Salaries Fell for 32.6% of Faculty

March 8, 2010

The median salary change for faculty members in 2009-10 was 0 percent -- and for many professors, no change would have been better than the decreases they experienced.

The figures on faculty salaries come from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, which is today releasing its annual report on faculty salaries. The CUPA-HR report focuses on overall trends and disciplinary averages. The American Association of University Professors, which is due to issue its report next month, also releases institution-by-institution information.

The only consolation that the CUPA-HR report offers faculty members is that, because inflation was negative for the year, those whose salaries didn't change at all came out slightly ahead in spending power (at least in theory). Here are some highlights of the CUPA-HR findings:

  • The percentage of faculty members receiving no salary increase this year is 21.2 percent, while 32.6 percent had their salaries reduced, with a median decrease (among those who saw a decrease) of 3 percent.
  • Faculty members at private doctorate-granting institutions were the only ones to see a real increase in average salary -- 1.7 percent.
  • The 32.6 percent figure for faculty seeing their salaries reduced is significantly larger than the 8.3 percent decline reported in CUPA-HR's survey of administrators' salaries. However, the median decrease for faculty members (3 percent) was about half the size of the median decrease for those administrators who saw a decline (6 percent).
  • The median increase for those faculty members who received a raise was 3 percent, the same as for administrators who received a raise this year.
  • Disciplinary gaps remain significant. The disciplines with the top salary medians (across ranks, public and private) are law, business and engineering. At the assistant professor level, those three fields have median salaries of between $75,000 and $86,000. (Medical school professors' generally high salaries are not analyzed separately but are part of a broader "health professions" category.) The three lowest fields for assistant professor are visual and performing arts, English language and literature and history -- and those three have median salaries of between $51,000 and $52,000.

Andy Brantley, president and CEO of CUPA-HR, issued a statement on the figures. "We all know that the economy has had a dramatic impact on higher education and the higher education workforce, but to see that a third of faculty in the survey have experienced salary reductions this year is very troubling,” he said. “My hope is that college and university presidents and chief academic officers are spending time with faculty to help them understand the budget challenges and that they are engaging faculty in discussions and decision-making regarding the future of our higher ed institutions. I also hope that campus leaders are making the time to celebrate significant faculty achievements and contributions.”

John W. Curtis, who directs the research for the AAUP salary study, said that his association's research was "in the ballpark" of the figures being released by CUPA-HR. Currently, he said he expects that the AAUP will report the lowest year-to-year change in the 50-year history of its study.

Of particular concern, Curtis said, is the trend of higher education lagging the rest of the economy, both in the start and end of a downturn. For most faculty members, "this probably is not the end of it," he said.

Following are the CUPA-HR averages by discipline and rank.

