Faculty Salaries Up 1.7%

Hottest field for new faculty hires over the past year is health professions, as some 1,410 new assistant professors picked up jobs, according to new data from CUPA-HR.

April 3, 2019

Full-time faculty members saw an overall median salary increase of about 1.7 percent over the past year, according to the "2019 CUPA-HR Faculty in Higher Education Report." Pay for full-timers off the tenure track increased by 1.8 percent. Tenured and tenure-track professors saw a 1.6 percent pay bump.

The American Association of University Professors will release its annual faculty salary survey data later this month. (Inside Higher Ed is the exclusive publisher of AAUP’s full salary database.) Early AAUP data indicate that the average year-over-year increase for full-time faculty salaries is slightly higher than what CUPA-HR found. AAUP’s data pertain to 952 colleges and universities, including community colleges. Unlike CUPA-HR's data, which is anonymized, AAUP's report includes professor pay by institution.

The “hottest” field for new faculty hires over the past year, by CUPA-HR’s accounting, is health professions. Some 1,410 new assistant professors picked up jobs. Health professions also saw the highest pay for non-tenure-track professors. Disciplines with the fastest rate of growth in new assistant professor hires include architecture (73 percent) and natural resources and conservation (72 percent).

CUPA-HR’s report also includes a breakdown of representation and pay equity for women and underrepresented minorities. Consistent with other research on the topic, representation varies by field and decreases with faculty rank.

Women make up 47 percent of the faculty across academe, but 58 percent of department chairs are men. Similarly, minorities are 21 percent of the faculty, but 85 percent of department chairs are white.

This is the first year that CUPA-HR included both two- and four-year institutions in the same survey, as many associate degree-granting institutions reportedly wanted to benchmark their professors’ pay by discipline and against other kinds of institutions.

Due in part to that change, CUPA-HR found that the representation and pay equity for both women and minorities are highest in associate degree-granting institutions.

Across institution types, community colleges have the largest percentage of part-time faculty, at 69 percent. Doctoral institutions have the largest share of full-time faculty, at 68 percent. Ph.D.-granting universities also have the highest share of non-tenure-track teaching faculty, at 19 percent.

This was also the first year that CUPA-HR asked about professors’ highest degrees attained. It found that professors with terminal degrees make up about four-fifths of all full-time professors across baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral institutions and earn “substantially more” than their colleagues with master’s degrees.

Nearly nine in 10 tenure-line professors have a doctorate, compared to five in 10 non-tenure-track teaching faculty members.

Adjunct instructors at doctoral institutions earn the most among part-timers, some $1,312 per credit hour.

CUPA-HR’s report is based on survey responses on 258,731 faculty positions from 847 institutions. Just under 300 of those provided aggregate data for adjuncts, in addition to data on full-time professors.


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