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Tightening Picture for Faculty Pay

March 9, 2009

The rate of increase in faculty salaries is down this year – and that is evident even in data collected before many colleges started to announce furloughs and, in some cases, salary cuts. The median increase for faculty members at four-year colleges and universities for 2008-9 was 3.7 percent, according to a study being released today by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

The survey showed larger increases for faculty members at private institutions and for the senior faculty ranks.

Researchers at CUPA-HR and other organizations are in a bind with data this year because salary information is typically collected in early fall, by which time, in most years, the figures are final. In this atypical year, many colleges are announcing furloughs (which have the impact of cutting take-home pay for professors) and other budget cuts, and these changes are not reflected in the data. CUPA-HR also does a separate study for community college faculty members, which will be released later.

The data from CUPA-HR so far this year suggest that professors are faring worse than administrators. Last month, the association released an analysis finding that senior administrators saw their median salary increase by 4.0 percent this year, the same percentage increase as last year.

While the CUPA-HR data include some breakdowns by sector and discipline -- showing this year, as in past years, large gaps among disciplines -- the figures do not include averages for institutions. The American Association of University Professors releases institutional data in its survey on faculty salaries, expected to be released next month. John W. Curtis, director of research and public policy for AAUP, said that while numbers are not final, he is also expecting that the final report will see a decline in the size of annual increases – even without factoring in the cuts of the last few months.

The faculty salary figures released today show that, at least before the worst of the budget cuts started to get announced, private colleges' increases for this academic year were stronger than those at public institutions. Only two years ago, the median increase at publics outpaced privates.

Median Faculty Salary Increases -- Public and Private

  Public Private
2008-9 3.5% 4.0%
2007-8 3.9% 4.0%
2006-7 3.9% 3.7%

In terms of faculty rank, the data show a much stronger year for senior professors than junior professors or those just starting out in the profession.

Median Faculty Salary Increases by Rank and Sector, 2008-9

Rank Percentage Change
Professor  
--All 3.9%
--Private 4.0%
--Public 3.7%
Associate professor  
--All 3.8%
--Private 4.0%
--Public 3.6%
Assistant professor  
--All 3.6%
--Private 3.9%
--Public 3.3%
New assistant professor  
--All 3.2%
--Private 3.4%
--Public 3.2%
Instructor  
--All 3.4%
--Private 3.7%
--Public 3.0%

Gaps in disciplinary pay are not new to higher education, and the CUPA-HR data suggest that the gaps between those in some professional schools and everyone else remain large, and that some humanities disciplines remain stuck with salaries much lower than counterparts across the quad. The median salary for a full professor of English, for example ($79,854, across sectors), is less than the median for an assistant professor of business ($84,025). Instructors in English or in philosophy have median salaries below $40,000 at public institutions, while instructors in law and legal studies earn over $60,000 at public institutions.

Across ranks and sectors, the highest pay went to professors in legal professions, engineering and business. On the other end of the spectrum, there were differences among sectors and ranks. For private institutions across ranks, communications technologies was at the bottom. For public institutions, English is at the bottom. The bottom three, across sectors, in the lowest pay category of instructors were (from the low end) English, philosophy and history.

