Our salary analysis shows that Gallaudet faculty are currently underpaid relative to peers

Executive Summary

The Gallaudet AAUP conducted a salary analysis using a dataset provided by AAUP National Headquarters, drawing upon the deep expertise of our faculty and interested outside experts. We performed this analysis in response to what we suspected was a distorted salary analysis done by Ernst & Young, an outside consulting firm; our critique of their methodology is detailed in our January 10, 2022 open letter to the Gallaudet community.

Our analysis differed from Ernst & Young’s in that we identified comparator institutions using objective criteria (i.e., all institutions in large cities or suburbs with the same Carnegie classification as Gallaudet), without hand selection of institutions or subjective elimination of outliers. Significantly, we also calculated each rank’s recommended midpoint salary using full information from peer institutions’ salaries within each rank, while Ernst & Young primarily used information only from peer Assistant Professor salaries. Other differences between our analysis and Ernst & Young’s are detailed in this report. The results of our analysis show that Gallaudet faculty are underpaid relative to what a similar institution would be expected to pay in the Washington, DC area. Furthermore, we were unable to replicate Ernst & Young’s findings that Gallaudet’s faculty are overpaid compared to its peers, despite trying multiple combinations of objective criteria. This alarming finding supports our questions about the true rigor and objectivity of Ernst & Young’s analysis.

We urge the Gallaudet administration to take immediate and definitive steps to correct the current salary shortfall. Competitive salaries are essential for retaining, recruiting, and motivating the talented faculty members who draw students to Gallaudet. After twelve years of few merit increases, cost-of-living adjustments, or general pay increases, faculty morale is low at Gallaudet, which likely explains the ongoing exodus of faculty talent.

In this document, we describe the results and methodology of the salary analysis conducted by the Gallaudet Chapter of the AAUP and present our recommendations. In the spirit of shared governance, a spreadsheet with our salary analysis is also available to the public for viewing.

This letter was lightly revised for clarity on Apr 29

Methodology and Results

The main question we examined was: what comprises fair comparator institutions? Importantly, comparator institution criteria need to be established a priori; to “cherry pick” criteria after doing many analyses would mean that the goal was to obtain a specific result. To answer this question objectively, we analyzed the mean salaries of all institutions that share Gallaudet’s Carnegie classification of Doctoral and Professional Universities (D/PU). We also compared Gallaudet salaries with other Washington, DC area institutions, and also with Carnegie R2 institutions, since Gallaudet was classified as R2 for the three years prior to 2021.

Two datasets were used as a source of current raw salary data: the AAUP dataset and the IPEDS dataset. Both datasets are up to date, collecting salary data annually by surveying institutions. Importantly, the salaries collated in these datasets exclude medical and non-instructional research faculty, so this analysis is not affected by distortion from outliers such as clinical faculty who are paid on a different scale. The subtle differences between how data are collected and collated between these two datasets are fully described in this FAQ from the AAUP. As you will see from our salary analysis spreadsheet, the surveyed salaries which we used were highly similar between the AAUP and IPEDS datasets.

Not all D/PU institutions are located in areas with the same high cost of living as the Washington, DC metro area. A partial solution to this problem is to try to adjust the salaries of individual comparator institutions using a cost-of-living or cost-of-labor index. Ernst & Young adjusted salaries of their comparator institutions using the Economic Research Institute (ERI)’s proprietary cost-of-labor index; however, the AAUP and the IPEDS databases assign to each institution a geographic area, called a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which enables us to use the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)’s Regional Price Parity (RPP) index to estimate the cost-of-living at each institution’s location.

One significant caveat to this approach is that MSAs are large. Each MSA unfortunately encompasses a mixture of urban, suburban, and rural institutions. As a relevant example, Gallaudet’s MSA (Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV) includes most of Maryland and Virginia and parts of West Virginia. Gallaudet’s MSA, therefore, includes many rural institutions. These institutions pay much lower salaries, reflecting the true cost of living in their rural communities; yet by this coarse system, they are indexed by the same cost-of-living index (RPP) as institutions inside of Washington, DC.

Therefore, to objectively dampen (but we could not eliminate) this significant source of underestimation, we selected only institutions in large cities or large suburbs. Specifically, our query selected all institutions with the same Carnegie classification as Gallaudet, for which we have data in both the AAUP and IPEDS database, and which were located in either a large city or large suburb as collated in the IPEDS database. We did not eliminate any outliers. Of note, medians from large samples are typically not much affected by outliers.

All raw salary averages were adjusted geographically by their RPP values. We calculated the median for the adjusted salaries separately for each rank. This differs from Ernst & Young, who only calculated the median for the Assistant Professor rank and then based all of their salary ranges on this one figure. The results from these comparisons are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Median 2021 Salaries of Comparator Institutions. Nine-month salaries are adjusted geographically and rounded to the nearest $100. Full calculations can be viewed in our salary analysis spreadsheet.

n Professor Assoc. Prof. Asst. Prof. Instructor
Washington, DC Metro Area Institutions 7 $167,000 $110,400 $97,300 $76,000
Gallaudet University 1 $119,600 $89,200 $80,000 $70,500
% Difference -40% -24% -22% -8%
n Professor Assoc. Prof. Asst. Prof. Instructor
Carnegie R2 Institutions 50 $137,700 $103,500 $90,800 $69,500
Gallaudet University 1 $119,600 $89,200 $80,000 $70,500
% Difference -15% -16% -13% 1%
n Professor Assoc. Prof. Asst. Prof. Instructor
Carnegie D/PU Institutions 35 $120,400 $93,600 $81,700 $65,300
Gallaudet University 1 $119,600 $89,200 $80,000 $70,500
% Difference -1% -5% -2% 8%

From the salary averages from the Carnegie D/PU comparator institutions shown in Table 1, we developed the recommended salary ranges presented in Table 2. First, we added 7% to each median to account for inflation since 2021, per the Consumer Price Index. We then calculated recommended salary midpoints and ranges identically to Ernst & Young by adding 10% to the median for each rank to obtain a target midpoint, and each range was set to encompass +/- 25% of each adjusted midpoint.

