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Connecticut college and university professors to get 11 percent pay increase

Connecticut professors with the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system will receive two 5.5 percent raises in 2019 and 2020, according to a contract summary published by the union representing CSCU professors.

The salary increases come as the Connecticut Board of Regents attempts to mitigate deficits in the CSCU system — largely related to fringe benefit costs — which threaten further tuition hikes at Connecticut’s 17 state universities and community colleges.

While professor salaries will increase 7 percent between 2020 and 2021, annual step increases will raise salaries another 4 percent during that time.

The wage contract was one of more than 30 approved as part of the 2017 SEBAC concessions agreement.

According to the contract between the Connecticut Board of Regents and the Connecticut State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the maximum full time wages for professors will increase from $117,299 per year in 2018 to $125,896 by 2022.

The 11 percent increase will also be applied to associate and assistant professors, instructors and coaches.

CSU-AAUP members will also receive the $2,000 lump sum bonus this year, which will be pro-rated for part-time employees.

The pay increases come as the CSCU system faces ongoing deficits and student tuition hikes. CSCU had to tap its reserves this year in order to avoid raising tuition.

The CSCU system receives its funding through state appropriations and tuition. Connecticut’s unfunded pension and retiree healthcare liability costs are trickling down the colleges, driving up the cost of employee fringe benefits and leading to tuition increases for CSCU.

The state’s continuing deficits — largely driven by pension, healthcare and debt costs — have also meant cuts to state funding, further burdening students to make up the difference.

The state legislature this year granted CSCU a $16.2 million bailout toward the the fringe benefit costs, but also cut CSCU’s block grant by $5 million.

Students at Connecticut colleges and universities faced two consecutive years of tuition increases to make up for the state’s fiscal problems and could face future tuition hikes to make up for the wage increases in 2019 and 2020.

The BOR raised tuition in 2016 by 5 percent at Connecticut’s four state universities and 3.5 percent at the state’s community colleges.

2017 brought a tuition increase of 8 percent for state universities and 5 percent for community colleges.

Efforts to cut spending and expenses for the CSCU system have had limited success.

President of the CSCU system Mark Ojakian tried to consolidate the community colleges into one system — an effort which met with significant push-back from community college staff and was ultimately rejected by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The consolidation effort, however, continues with a new plan, estimated to save the CSCU system $17.3 million by 2021.

The Connecticut professors contract has also come under heavy criticism after media was denied access to the personnel file of a Central Connecticut State University professor with a history of sexual harassment claims made against him by female students.

The union contract supersedes state Freedom of Information laws and allows the school and union to keep professors’ personnel files private.

According to the contract, “The entire contents of personnel files shall be considered private and may not be opened to any outside scrutiny unless ordered by a court of law.”

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Marc E. Fitch

(13) Comments

  1. Malcolm

    June 24, 2018 6:41 pm

    R Bassett
    I don’t post stuff anywhere. But Teaching staff and Profs in the UConn system with tenure are milking the system at the Taxpayers expense. Some barely put in 20-30 hours a week, if that.

    I know people in the ‘system’ are crying foul.

    Where does UConn rank in academics, and the monies spent on the campuses to benefit the politically connected people?

    The only thing going for UConn is the Basketball team, and you can see the signposts all along on Rte. 84.!!

    Totally sickening.

  2. R Bassett

    June 21, 2018 2:24 pm

    Jim B asked “R Bassett, how does the pension and benefits of state college and university professors compare to the average private sector employee in CT? As a presumably educated individual, explain how the factors into your analysis of total compensation being less than whatever made up cohort of industry workers you are referring to.”

    Jim, benefit packages depend on too many factors to speak in general terms for all faculty members, so with respect to my situation: I am in a 403b (the non-profit version of an industry based 401k retirement plan), we have good insurance, no doubt that it’s better than industry, I do pay a good % of the premiums but since 2013 (we) having also been paying 5% of our salary towards retiree health insurance. Some pluses and some minuses but overall the benefits package are on par with industry. No one who has been hired as a professor for the past 25 years or more has received those ‘gold-plated’ retirement packages that you hear of.

    As indicated before; salary has been flat since 2015 with no increases and the out of pocket benefits cost has gone up over 10%, maybe as high as 15%, since 2013. There have also been unpaid furlough days. So my total compensation has gone backward 10% – 16% since 2013.

