• September 3, 2015

One-Third of Faculty Members See Dip in Their Salaries

Nearly a third of all college faculty members, on average, took a pay cut during 2009-10, and overall faculty pay showed no salary increase, according to a report released this week. The results are in contrast to those in the recent past, when professors' pay increased nearly 4 percent per year.

The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, which conducts the annual survey, says only faculty members at private doctoral institutions saw a salary increase of any significance, and it was about 1.7 percent, on average.

The association collected data for more than 200,000 faculty members and 4,000 researchers for the period September 2009 to January 2010. Overall faculty pay showed no growth since last year, compared with average growth of 3.7 percent in 2008-9 and 4 percent in 2007-8.

For faculty members who took pay cuts, the average decline was 3 percent, the report says. For those who did receive raises, the average increase was 3 percent.

Andy Brantley, chief executive of CUPA-HR, said that because of the recession, the flatness in overall salaries was to be expected. He was surprised, however, by the high percentage of faculty members who saw their pay reduced.

"We know all these factors are happening in higher education, and we did know some faculty would have been included," Mr. Brantley said. "What makes this troubling for us is that the faculty are obviously the key component to our continued success in preparing students not only in lives of leading and serving, but also ensuring the long-term economic stability of the U.S. economy."

Recent data gathered by the American Association of University Professors match the slump in faculty salaries in the new report, said John W. Curtis, the AAUP's director of research and public policy. Higher education tends to feel the effects of a sluggish economy after other industries do, and recovery takes longer, he said, meaning that faculty members will feel a continued strain in the next few years.

University officials should seek faculty input on pay cuts, and state officials must chose priorities correctly, Mr. Curtis said. "I do think we're at a pretty critical juncture at looking at higher education as a public good and as a resource that contributes something to society. Unfortunately, a lot of governors and legislators are looking at higher education as only an expense."

For the CUPA-HR study, the highest-paid disciplines at all professorial ranks were law, at $102,101; business, at $91,886; and engineering, at $90,208. Those are the same three top-ranked disciplines as last year.

Also similar to last year were the disciplines with the lowest average salaries: English, at $60,850; parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies, at $61,709; and visual and performing arts, at $61,898.

The report can be ordered online (http://www.cupahr.org).


1. craig45202 - March 08, 2010 at 09:38 am

"The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, which conducts the annual survey, says ONLY faculty members at private doctoral institutions saw a salary increase of any significance, and it was about 1.7 percent, on average."

Please do some fact check.

e.g., AAUP faculty members at the University of Cincinnati receive a 4.5% salary increase in 2009-2010 fiscal year. It is a public university.

2. jlaster - March 08, 2010 at 10:09 am

That 1.7 percent figure refers to increase in each category of professors' rank. -Jill Laster

3. craig45202 - March 08, 2010 at 10:36 am

Jill, could you share any information as how you came up with the figure? What sample size, method of data collection, and method of calculation? Thanks!

4. jlaster - March 08, 2010 at 10:44 am

Sure! Here's a good description of methodology and data of the survey:http://www.cupahr.org/surveys/files/salary0910/NFSS10ExecutiveSummary.pdf and a short version: http://www.cupahr.org/newsroom/news_template.aspx?id=5862. If you have any more questions, just send me an e-mail (jill.laster@chronicle.com). -Jill

5. lcrandal - March 08, 2010 at 10:45 am

craig45202 - One Swallow doth not make a Summer.
[1659 J. Howell Proverbs (English) 11]

I think you misread the sentence. It does not say "there were no public universities at which faculty received increases." However, it might have been clearer to say that the only TYPE of university where faculty saw salary inceases of any significance was the private doctoral category." I'm sure that increases at places like Cincinnati were offset by cuts and furloughs at other public universities, so on average, there were no increases for public university faculty.

6. johntoradze - March 08, 2010 at 11:49 am

Deflation of the nation's currency...

7. bizdean - March 08, 2010 at 06:12 pm

"One-Third of Faculty Members See Dip in Their Salaries." What nice symmetry: I got a one-third reduction in my salary.

8. abichel - March 08, 2010 at 09:10 pm

All of you could make more money if you would "lower" yourselves to worrk for a percentage of what you brought in. All others need not apply. College teaching is not the same as college earnings. Smarten up.

9. bry3bob - March 09, 2010 at 11:27 am

"More than a third of all college faculty members took a pay cut during 2009-10"

The actual number stated in the report is 32.6%, so just under one-third.

10. tonycontento - March 10, 2010 at 11:02 am

Many state universities are implementing mandatory furloughs. However, if you are only on a 9-month contract, and you are teaching for 8 of those months, then when are you supposed to take a day off (or 12 days off)? It's either a pay cut or a loss of vacation days.

11. jaysanderson - March 13, 2010 at 01:07 am

Sorry if I don't join in the detailed survey analysis, my pay was cut (5%), and it hurt my family. Combined with suspension of all retirement contributions and large increases in insurance premiums and copays, both my wife and I are now working second jobs to make up the difference. Things are tough now, but our treasurer has privately indicated that another pay cut and layoffs are forthcoming.

12. chronicle_moderators - April 06, 2010 at 05:37 pm

Thanks to bry3bob (No. 9, above) for pointing out the error. That has now been corrected.

Andrew Mytelka
News Editor
The Chronicle

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