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Calculation differences between CU-Boulder and CU System

Comparison with analyses by the CU System. Peer comparisons can be done by different methods. Due to differences in data available to CU-Boulder (in Planning, Budget, and Analysis), we typically calculate average salary and compensation figures while CU system officials calculate weighted averages. The story is the same in both cases but the precise numbers differ in the two sets of results.

Here we call the two sets the "PBA results" (for Planning, Budget, and Analysis) and "system results" (for CU system). Here's why they vary.

  • Peer institutions included
    • In PBA results, 2001-02 and later data consists of all non-union AAU public institutions including Texas A&M and SUNY-Stony Brook. Calculations for 2000-01 and earlier exclude Texas A&M and SUNY-Stony Brook. PBA is working with Texas A&M and SUNY-Stony Brook to collect salary and total compensation data for years prior to 2001-02.
    • System results do not include data for Texas A&M and SUNY-Stony Brook for all years prior to 2004-05.
  • Data differences
    • System results include UCB figures whereas CU-Boulder generated graphs exclude CU-Boulder figures.
    • Data precision is different since system calculations use exact averages for each institution, while the CU-Boulder graphs include figures published by AAUP, which are rounded to the nearest $100 by institution.
  • The way the peer average is calculated.
    • Averages are always within rank, within year, in both methods
    • Consider a case with just two peer institutions
      • A: salary $50,000, N of faculty at that rank 100
      • B: salary $80,000, N of faculty at that rank 200
    • PBA calculates a straight average: $50,000+$80,000 / 2 = $130,000/2 = $65,000. This method captures the salary at the "average institution"
    • System uses an average calculated by AAUP, which weights by N of faculty at that rank. ((100*50,000) + (200*80,000)) / 300 = 210,000/3 = $70,000. This method captures the "average of all faculty in peer institutions" in the specified rank.
    • Institutions with higher salaries in each rank tend to have higher proportions of their faculty at higher ranks (e.g., Berkeley is over 65% full profs). Therefore the system/weighted method produces relatively higher peer averages at higher ranks, lower at lower ranks, than the PBA unweighted method.
    • PBA's analyses of salaries by college and discipline also use unweighted averages.

Last revision 09/22/08


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