Table 2. Recommended Salary Ranges. Nine-month salary calculations are rounded to the nearest $100. Full calculations can be viewed in our salary analysis spreadsheet.

Professor Assoc. Prof. Assist. Prof. Instructor
AAUP Proposal: Based on D/PU Institutions (adj. to mid-2022) $141,700

Ernst & Young’s Proposed Midpoints and Ranges (2021) $113,200


Gallaudet’s Current Midpoints and Ranges (2016) $124,600




Senior Lecturer Lecturer II Lecturer I
AAUP Proposal: Based on D/PU Institutions (adj. to mid-2022) $110,200


Ernst & Young’s Proposed Midpoints and Ranges (2021) $94,400


Gallaudet’s Current Midpoints and Ranges (2016) $82,700




Accounting for Bilingualism

A critical question underpinning all salary discussions at Gallaudet is how to appropriately quantify the value of bilingual competency. We have done only cursory research into different institutions and their bilingual competency compensation philosophies. One practical approach would be to compute the added cost of ASL interpreters that would be needed if all faculty were monolingual instead of bilingual. At the GIS usual rate of $64 per hour times 360 classroom hours per faculty member per year, this number of $23,000 is a large proportion of a faculty member’s salary. This calculation would still not account for cultural competency.

The federal government and many state governments offer bilingual employees a “bilingual pay differential” on top of their salaries if they are expected to use both languages a designated amount of time, usually only 10 – 20% of their workday. The differential can be a fixed rate (such as at places in Maryland, Delaware, Oregon, and California) to a percentage of salary (such as at the University of Utah). Gallaudet faculty are expected to not only be bilingual but to also use both languages in planning and delivery of instruction. Thus, our bilingual contributions and the amount of time we are expected to work bilingually is much higher than at these other workplaces, and this should be included in salary calculations to account for the value of the bilingual skills needed to perform our jobs at the level expected.

Although more analysis is needed, as a temporary measure, we tentatively suggest that 10% above the midpoint might be an appropriate adjustment for bilingual and cultural competence. We leave this issue as an open question, pending further research.


We ask the administration to revisit its commitment to the Gallaudet Promise, reconsider the quality of the Ernst & Young analysis, and consider our salary recommendations per Table 2. We invite the administration to look at our salary analysis spreadsheet, which we’ve shared in the spirit of shared governance. We urge that Gallaudet resume regular merit increases and general pay increases for inflation, as was the practice in the decades before 2009. These were the assurances made to us when we were newly hired faculty. These practices are essential to aract talented people to Gallaudet, and thus are indispensable to the success of the institution in fulfilling its mission. Finally, we also implore that faculty, staff, and administrator salaries are all held to the same benchmarks.

We encourage all faculty members to join our newly-recognized chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). United, we have the collective power to protect shared governance and faculty interests. We believe that a strong faculty means a strong university, where students are best served. To join the Gallaudet AAUP, click here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and MyGU.


The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), with over 50,000 members and 500 local chapters, champions academic freedom, advances shared governance, and organizes to promote economic security for all academic professionals. Since 1915, the AAUP has shaped American higher education by developing standards that uphold quality education.


Can we really compare Gallaudet with other Washington, DC, area institutions?
Yes! We do similar work and we live in the same metropolitan area. In fact, Gallaudet requires more qualifications because we are also expected to be bilingual. Our salaries should therefore make sense when compared against salaries at other Washington, DC institutions.

What is Gallaudet’s Carnegie classification? This seems to be a source of confusion.
As of 2022, Gallaudet has a Carnegie Basic classification of Doctoral and Professional University (D/PU). For the previous three years (2019-2021), Gallaudet was listed in the IPEDS database as a Doctoral University: High Research Activity (R2). Prior to 2018, Gallaudet was listed as a Master’s College and University (some years as M2 and others as M3).

Gallaudet faculty earn less than our DC peers. Do Gallaudet administrators also earn less?
No. As of 2018, Gallaudet administrators were being paid 26% more than DC peers. More information can be found at the Chronicle (click on “management” and “DC”). In addition, administrative duties are often outsourced to expensive consultants, obfuscating the true cost of administration. A good example of this was hiring Ernst & Young to do a salary analysis.

What are RPP values, and how are they different from ERI values?
Both the Regional Price Parity (RPP) and Economic Research Institute (ERI) indices aempt to correct salaries for the difference in cost of living or working between different geographic locations. RPPs have been assigned since 2008 by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and states, and measure the differences in price levels across states and MSAs for a given year. In stark contrast, ERI index reflects the differences in the cost of labor between geographic areas. Generally, ERI values are somewhat lower than RPP values, because the cost of labor does not rise to the level of the cost of living in urban areas. In addition, ERIs have limitations: they are proprietary and must be licensed; and because they are proprietary, they are also opaque.

Who worked on this data analysis? Are they qualified?
Gallaudet’s AAUP chapter drew upon the deep expertise of Gallaudet faculty. Throughout this process, we worked closely with Glenn Colby, senior researcher at AAUP. The AAUP’s Department of Research operates separately from the AAUP’s Department of Organizing and Services. AAUP’s Department of Research works for the “common good,” meaning that they work not only to support faculty members as individuals but also to ensure the quality of higher education itself. AAUP’s Department of Research provides the same data to administrators, if they request it, for a fee ($1,250). Of note, much of AAUP’s data are available for free on its website: https://www.aaup.org/our-work/research/FCS.

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