Median Faculty Salaries for Selected Disciplines, by Rank, 2008-9

Agriculture
--Professor $90,540
--Associate professor $71,731
--Assistant professor $60,553
--New assistant professor $60,238
--Instructor $43,200
Architecture
--Professor $95,192
--Associate Professor $73,753
--Assistant Professor $60,596
--New Assistant Professor $59,469
--Instructor $46,874
Area, ethnic, cultural and gender studies
--Professor $96,842
--Associate Professor $71,772
--Assistant Professor $57,705
--New Assistant Professor $56,079
--Instructor $44,497
Biological and biomedical sciences  
--Professor $90,395
--Associate Professor $67,989
--Assistant Professor $57,212
--New Assistant Professor $55,730
--Instructor $43,739
Business  
--Professor $108,230
--Associate Professor $90,912
--Assistant Professor $84,025
--New Assistant Professor $92,315
--Instructor $55,708
Communication and journalism
--Professor $84,123
--Associate Professor $64,266
--Assistant Professor $53,438
--New Assistant Professor $52,762
--Instructor $43,986
Communications technologies/technicians
--Professor $81,683
--Associate Professor $63,827
--Assistant Professor $53,680
--New Assistant Professor $49,155
--Instructor $47,473
Computer and information sciences
--Professor $100,364
--Associate Professor $81,362
--Assistant Professor $70,690
--New Assistant Professor $71,857
--Instructor $51,652
Education
--Professor $82,226
--Associate Professor $64,669
--Assistant Professor $54,571
--New Assistant Professor $53,304
--Instructor $45,449
Engineering
--Professor $112,347
--Associate Professor $85,647
--Assistant Professor $75,227
--New Assistant Professor $74,224
--Instructor $55,599
Engineering technologies/technicians
--Professor $87,276
--Associate Professor $71,120
--Assistant Professor $62,172
--New Assistant Professor $60,776
--Instructor $48,286
English  
--Professor $79,854
--Associate professor $61,679
--Assistant professor $51,151
--New assistant professor $50,272
--Instructor $40,555
Family and consumer sciences  
--Professor $85,904
--Associate professor $66,115
--Assistant professor $55,954
--New Assistant professor $54,839
--Instructor $43,816
Foreign languages, literatures and linguistics
--Professor $85,524
--Associate Professor $65,151
--Assistant Professor $53,566
--New Assistant Professor $51,166
--Instructor $42,080
Health professions  
--Professor $92,875
--Associate Professor $73,510
--Assistant Professor $61,851
--New Assistant Professor $61,377
--Instructor $51,980
History  
--Professor $81,916
--Associate Professor $62,109
--Assistant Professor $51,773
--New Assistant Professor $50,649
--Instructor $41,348
Legal professions and studies
--Professor $135,893
--Associate Professor $100,275
--Assistant Professor $82,863
--New Assistant Professor $86,463
--Instructor $65,023
Liberal arts, humanities and general studies
--Professor $82,094
--Associate Professor $63,748
--Assistant Professor $51,190
--New Assistant Professor $52,962
--Instructor $44,122
Library science
--Professor $86,416
--Associate Professor $65,967
--Assistant Professor $53,596
--New Assistant Professor $53,598
--Instructor $46,925
Mathematics and statistics
--Professor $84,366
--Associate Professor $65,900
--Assistant Professor $55,598
--New Assistant Professor $55,265
--Instructor $42,437
Multi-interdisciplinary studies
--Professor $91,458
--Associate Professor $68,990
--Assistant Professor $57,100
--New Assistant Professor $55,916
--Instructor $44,249
Natural resources  
--Professor $90,509
--Associate Professor $69,582
--Assistant Professor $57,647
--New Assistant Professor $57,823
--Instructor $45,278
Parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies
--Professor $79,959
--Associate Professor $64,357
--Assistant Professor $52,808
--New Assistant Professor $53,302
--Instructor $43,389
Philosophy and religious studies
--Professor $84,366
--Associate Professor $63,589
--Assistant Professor $52,669
--New Assistant Professor $52,080
--Instructor $41,345
Physical sciences
--Professor $88,229
--Associate Professor $66,823
--Assistant Professor $56,462
--New Assistant Professor $55,530
--Instructor $42,646
Psychology
--Professor $83,785
--Associate Professor $64,384
--Assistant Professor $54,547
--New Assistant Professor $54,009
--Instructor $44,545
Public administration and social service professions  
--Professor $89,579
--Associate Professor $68,492
--Assistant Professor $56,637
--New Assistant Professor $56,504
--Instructor $46,392
Science technologies/technicians  
--Professor $102,443
--Associate Professor $68,997
--Assistant Professor $57,470
--New Assistant Professor n/a
--Instructor n/a
Security and protective services
--Professor $85,469
--Associate Professor $65,516
--Assistant Professor $53,995
--New Assistant Professor $53,914
--Instructor $45,143
Social sciences
--Professor $88,906
--Associate Professor $68,152
--Assistant Professor $57,301
--New Assistant Professor $57,454
--Instructor $45,083
Theology and religious vocations  
--Professor $71,423
--Associate Professor $58,887
--Assistant Professor $51,105
--New Assistant Professor $48,519
--Instructor $43,871
Visual and performing arts
--Professor $78,848
--Associate Professor $62,127
--Assistant Professor $51,100
--New Assistant Professor $49,484
--Instructor $42,694

 

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