Saturday, June 30, 2007

Morale Raise

In other posts, I’ve written about how my new department chair is nice and fair to the point of being incapable of seeing when others are being not-nice and unfair. He tells me (or my husband) with some frequency that he respects me, but the reason he feels the need to say this often is because there are many intra-departmental episodes that seem to suggest otherwise. In addition, he doesn’t take action to move the department in any new directions other than business-as-usual. Examples I’ve mentioned before: he doesn’t object when there is a semester with no women speakers and he doesn’t do anything proactive to give women faculty important responsibilities.

BUT he just did something that was in his power to do but that took some proactivity to accomplish: he gave me a big, double-digit merit raise to help bring my salary closer to that of my male peers. To do this, he went to the provost and got additional funds, so he wasn’t taking anything away from other departmental colleagues. He did the same for my husband, who was also underpaid relative to his accomplishments. I think part of the chair’s motivation is that he knows that other universities are recruiting us. Even so, getting a big raise feels good after years of below-average raises from the previous chair, who favored the old guys and faculty friends in the department.

The departmental ecosystem has improved for me this year, thanks to the change in leadership. This makes decisions about leaving a bit more complicated. If I do go elsewhere, I won’t be leaving primarily out of anger and bitterness but rather for new opportunities and the chance to do something different with the rest of my career. That’s probably healthier, but it doesn’t make the decision any easier.


Anonymous said...

Great news. But, how much credit should we give? The threat of productive, funded professors leaving (especially two of them) is every chair's nightmare.


Mr. B. said...

Two chemistry profs (married) just left BigU to go to OSU...

Retention is cheaper in the long run than replacement.

Compensating your good people sooner rather than later makes it a little harder for them to decide to hit the road.



Anonymous said...

I realize you want to keep stay anonymous, but what is the level of "prestige" of your university?

I mean, are we talking about the type of UCLA or Wisconsin Madison or SUNY Stony Brook, or is it a few steps lower - like Kansas State or Florida State, or is it yet a few levels below that, like Wichita State or Oklahoma State?

Or, in other way, is your university ranked in top 40 in most physical sciences? That should help most of us readers put things in perspective.

You could provide some information while still being so vague that your anonymity will not suffer.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Don't classify your university online, FemaleScienceProfessor. It is so easy with just a scrap of information here and there that appears to be anonymous to determine who you are.

There's a nice example just published in the Spiegel-Spezial (in Germany) this month, unfortunately not available online.

Just on the basis of one piece of information - an email address - an expert information gatherer was able to determine the name of the person, where she works and lives, who her husband is, their nicknames, alternative email addresses for them, and that they are members of a swingers club......

And it doesn't really matter, does it? Congrats on the raise!

Anonymous said...

Of course you're not obliged to tell us anything. But, I did wonder at some point how you could be at all anonymous; given the details you do provide, if we were in the same field, I'm pretty sure I could tell who you were (unless you're obfuscating some facts -- for example, you're really a redhead and not a blonde :-)). That could lead me down the wrong path, but after all, pooling together information to deduce things is what we do.

I think your blog is important, but hope that the level of anonymity isn't too important, so that you can keep on writing honestly.


Ms.PhD said...

Yeah, I'm with the first anonymous. They're just trying to keep you around.

re: mr b's comment that retention is cheaper than replacement... yet another reason why I can't get a job. hooray for tenure, right?