While visiting Wisconsin last week (enjoying very pleasant company and conversation), various issues came up.
For one, I was reminded (or recalled) that as a public university, University of Wisconsin-Madison salaries are available online. I can understand why salaries of elected public officials, and the people they hire, should be public information. Transparency in politics is a valuable thing.
But I don't see that professor's salaries should be public. Perhaps this is merely a personal bias; I wouldn't want MY salary to be public information.** I also don't use Facebook, so perhaps I'm just a 20th century privacy-desiring relic. Perhaps more reasonably, I don't see university faculty as political employees, and therefore think they -- as well as the university -- should enjoy the same privacy for salary information that other employers and employees enjoy.
Perhaps, however, I'm just wrong, and transparency of salary information is good for all. I'm willing to entertain that thought. Certainly I think the Taulbee survey that aggregates salary information is useful and good information, for both universities and faculty, as I think there's a shortage of accurate comparative salary information for faculty positions (as compared to other jobs), and the Taulbee survey provides an important information baseline. Is it so far to go from there to individual's salaries?
How do those of you at schools where your salary information is public information feel about this? And the rest of you?
** Although perhaps in some sense it is. I don't believe my NSF grant budgets are publicly accessible information, but at some point, I was informed by my university that a Freedom of Information Act request had been made for one of my funded proposals. (I don't know why, though I have some suppositions.) The university filed paperwork to hopefully make sure that personal information, including my salary, would be redacted.