirement incentives, etc. But we’ve been through all this before, you just don’t want to hear it. Or do you think if you repeat yourself enough people might start believing you?

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      Sure, medical and retirement benefits are all real in other states, and just money down the state rat hole in Oregon. (That last 22.5% ORP contribution for Tier 1 and Tier 2 was just an illusion.)

      You’ve never tried to quantify the supposed value of all those other benefits — let’s have data on summer support at comparators, compared to UO, please — nor taken into account that things like housing subsidies are meant to make up — actually, usually to make it possible to get borrow money for a mortgage — for catastrophically higher housing costs in the places that have them.

      If a big retirement incentive means so much to a faculty member — I wish them the best in their new job!

      But please, let’s see those total compensation numbers. Then by all means, discuss how they were gotten — does AAUP have standardized accounting procedures or not? — and whether they are real.

    • Awesome0 09/30/2013

      The housing subsidy reduces your mortgage by about 30 percent (more down and it eliminates PMI). Given most people spend 1/4 to 1/3 of income on housing, that comes out to an extra 1/12 to 1/9 in take home pay. I would say that roughly offsets the extra 6 percent take up in retirement.

  8. UO Matters 09/29/2013

    How I reconcile your argument that we should include UO’s retirement benefits when making comparisons across schools with your statement that

    “If a big retirement incentive means so much to a faculty member — I wish them the best in their new job! “

    • Anonymous 09/29/2013

      Money spent for retirement incentives above and beyond salary should probably be included. (But I have to wonder — does a lump taxable retirement payment get counted as salary already?)

      But my comment was not about accounting methods — it was meant as kind of a dig at faculty who want a big incentive to retire.

      If Colorado really “can” offer two years salary as an incentive to an individual faculty member — what does it say that they want so badly to get rid of that person?

  9. Awesome0 09/30/2013

    Also retirement benefits are cheaper to the university because they are not subject various taxes (payroll, medicare. etc) even though the present expected value is less than additional dollars in salary.

    I interviewed at Boulder at the same time I was recruited here. Great place, a lot like Eugene. In fact, in many dimensions it is our closer comparator in terms of size, funding (out of state California students), a lot of sports (although football has been scaled way bake in importance since several players were involved in some rape scandals). That said, the faculty in my department were truly awesome and I saw would fit in better here, but that doesn’t mean this was an easy choice.

    I looked up salaries of course. Here’s what I noticed: assistant professors made about the same. Associates were paid 10-20 percent more at Boulder, and Full Profs were paid 30-50 percent more. They didn’t had a major inversion problem. We might want to see how they did thus, because unlike U Mich, UC Boulder faces the same pressures we do, and still pays people well and seems to have avoid compression and inversions issues better than we have.

    Regarding housing, I think part of the differences boil down to what you call Eugene and what you call Boulder. Many communities in Boulder are close to campus but aren’t in the city of Boulder (because Boulder is extremely anti-growth). If you include surrounding cities Boulder doesn’t look as bad. At the same time, in Eugene’s definition we are including neighborhoods like Danebo and others where no professors really live. Also the housing subsidy would have made a huge difference. An interest free loan for 80000 makes lowers a monthly payment by about 30 percent for first time buyers. Also Boulder has twice as many sunny days in the year, and over 300 days with sunshine. And some of the best skiing in the world is only an hour away.

    Also I don’t buy into the comment of looking at how much better paid we are then every one else who lives in Eugene. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel sorry that someone who does tattoos or puts birds on plates and calls it art makes less than me. Our comparators should be other research institutions, not people that have college degrees and choose to work in coffee shops because the 90’s are still alive in Oregon :-)

    • Anonymous 09/30/2013

      Birds on plates, you say? Sounds like an innovator needing space in the new RAIN incubator!

      Plenty of people in Eugene make similar salaries. A pharmacist at Target averages $114k a year. A manager at Walmart makes >$90k. Costco meat manager makes close to $80k. Not sure what my point is, but interesting!

  10. It's my University and I'll Gripe if I want to 09/30/2013

    Finally! Someone with a sense of reality! Thank goodness you are on this blog.