    As another professor indicated, we work 40-50 hrs a week most of the year. Being in class, which is the best part of the job, is a small part of the hours required for our overall job.

  3. Kevin J. Skee

    June 21, 2018 9:23 am

    Let’s clear up some of the misinformation this posting and some of the comments make…

    The salary amounts listed in the article are not salary amounts for faculty at the Connecticut Community Colleges. The amounts may relate to state university faculty but I don’t have that information. I am a campus elected Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges (4Cs) Chapter Co-Chair so I know the salary figures for Community College faculty.

    The posted article used a figure for the highest salary possible for a full-time full professor. Most faculty are not full Professors (for that matter most faculty are not even full-time and earn less). Faculty at Connecticut Community Colleges must have at least a Masters degree (for lower ranks) but PhD is usually required for higher ranks, especially for full Professor. Most faculty are either – in order of rank: Instructor, Assistant Professors, or Associate Professors. So most faculty are not in the position to get the maximum salary possible that comes with many years of academic work and possibly research work too (not all faculty do research). So to use the highest salary is disingenuous and an attempt to cause the maximum outrage possible by the author. Shall we talk about corporate salaries and use just CEO pay as the measure of what private sector managerial workers earn on average?

    For full-time community College faculty (and who are 4Cs bargaining unit members), for the ’18-’19 fiscal year, depending on rank and the number of years that the contract had annual increments negotiated* (not many):

    Instructor: $52,128 (lowest starting) – $71,060 (after at least* 12 years of service with annual increments), technically upper limit is $76,223 but it is impossible for anyone to earn that yet (i.e. requires additional 3 annual increments, none of which have been available)

    Assistant Professor: $56,298 – $78,602, technically upper limit is $84,179 but it is impossible for anyone to earn that yet (i.e. requires additional 3 annual increments, none of which have been available)

    Associate Professor: $63,592 – $90,910, technically upper limit is $97,213 but it is impossible for anyone to earn that yet (i.e. requires additional 3 annual increments, none of which have been available)

    Professor: $72,981 – $104,260, technically upper limit is $111,478 but it is impossible for anyone to earn that yet (i.e. requires additional 3 annual increments, none of which have been available)

    After pay increases negotiated for ’19-’20 and ’20-’21 the salary ranges become:

    Instructor: $55,841 (lowest starting) – $79,807 (after at least* 12 years of annual increments), technically upper limit is $85,338 but it is impossible for anyone to earn that yet (i.e. requires additional 3 annual increments, none of which have been available)

    Assistant Professor: $60,308 – $88,188, technically upper limit is $94,162 but it is impossible for anyone to earn that yet (i.e. requires additional 3 annual increments, none of which have been available)

    Associate Professor: $68,121 – $101,897, technically upper limit is $108,652 but it is impossible for anyone to earn that yet (i.e. requires additional 3 annual increments, none of which have been available)

    Professor: $72,981 – $116,840, technically upper limit is $124,572 but it is impossible for anyone to earn that yet (i.e. requires additional 3 annual increments, none of which have been available)

    So most faculty don’t earn the author’s implied high rates of pay. For highly educated people (read that as experienced and knowledgeable people who’s PhD education was expensive in time and money to attain), the salaries and salary increases are reasonable. These are people who went through the last 3 years with no pay increases and having to pay higher contributions to healthcare, retirement, and taxes.

  4. Jim B

    June 20, 2018 10:40 pm

    You are wrong DrHunterThompson (died in 2005) fan. Previous governors and our legislature made deals with state union employees that anyone with some common sense and middle school math skills would understand we could not afford. We are trying to pay those untenable commitments by taxing residents more. That would work if CT had competitive advantages versus other states that benefited residents more than the burden of the increased taxes/cost of living. Since we don’t have have any meaningful competitive advantages, the most mobile residents (the wealthy) leave, and the net impact of increasing taxes is less revenues, not more, to pay off union commitments along with other state spending. You don’t seem to understand that last point. It’s not rocket science. Look at some basic economic concepts, like elasticity, and you will start to get it. We see the economic reality of it in declining revenue forecasts versus initial expectations following the Malloy tax increases in 2011 and 2015.

