Faculty Salaries Stay Flat

AAUP study finds small gains in faculty salaries, offset by inflation, for the third year in a row. View lists of the colleges with the highest salaries. Plus our exclusive database of the AAUP data.

April 10, 2019
 
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Salaries for full-time faculty members are 2 percent higher this academic year than last, according to new data from the American Association of University Professors Faculty Compensation Survey.

Adjusted for 1.9 percent inflation, however, faculty salaries “barely budged,” AAUP says in a preliminary analysis of those data. That’s been the case for the last three years. Inside Higher Ed's database, at the above link, is searchable by institutions and years.

These findings are similar to those in a recent report from CUPA-HR saying that median faculty salaries rose about 1.7 percent this year over last, not adjusted for inflation.

CUPA-HR’s anonymized data concerned 847 institutions. AAUP collects data by college and university -- more than 950 of them this year. The new data cover more than 380,000 full-time professors, in addition to senior administrators and many part-time faculty members.

Part-Time Pay and the Gender Pay Gap

Exclusive AAUP Database
Click here to view 2018-19 faculty
pay data for more than 950 colleges.
For the first time, it includes data
for adjunct instructors.

AAUP’s compensation report has included data on part-time faculty pay since 2015-16. This year, though, the association collected information on part-timers’ pay per course section taught (versus pay per adjunct, irrespective of teaching load). More than 330 colleges and universities provided data on part-time faculty pay in the 2017-18 academic year for this year’s survey, making it one of the most comprehensive sources on the topic.

Average per-course pay for an adjunct teaching a three-credit course was $3,984, but figures spanned a “huge range,” according to AAUP. The lowest average rates of pay were reported by religiously affiliated private baccalaureate colleges. Religiously affiliated private doctoral universities paid the most, at $5,858.

Gwendolyn Bradley, AAUP spokesperson, underscored how difficult it is to collect representative data on adjunct pay. But the idea behind the association’s new approach “is to make part-time pay more transparent, which will hopefully spur continued advocacy and improved working conditions,” she said.

Other key survey findings highlight academe’s persistent gender pay gap. On average, women will be paid 82 percent of men’s salaries during 2018-19. The AAUP mainly attributes this to an unequal distribution of employment between men and women in terms of institution type and faculty rank.

Based on the available institution-level data, Bradley said, "We can only say for certain that women are less well represented at the research universities that pay the highest salaries, and they also continue to be underrepresented at the full professor rank, which pays the highest salaries, outside of community colleges." (CUPA-HR also found that the pay gap narrowed among community college faculties, not just in terms of gender but also ethnicity.)

The AAUP has been tracking this gap since the mid-1970s, Bradley added, “and the progress toward equity has been exceedingly slow.”

Faculty Pay and Compensation Vary Widely

In general, full-time salaries vary by institution type and faculty rank. The average salary for a full professor at a private independent doctoral university is nearly $196,000, for example. Meanwhile, an assistant professor at a religiously affiliated baccalaureate institution will make about $61,000 this year, on average.

The yearly increase in overall average full-time salary was slightly higher at private colleges and universities (2.2 percent) than public institutions (1.8 percent), the AAUP also notes.

Bradley said there are “great disparities” in funding and pay across institutional profiles, and that research work “tends to be better remunerated than teaching.” She also noted that not all professors included in the full-time count are on the tenure track, so the comparison is not exact.

Administrator vs. Faculty Pay, and More to Come

AAUP also is interested in the disparities between professor and administrator pay. The association’s preliminary analysis says that salaries for college and university presidents “continue to outpace those for faculty,” with presidents paid three to four times more than even the most senior faculty members at their institutions, on average.

The median salary for a college president this year ranged from just over $200,000 at public community colleges to nearly $700,000 at private independent doctoral universities, AAUP found.

The association plans on a releasing a more detailed analysis of its data next month. Asked what to expect, Bradley said that the effects of the recession didn’t really impact faculty pay until the 2009-10 academic year. So the forthcoming report will examine changes over the last decade, comparing full-time faculty pay for 2008-09 with current 2018-19 data.

Other details to come include those on changes the composition of the full-time faculty, both in terms of tenure-track status and women’s representation, Bradley said. More analysis of the part-time faculty data is expected, too.

Who Earns Most, Where

Beyond the overall trends highlighted in AAUP’s analysis, readers each year are curious to know which institutions pay their professors the most. As always, location matters. Professors on both coasts are paid consistently more than their colleagues elsewhere.

By institution, the top 10 full professor salary list is similar to last year’s. Columbia and Stanford Universities retained the top two spots, but Princeton and Harvard Universities flip-flopped Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. Yale University moved up two spots, to No. 7, bumping the University of Pennsylvania down to No. 8.

Top Salaries for Full Professors at Private Universities, 2018-19 (Average)

1

Columbia University

$259,700

2

Stanford University

$256,100

3

Princeton University

$248,000

4

Harvard University

$244,300

5

University of Chicago

$241,900

6

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

$232,200

7

Yale University

$230,900

8

University of Pennsylvania

$223,600

9

New York University

$218,300

10

Northwestern University

$215,200

As in years past, the University of California system claimed many of the top 10 public institution spots for full professor salaries, with the Los Angeles and Berkeley campuses remaining Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. UC’s Santa Barbara campus surged from No. 6 to No. 3 this year over last, displacing the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The University of Texas at Austin entered the list at No. 9, effectively booting off the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Top Salaries for Full Professors at Public Universities, 2018-19 (Average)

1

University of California, Los Angeles

$214,000

2

University of California, Berkeley

$201,700

3

University of California, Santa Barbara

$187,500

4

New Jersey Institute of Technology

$186,700

5

Rutgers University at Newark

$183,000

6

University of Virginia

$182,600

7

University of California, San Diego

$178,900

8

University of California, Irvine

$178,100

9

University of Texas at Austin

$175,700

10

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

$175,000

Liberal arts colleges that pay their full professors the most were almost unchanged year over year. Wellesley and Pomona Colleges switched places, as did Wesleyan and Swarthmore Colleges. Bowdoin College entered at No. 9.

Top Salaries for Full Professors at Liberal Arts Colleges, 2018-19 (Average)

1

Barnard College

$177,700

2

Claremont McKenna College

$171,600

3

Wellesley College

$160,400

4

Pomona College

$159,300

5

Wesleyan University

$155,800

6

Swarthmore College

$155,200

7

Amherst College

$153,200

8

Colgate University

$151,500

9

Bowdoin College

$149,200

10

Williams College

$147,900

Among top salaries for assistant professors, Stanford jumped to No. 1 this year, from No. 3, dethroning Harvard. Babson College dropped one spot, to No. 2. The California Institute of Technology also fell down the list, from No. 3 to No. 5 year over year. Bentley and Bryant Universities fell off the list, as Duke and Georgetown Universities entered at Nos. 9 and 10, respectively.

Top 10 Colleges With Six-Figure Salaries for Assistant Professors, 2018-19 (Average)

1

Stanford University

$137,000

2

Harvard University

$134,600

3

Babson College

$133,000

4

University of Pennsylvania

$132,600

5

California Institute of Technology

$132,500

6

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

$132,100

7

Columbia University

$130,200

8

University of Chicago

$128,500

9

Duke University

$121,900

10

Georgetown University

$120,300

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