2008-09: APA Survey of Graduate Departments of Psychology

Brittany Hart, Ariel Finno, Jessica Kohout & Marlene Wicherski
APA Center for Workforce Studies
February 2009
Report Text

Introduction

Background

The 2008 Start-Up Survey was a collaborative effort between the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Center for Workforce Studies and the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology’s (COGDOP) Board of Directors. The objective of the current effort was to learn more about start-up packages being offered by various departments to new faculty hires for the 2008-2009 academic year. Specifically, the survey requested information on number of new hires, rank, subfield, highest degree and year awarded, salary for new faculty members, and specific aspects of their start-up packages.

Methodology

Eligible departments were drawn from the current edition of the Graduate Study in Psychology (APA, 2009) and prior editions, and from the membership of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP). The total sample included 663 U.S. and Canadian graduate departments of psychology.

In early September, 2008, chairs and department heads of the 663 graduate departments of psychology were sent an e-mail cover letter (PDF, 15KB) describing the purpose of the survey and were provided with a URL and instructions for downloading and completing the survey (see Appendix A). The survey was housed on a secure internet server to protect participants’ data submissions. After the initial e-mail, those who had not yet responded received two e-mail reminders, once every two weeks. A copy of the survey instrument (PDF, 20KB) is included in Appendix B.

Of the 663 departments and professional schools surveyed, 179 responded to the survey, for an overall response rate of 27%. Of the respondents, 121 departments provided usable data on the start-up packages offered to new hires in their department for 2008-2009 academic year. Data presented in this report are based on 269 individual faculty who hold doctorates, who are employed full time, and for whom relevant data were available.

This report contains sample statistics, not population estimates. That is, the data represent only the universe of graduate departments that chose to respond to the survey and therefore, inferences about the start-up packages of all graduate departments based on these survey results cannot be made.  General findings are summarized below in aggregate form. Percentages are reported where applicable, and data where cells contained an N of less than 10 new faculty hires were suppressed to protect anonymity. 

Results

One hundred seventy-nine graduate departments in psychology responded to the survey. Of those, 58 departments (32%) reported that they did not hire any new faculty for the 2008-2009 academic year. Results are based on the 269 new individual faculty hired at 121 distinct graduate departments within the U.S. and Canada for the 2008-2009 academic year. The majority of respondents were PhD-granting departments in public institutions located across various regions within the United States.  All salary and startup amounts discussed below are based on responses from U.S departments only.

The first item asked respondents to report whether the department hired any new faculty for the 2008-2009 academic year. Sixty-eight percent of departments did hire new faculty, and of those, the median number of new faculty hired was 3.0, with a standard deviation (SD) of 3.49. The minimum number of new faculty appointments for any specific department was 1, and the maximum number of new faculty appointments for any specific department was 15. The majority of departments (70%) hired between 1 and 3 new faculty members in 2008-2009.

Eighty-three percent of new faculty were hired at the rank of assistant professor. Another 11% were hired as associate professors, and 3% were hired at the rank of full professor.

Forty-eight percent of new hires were to focus on a research or other psychology subfield in their new faculty position, 39% on a health service provider (clinical, counseling, school and family) subfield or area, 11% were to look at a bio-based psychology research subfield, and 2% of new hires will be focusing on a related subfield outside the field of psychology in their new faculty position.

The majority of new hires (62%) for participating psychology departments were in the early career psychologist category. That is, they were 7 years or less from the year they earned the doctoral degree. Another 12% of new hires earned their doctorate in the year 2000 or before. Three percent indicated that the new hires’ doctorate had not yet been granted, or that data on the year doctoral degree was earned was not available.

Sixty-four percent of departments reported hiring new faculty for a 9- month contract period. Another 7% reported a 12- month contract period, and 6% a 10- month period. The median base salary for a 9- to 10- month contract period was $62,000, with an SD of $17,078. The majority of respondents (74%) had a base salary between $30,000 and $70,000. Of those, thirty percent of new hires had a base salary of $50,000-$60,000 and another 26% had a base salary of $60,000 to $70,000. Seventeen percent of new hires had a base salary between $70,001 and $80,000 and 10% of the population were paid has over $80,000.

The total value of the various start-up packages ranged from $1,500 to approximately $1,000,000. This value included summer salaries, housing adjustments, equipment, supplies, services, assistants, laboratory space, office space, professional development, and travel. The median total value of the various start-up packages was $63,715, with an SD of $173,660.

The median total value of the various start-up packages varied by psychology subfield on which the new hire will be focusing in their new position. 