Average Faculty Salaries, 2009-10

Agriculture
Professor $90,053
Associate Professor $71,583
Assistant Professor $61,645
New Assistant Professor $62,589
Instructor $45,123
Natural resources and conservation
Professor $91,420
Associate Professor $68,653
Assistant Professor $58,170
New Assistant Professor $59,361
Instructor $47,029
Architecture
Professor $95,723
Associate Professor $73,319
Assistant Professor $60,181
New Assistant Professor $58,935
Instructor $50,040
Area, ethnic, cultural and gender studies
Professor $98,375
Associate Professor $73,570
Assistant Professor $58,198
New Assistant Professor $57,246
Instructor $46,048
Communication and journalism
Professor $83,656
Associate Professor $65,006
Assistant Professor $53,599
New Assistant Professor $54,424
Instructor $44,616
Communications technologies / technicians and support services
Professor $81,269
Associate Professor $63,907
Assistant Professor $56,041
New Assistant Professor -
Instructor $52,089
Computer and information sciences and support services
Professor $101,219
Associate Professor $82,230
Assistant Professor $70,791
New Assistant Professor $72,199
Instructor $51,854
Education
Professor $82,919
Associate Professor $65,182
Assistant Professor $54,953
New Assistant Professor $54,009
Instructor $45,553
Engineering
Professor $112,679
Associate Professor $86,031
Assistant Professor $75,226
New Assistant Professor $75,450
Instructor $56,974
Engineering technologies / technicians
Professor $87,592
Associate Professor $71,688
Assistant Professor $62,439
New Assistant Professor $60,452
Instructor $48,995
Foreign languages, literatures and linguistics
Professor $85,620
Associate Professor $65,129
Assistant Professor $53,529
New Assistant Professor $52,271
Instructor $42,577
Family and consumer sciences
Professor $87,638
Associate Professor $66,526
Assistant Professor $56,724
New Assistant Professor $55,506
Instructor $44,869
Legal professions and studies
Professor $134,146
Associate Professor $101,045
Assistant Professor $83,991
New Assistant Professor $92,033
Instructor $64,292
English language and literature
Professor $79,372
Associate Professor $61,684
Assistant Professor $51,502
New Assistant Professor $51,204
Instructor $40,519
Liberal arts and sciences
Professor $82,541
Associate Professor $62,700
Assistant Professor $52,279
New Assistant Professor $50,427
Instructor $42,429
Library science
Professor $87,336
Associate Professor $67,716
Assistant Professor $54,741
New Assistant Professor $55,175
Instructor $46,191
Biological and biomedical sciences
Professor $91,184
Associate Professor $68,294
Assistant Professor $57,545
New Assistant Professor $57,021
Instructor $44,193
Mathematics and statistics
Professor $84,324
Associate Professor $66,012
Assistant Professor $55,765
New Assistant Professor $55,186
Instructor $42,782
Multidisciplinary studies
Professor $91,380
Associate Professor $69,001
Assistant Professor $57,503
New Assistant Professor $55,284
Instructor $44,615
Parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies
Professor $80,513
Associate Professor $64,126
Assistant Professor $53,246
New Assistant Professor $53,189
Instructor $43,523
Philosophy and religious studies
Professor $84,621
Associate Professor $63,460
Assistant Professor $53,018
New Assistant Professor $53,668
Instructor $43,160
Theology and religious vocations
Professor $71,473
Associate Professor $59,979
Assistant Professor $51,605
New Assistant Professor $50,535
Instructor $42,752
Physical sciences
Professor $88,147
Associate Professor $66,898
Assistant Professor $56,720
New Assistant Professor $56,483
Instructor $43,084
Science technologies / technicians
Professor -
Associate Professor $75,577
Assistant Professor $63,100
New Assistant Professor -
Instructor $46,622
Psychology
Professor $83,840
Associate Professor $64,461
Assistant Professor $54,850
New Assistant Professor $54,584
Instructor $43,493
Security and protective services
Professor $84,569
Associate Professor $66,374
Assistant Professor $54,538
New Assistant Professor $53,482
Instructor $44,230
Public administration and social services
Professor $89,342
Associate Professor $68,896
Assistant Professor $56,572
New Assistant Professor $57,873
Instructor $47,669
Social sciences
Professor $89,351
Associate Professor $68,363
Assistant Professor $57,901
New Assistant Professor $58,466
Instructor 445,854
Air transportation
Professor $99,803
Associate Professor $71,605
Assistant Professor $59,434
Instructor $45,545
Visual and performing arts
Professor $79,098
Associate Professor $62,197
Assistant Professor $51,480
New Assistant Professor $50,762
Instructor $43,113
Health professions and related clinical sciences
Professor $94,610
Associate Professor $74,162
Assistant Professor $62,704
New Assistant Professor $64,296
Instructor $52,279
Business, management and marketing
Professor $109,919
Associate Professor $92,573
Assistant Professor $85,996
New Assistant Professor $95,822
Instructor $57,192
History
Professor $82,354
Associate Professor $62,630
Assistant Professor $52,047
New Assistant Professor $51,811
Instructor $42,297

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