Private Gains, Public Stagnation
The median base salary increase for faculty members in 2010-11 was 1.1 percent, with increases of 0.0 percent at four-year public institutions and 2.0 percent at private institutions, according to a report being released today by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
For public institutions, this is the second year in a row where the median increase is no increase at all. The median increase for faculty members at private institutions last year was 0.1 percent, so that sector is seeing a real rebound this year. In 2008-9, private institutions also outpaced publics in the size of the median increase in faculty salaries -- 4.0 percent to 3.5 percent.
CUPA's study is based on a survey of the salaries of faculty members at 497 private institutions and 315 public institutions -- none of which are community colleges. During the year studied, inflation increased by 1.6 percent, so while private college faculty members, on average, saw a modest gain on top of the cost of living, public college and university faculty members lost ground in real terms.
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The patterns generally were consistent across faculty ranks -- with the median increase for faculty members hovering around 2.0 percent for those at privates and nothing for those at publics. The only exception was for new assistant professors, where the median gain for those at public institutions was 1.4 percent and the median gain at private institutions was 1.0 percent. (The trend is also consistent for the salaries of senior administrators. CUPA released data last month showing that the median base salary increase for senior administrators this academic year is 1.4 percent, but that the median salary for public institutions showed no increase, while private institutions saw an increase of 2.0 percent.)
When examined by sector, the faculty data show that in 2006-7 and 2007-8, the median gains were roughly similar for public and private institutions, but that the privates have fared better ever since.
Percentage Increases in Faculty Salaries, by Sector
The CUPA faculty salary study is one of two major analyses published each year about what professors are paid. The other -- by the American Association of University Professors -- is not due out for another month. John W. Curtis, director of research and public policy for the AAUP, said that he expected his association's study to find trends similar to those identified by CUPA.
"We're seeing a continuation of the historically low salary levels we found last year," he said. "And we are also seeing a continued widening of the salary disadvantage for faculty in the public sector." Curtis noted the irony of the latter finding at a time that many politicians have been talking about "overpaid public-sector employees." Curtis said that this idea "doesn't hold for faculty members any more than it does for other public employees."
A major difference between the CUPA and AAUP studies is that the former includes breakdowns by discipline while the latter features breakdowns by institution. This year, as in past years, the CUPA analysis found wide variations in salary levels, at all ranks, by discipline. Faculty members in professional fields such as law and business generally do much better than those in the humanities.
For example, the average salary for a new assistant professor in business and management at a public institution is $97,381. New assistant professors in English at public institutions would see an average of $51,944 and in history of $51,712.
Following is a table for disciplines in the study.
Average Faculty Salaries by Discipline and Rank, 2010-11
|Agriculture and related sciences|
|New Assistant Professor||$63,343|
|Natural resources and conservation|
|New Assistant Professor||$56,070|
|New Assistant Professor||$57,510|
|Area, ethnic, cultural and gender studies|
|New Assistant Professor||$58,827|
|Communication and journalism|
|New Assistant Professor||$53,524|
|Communications technologies and technicians|
|New Assistant Professor||$61,840|
|Computer and information sciences and support services|
|New Assistant Professor||$72,199|
|New Assistant Professor||$55,379|
|New Assistant Professor||$76,518|
|Engineering technologies / technicians|
|New Assistant Professor||$62,516|
|Foreign languages, literatures and linguistics|
|New Assistant Professor||$52,968|
|Family and consumer sciences|
|New Assistant Professor||$56,259|
|Legal professions and studies|
|New Assistant Professor||$91,828|
|English language and literature|
|New Assistant Professor||$51,786|
|Liberal arts and sciences / general studies and humanities|
|New Assistant Professor||$51,568|
|New Assistant Professor||$56,427|
|Biological and biomedical sciences|
|New Assistant Professor||$57,272|
|Mathematics and statistics|
|New Assistant Professor||$56,647|
|New Assistant Professor||$56,902|
|Parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies|
|New Assistant Professor||$54,444|
|Philosophy and religious studies|
|New Assistant Professor||$52,270|
|Theology and religious vocations|
|New Assistant Professor||$50,620|
|New Assistant Professor||$57,607|
|New Assistant Professor||$54,859|
|Security and protective services|
|New Assistant Professor||$53,769|
|Public administration and social service professions|
|New Assistant Professor||$58,230|
|New Assistant Professor||$58,946|
|Visual and performing arts|
|New Assistant Professor||$50,618|
|Health professions and related clinical sciences|
|New Assistant Professor||$64,943|
|Business, management and marketing|
|New Assistant Professor||$93,926|
|New Assistant Professor||$52,470|
Full reports may be ordered from the association.
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