    1. Salary + Retirement Benefits + Health Insurance + Disability are usually considered “total compensation.” Other benefits are not usually comparable and so not included in TC.
    2. For the ORP people in Tier 3, who make up (if not over half) a significant and growing portion of our current faculty, the extra 6% that comes from the employer to pay the employee share of the retirement benefit is the only thing that is keeping UO within striking range of the total comp packages at other universities. Keep in mind that if salaries are low, so is the 12% — and of course, at other schools whose salaries are higher…even if the employee initial cost of retirement benefits is higher, the compounded effect after 20 or 30 years is a much better payoff.
    3. If, really when, the state makes it impossible for the UO to pay the employee’s 6%, the UO’s salaries better be in the average or better range of the AAU universities so the faculty won’t lose money and the UO will be able to staunch the tide in retirements and exits.
    4. Whoever is trying to argue over and over that salaries at the UO are comparable to other publics is clearly not thinking like someone who has to make an offer to candidates. One can’t really argue and sell “total comp” as being better here and get anywhere with a bright-eyed assistant or a savvy close-to-retirement full. The first is focused on the here and now (current salary) and the second is focused on getting as much of the current salary into a retirement and protected plan as possible. The “total comp” arguement is for the admin to make to us when we are thinking of leaving and they don’t really want to match the offer. But, by the way, they almost always do. Why? Because they know that even with total comp, the profs here are worse-off.

    Further, he (I’m guessing it’s a “he”…it’s always a “he”) is probably from the old guard of the great PERS plan and probably in some kind of science or professional school, because he sounds like he has plenty of money, and has already sent his kids to college or won’t have any problem in doing so. He sounds like he isn’t in a dual career-track academic couple where the couple may have to leave so both can have a job.

    He’s not thinking about how small our airport is here; what it costs to travel for research from here or to see one’s family who most likely lives far away (since few of the faculty are from the Northwest). He must not be in the humanities…where there are very few big research awards for which to compete and funding as well as time off from teaching from the university is critical. No, he can’t be. Because if he were, he would know how important salary is and that not only do all these universities pay much better but in addition they do pay a lot more for faculty research; they give faculty the time off they need to get some real work done aside from the summer; they are located in areas with better overall transportation; they value their faculty. Ask the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which has always paid its faculty well because it realizes that it is in the middle-of-nowhere and the university wants its faculty to stay and be happy.

    • Anonymous 09/30/2013

      Dog says

      The salary/total compensation discussion is now highly circular and non-converging with very little new being added to the discussion. Clearly there is no resolution. FWIW my view is the following:

      1. The UO is quite deficient at offering Summer Salary through various programs.

      2. Assistant professor salaries in most depts are competitive.

      3. Compression has been eased between Associate and Assistant over the last 6-8 years because
      of significantly larger promotion raises.

      4. The biggest problem is at the Full Professor Level:
      –compression is bad
      –dynamic range is huge (in my dept that range is about 70K) and I estimate that about 1/4 of all
      Full professors are now paid very poorly.

      5. Compensation is always relative to local living expenses and the like. If at the end of the year you come out
      20-30 K ahead thats good. If you come out less than 10K ahead, either your expenses are too high or your
      UO Salary is too low. Obviously there is no data on this, its just a useful bitch criteria.

    • Awesome0 09/30/2013

      I would happy with using criterion 5 as a way to distribute a new type of raises in the next negotations.

      Rather than merit, ATB, or equity, the new category is “Shiiiiittttt, I got bills to pay.” Departments would have to collect our savings account info. I promise there will be no moral hazard on my end if I knew in advanced raises would be allocated in this way :-)

    • UO Matters 09/30/2013

      Criterion 5 is what UO uses to determine athletic subsidies. Bigger their hole, more we pay.

    • Awesome0 09/30/2013

      By Dog’s logic clearly the athletic budget isn’t big enough because they aren’t coming out ahead any year. Either that, or I suppose they might be spending too much…. :-)

  11. Anonymous 09/30/2013

    Frankly, I’m surprised nobody has mentioned bike paths and green bike lanes as decent comparators.

  12. Anonymous 09/30/2013

    Note that I cannot send my kids to college on anything other than salary.

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