    If you tried to coerce private companies to follow the lead of what the CT government has done in the way of pensions/benefits, you would accelerate the pace of companies leaving CT. Do you not get that we are competing against 49 other states? Wake up and start using a logic chain!

  5. PS

    June 20, 2018 2:13 pm

    DBM- come on now, lets be honest! If u teach classes over winter/summer break, you make extra money on top of your base salary. You are required to teach a minimum number of classes to be considered full time and get ur $117,299 base salary. Not to mention your benefits and pension. Also, you dont not work 50 weeks a year, thats a fallacy. Even picking up as many classes as you can, and working over summer/winter, with holidays amd vacation you do not work 50 weeks a year. Please dont take the truth ad an attack- the truth is the truth. I like what Dr Hunter Thompson said- how do we convince the private sector to give better benefits. In my humble opinion, using the barrel of a gun (government) is not the answer- we must convince the everyday folk that the deserve better and show them how to demand better for themselves thru protests and strikes. It must be organic though.. government and mass media elitists must not be allowed to hijack the movement or it will never work

  6. DrHunterSThompson

    June 20, 2018 1:01 pm

    JimB – the solution is not to attack the benefits of college professors, but to attack the private companies that did away with comparable benefits.

    To use your time wisely, lobby Congress to identify incentives to bring back pension plans and decent benefits.

    We all deserve them.

  7. DBM

    June 20, 2018 4:47 am

    Who says professors work 32 weeks a year? That is a huge fallacy! I am a professor, and I work 50 weeks a year, at least 50 hours a week! People who don’t understand the job ask about what I plan to do with “my summer off”, but the truth is that I work all day, almost every day, all summer long.

  8. Ps

    June 19, 2018 6:27 pm

    Considering professors work 32 weeks per year (2- 16 week semesters), that equals roughly 1280 hours if asdume they put in 40 hour weeks (which they dont because they get every holiday off) Now divide that by the base salary, $117,299, and a professor in CT makes $91.63 an hour- id say you are doing pretty good.. stop complaining

  9. Jackie

    June 19, 2018 6:09 pm

    “..tried to consolidate the colleges and universities into one system”…incorrect should be “tried to consolidate community colleges into one college.” There were 2 systems pre-2012. Now there is one, not including UCONN of course.

  10. D Crowe

    June 19, 2018 3:37 pm

    R Bassett – welcome to the rest of the world. We all absorbed increasing costs of health care and benefits and we didn’t get a pay raise and a bonus to compensate us.

    Marc Fitch – despite what I said to R Bassett, I am struggling to understand your numbers. If max pay increases from 117,299 to 125,896 over four years, that’s only 7.3%, spread over those four years, or about 1.8% per year. Of course, that’s only one data point, so perhaps there’s more to it. One other thing I’m not clear on is step increases. I understood those to be roughly equivalent to promotions. If somebody achieves a longevity threshold, that’s a step increase built into the system. Unlike promotions, though, they come wheyher there’s a vacancy or not. It can lead to driving up costs as average longevity increases. But it is not the same as an increase in the pay scales. No?

  11. Jim B

    June 19, 2018 2:06 pm

    R Bassett, how does the pension and benefits of state college and university professors compare to the average private sector employee in CT? As a presumably educated individual, explain how the factors into your analysis of total compensation being less than whatever made up cohort of industry workers you are referring to.

  12. R Bassett

    June 19, 2018 1:15 pm

    Here is the rest of story; we haven’t had raises since 2015 but during that period of time, our out of pocket cost of contributions to benefits have risen significantly.

    Since 2013 our out of pocket cost contributions and benefit cuts are well over 10% of our gross salary to cover things such as our medical, retiree medical, pension, furlough days and the like.

    So in reality what that 11% really translates to over 8 years (2013-2021) is .75% per year when factoring in everything. That’s less than 1% per year. Most industry workers receive cost of living wage adjustments in the range of 2-3% per year but we are averaging less than 1%, which is far less than the cost inflation AND we are constantly being asked to do even more with even less as departing workers are often not replaced.

  13. Matt

    June 18, 2018 9:25 pm

    Have worked for many years for a well known brand, have never seen such large ongoing increases in pay. Time for State amd institutions to bite the bullet(s) this cannot go on, if it does many more taxpayers will be forced to leave. Unsustainable!! Get real!!

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