Special allocation intended to boost humanities salaries

Next year's salary lines for faculty in the humanities are getting special attention and dollars from the ISU administration.

President Steven Leath, provost Jonathan Wickert and Liberal Arts and Sciences dean Beate Schmittmann have allocated $450,000, collectively, toward humanities salaries and benefits. The allocations, which are permanent, are intended to bring the average salaries of tenured and tenure-track Iowa State humanities faculty closer to salaries of their peers at other institutions.

FY14 salary parameters

Officials have set parameters for pay increases for faculty and P&S staff receiving satisfactory or better evaluations.

The humanities comprise six departments -- English, the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, history, music and theatre, philosophy and religious studies, and world languages and cultures.

Average salaries of tenured and tenure-track faculty in these departments are significantly below peer averages; in some cases, more than 20 percent below. 

"Humanities departments play a huge role in providing our students with many of the skills employers prize so highly in employees," Schmittmann said. "These include communication skills, critical thinking and an understanding of the cultural and historical contexts in which Americans and people around the world live."

Schmittmann said faculty representatives and department chairs in the humanities have long advocated for a systematic way to address the salary gap with their peers, and she shared these concerns with university leaders. She thanked president Leath and senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert for making the initiative possible.

"We pride ourselves on the student experience we offer at Iowa State," Leath said. "Humanities are key to that experience and to our determination to turn out students who are broadly educated and ready for their next venture."

Schmittmann noted that the additional salary funds will not be used for across-the-board increases.

"This is an opportunity to show how much we value our most effective faculty -- the productive scholars, the engaged teachers and the faculty who strengthen our community through their service."