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
|New Assistant Professor||$62,589|
|Natural resources and conservation|
|New Assistant Professor||$59,361|
|New Assistant Professor||$58,935|
|Area, ethnic, cultural and gender studies|
|New Assistant Professor||$57,246|
|Communication and journalism|
|New Assistant Professor||$54,424|
|Communications technologies / technicians and support services|
|New Assistant Professor||-|
|Computer and information sciences and support services|
|New Assistant Professor||$72,199|
|New Assistant Professor||$54,009|
|New Assistant Professor||$75,450|
|Engineering technologies / technicians|
|New Assistant Professor||$60,452|
|Foreign languages, literatures and linguistics|
|New Assistant Professor||$52,271|
|Family and consumer sciences|
|New Assistant Professor||$55,506|
|Legal professions and studies|
|New Assistant Professor||$92,033|
|English language and literature|
|New Assistant Professor||$51,204|
|Liberal arts and sciences|
|New Assistant Professor||$50,427|
|New Assistant Professor||$55,175|
|Biological and biomedical sciences|
|New Assistant Professor||$57,021|
|Mathematics and statistics|
|New Assistant Professor||$55,186|
|New Assistant Professor||$55,284|
|Parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies|
|New Assistant Professor||$53,189|
|Philosophy and religious studies|
|New Assistant Professor||$53,668|
|Theology and religious vocations|
|New Assistant Professor||$50,535|
|New Assistant Professor||$56,483|
|Science technologies / technicians|
|New Assistant Professor||-|
|New Assistant Professor||$54,584|
|Security and protective services|
|New Assistant Professor||$53,482|
|Public administration and social services|
|New Assistant Professor||$57,873|
|New Assistant Professor||$58,466|
|Visual and performing arts|
|New Assistant Professor||$50,762|
|Health professions and related clinical sciences|
|New Assistant Professor||$64,296|
|Business, management and marketing|
|New Assistant Professor||$95,822|
|New Assistant Professor||$51,811|