myHumboldt Message Center


Printer-friendly version

To: Faculty

From:  Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D., President

Re:    Faculty salary equity adjustment plan for 2015-16      

On behalf of the entire University community, thank you all, again, for an excellent academic year.  We saw a number of challenges, but we also accomplished a number of goals.  We pursued strategic planning, we engaged in discussions about diversity, we are completing the hiring of 21 new tenure-track faculty who will join us in the upcoming academic year, and we awarded degrees or certificates to nearly 1,500 students.  Leaders in social activism and environmental responsibility, our students also excelled in art, research, sports, and film-making; they are clearly benefitting from the educational experiences that you are providing.

In recent years, the fiscal condition of the state – and of Humboldt State University – has not allowed us to make adjustments in faculty compensation based on equity considerations.  This has resulted in salary inversion (with faculty at lower ranks having higher salaries than faculty at higher ranks) and salary compression (with longer-serving faculty having salaries that are comparable to those of more recently hired faculty).  Fortunately, our budget for the upcoming academic and fiscal year now looks considerably better than it did just a few months ago, and later this week we will receive confirmation of HSU’s state budget allocation and enrollment goals.

I am pleased that the new budget allocation enables me to announce a campus-based equity program for tenure-line faculty that will be implemented effective July 1, 2015.  Last January, I charged an ad hoc committee with studying our current faculty salaries and developing an equity program that would address the most serious problems of compression and inversion that faculty have experienced over the last several years.  After many weeks of analysis and deliberations, the ad hoc committee presented a draft model to Humboldt’s CFA leaders.

After this consultation, the ad hoc committee incorporated CFA’s recommendations, which were largely based on the equity program developed at California State University - Fresno.   One difference between the HSU and Fresno model recommended by CFA is that our plan uses a higher minimum salary level for the assistant professor rank in our inversion calculations.  This higher minimum resulted in more faculty members receiving an equity adjustment.  The revised draft equity model was then presented to the College and Library Deans for their consideration and comment, and the revised plan has been discussed again with the leadership of CFA.  This plan does not solve all of the inequities among faculty salaries, but it represents a meaningful beginning.

I appreciate the work of the ad hoc committee (Lisa Castellino, Denice Helwig, Melissa Koval, Volga Koval, Colleen Mullery, and Steve Smith) and the advice and recommendations provided by CFA leaders that have resulted in a tenure-line faculty equity program that I believe to be an important and substantive step toward correcting faculty equity issues.

Faculty will receive written notification by August 7 detailing their equity salary increases.  We anticipate that faculty will see salary adjustments no later than the September 1 pay warrant.   Payments retroactive to July 1, 2015 will be issued as soon as they are processed by the State Controller’s Office.   These campus-based equity adjustments represents an additional $632,000 investment in our faculty.

The methodology for the HSU Faculty Equity Program is described on the attached document.  If you have questions regarding this program, please contact Colleen Mullery at

Thank you all for your patience as we have worked toward developing a faculty equity program that will be an important step in addressing the salary issues that have built up over many years of difficult budgetary times for the CSU.  I also thank the CFA leadership for working with us and providing substantive advice that improved our plan, as well as the University Resource & Planning Committee for its input and its understanding of the importance of addressing salary equity issues.


Humboldt State University