Program’s good reputation doesn’t necessarily translate into higher salaries

University graduate student Julie Zimmerman said she came to the University because of its diverse research projects and resources.

Zimmerman, who studies fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology, said she is finishing the last year of her doctoral degree at the University.

Aside from her studies, Zimmerman teaches a couple courses within the fisheries and wildlife department.

But her paychecks are low compared with her colleagues at the University. Zimmerman makes $16,000 a year as a research fellow – the lowest for any faculty or staff member at the University.

Mary Luther, University director of compensation, said faculty pay differs by specialty and that it is consistent across the nation.

“If a professor in law earns more than a professor in history, it is based on the competition in the market of expertise,” she said.

Ira Adelman, former head of the fisheries and wildlife department, said that on average, the faculty members within that department earn lower salaries compared with other departments.

But the fisheries and wildlife department is one of the most outstanding programs of its kind in the nation, he said.

“(It has) some of the best libraries and resources available,” Adelman said.

Those resources are part of what attracted Zimmerman to the University, she said.

Zimmerman is on a fellowship and has taught and researched at the University since September 2001.

She received a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in ecology from Colorado State University.

Zimmerman is also involved in the American Fisheries Society and the North American Biological Society.

In the classroom, Zimmerman said, she focuses on global agriculture conservation and human impacts on marine freshwater ecosystems.

In the field, she works with different fisheries and tests the effects of introducing non-native species to native species.

Zimmerman said she has worked on many research projects that deal with trout, such as their diet and growth before and after introducing non-native fish to their habitat.

“In the field, I get to work with fish and flush out their innards, and study bugs,” she said.

She said most people cannot say they go to work and do what she does.

Adelman said salaries don’t really matter to faculty members.

“I don’t think faculty members worry too much about their salaries as long as they are satisfied with their work environment,” he said.