The median total value of start-up packages for health service provider (HSP) subfield new appointments was $53,000, with an SD of $88,783. The minimum total value of the start-up package for HSP subfield new hires was $1,500 and the maximum was $500,000.

The median total value of start-up packages for research and other subfield new hires was $75,400, with an SD of $193,791. The minimum total value of the start-up package for research/other subfield new hires was $2,000 and the maximum was approximately $1,000,000.
 
The median total value of start-up packages for bio-based research subfield new hires was $219,814, with an SD of $223,524. The minimum total value of the start-up package for bio-based subfield new hires was $5,000 and the maximum was approximately $760,000.

Other subfield groups could not be reported out due to insufficient N sizes.

The median total value of the various start-up packages also varied by the rank at which the new faculty member was hired. 
The median total value of start-up packages for new faculty hired at the rank of “Associate Professor” was $73,000, with an SD of $244,582. The minimum total value of the start-up package for Associate Professor new hires was $1,500 and the maximum was approximately $1,000,000.

The median total value of start-up packages for new faculty hired at the rank of “Assistant Professor” was $62,736, with an SD of $161,508. The minimum total value of the start-up package for Assistant Professor new hires was $1,500 and the maximum was approximately $760,000.

Other ranks have not been reported out due to insufficient N sizes. 
 
Thirty-six percent of the start-up packages included a summer salary. Summer salaries ranged from a minimum of $1,500 to a maximum of approximately $140,000. The median summer salary was $20,733 with and SD of $23,548. Twenty-five percent of the population had a summer salary of under $7,222, 50% under $15,554, and 75% under $23,100. Twenty-eight percent of start-up packages for new hires did not include a summer salary.

Thirteen percent of new hires received a housing adjustment as part of their start-up package.

The next item asked respondents to report if the startup package included equipment (including computers, and software). Fifty-two percent of start-up packages included equipment. The amount of the equipment package ranged from under $1,000 to over $100,000. Of the packages that included equipment, 42% were between $1,000 and $10,000. Sixteen percent ranged from $10,001 to $20,000. Seven percent were in the $20,001 to $30,000 range, 7% in the $30,001 to $40,000 range and approximately 6% in the $40,001 to $50,000 range. Twenty-two percent of the equipment packages were over $50,000.  Fourteen percent of new hires did not receive a start-up package that included equipment.

Twenty-two percent of start-up packages included money for supplies.

Twelve percent of start-up packages included money for services like Assays, programming, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), and fees.
 
The next three items asked if the start-up packages included graduate assistants, research assistants, or post-doctorate assistants. Thirty-one percent of new hires received graduate assistants paid for by the department as part of their start-up package, while 13% reported that they did not. In addition to graduate assistants, 12% of the packages included 1 to 4 research assistants, while 26% of the packages did not. Only two percent of start-up packages included 1 to 3 post-doctorate assistants

Only six percent of new hires received a start-up package which included anywhere from 1 to 3 “other personnel”. Twenty-six percent of all start-up packages offered to new hires did not include “other personnel”. 

Sixteen percent of new hires were allotted funds for research participant payment. Over 50% of these had allotments of $6,000 or less. Fourteen percent were not allotted funds for research participants. Data were missing or not specified for 26% of the new hire start-up packages. All salary and startup amounts discussed below are based on responses from U.S departments only.
 
Thirty-seven percent new appointments had money for travel included in their start-up packages. The amount allotted ranged from $500 to approximately $30,000. Of the start-up packages that included money for travel, over 60% were allotted under $2,000. Over 80% of the population was allotted $6,000 or less, and 95% was allotted under $10,000. Five percent of all new hires had no money allotted for travel in their start-up. Data were missing or not specified for this item for 20% of the new hire start-up packages.

Seventeen percent of new hires were allotted funds for professional development in their start-up packages. Of these, over 65% had $2,000 or less allotted to them for professional development. Another 14% had no money allotted to them in their start-up package for professional development. Data were missing or not specified for this item for 26% of the new hire start-up packages.

The next item inquired about the amount of research space allotted (if any) to each new hire in their start-up package. The median amount of space allotted was 392 square feet, with an SD of 340 square feet.

Three percent of start-up packages included money for the purchase and/or care of animals. Twenty-four percent of new hires did not receive money in their start-up package for the purchase or care of animals. Data were missing or not specified for this question item for 24% of the new hire start-up packages.

The median number of years allotted to each new hire to spend their start-up fund was two. The minimum number of years was 0 (faculty did not receive an imposed time limit in which to spend their start-up funds) and the maximum was 6, with an SD of 1.284 years.

Appendices
Acknowledgements