Professors’ Salary Hikes Set to Cease
Washington University faculty members, along with university faculty members across the nation, can expect their rate of salary increase over the next few years to slow down.
According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which recently released its yearly faculty salary report, faculty salaries across the nation increased by 3.5 percent. However, the 2000-2001 inflation rate of 3.4 percent left salaries with only a 0.1 percent increase.
Despite the rise in salaries this year, the anticipated economic slowdown will most likely continue to decrease salary raises.
“In general, one would expect faculty salary increases, like all other salaries, to be affected by the inflation rate. In recent years, U.S. inflation has been running at very low levels by historical standards-two to three percent. Some people argue that even these low levels somewhat overstate the true amount of inflation in the economy,” said Stephen Fazzari, chair of the economics department.
The AAUP cited data from the 1999 Occupational Employment Statistics Survey indicating that the average professor earns approximately 26 percent ($15,299) less than the average college-educated professional.
Despite these rather discouraging statistics, WU faculty members are still among the top-paid professors nationwide.
The AAUP’s annual report said that the average pay for a full-time faculty member in 2000-2001 grew from $58,350 to just over $60,000 a year, beating inflation.
The Chronicle of Higher Education cited WU as number 23 on a list of 44 top-paying institutions where professors earn more than $100,000 a year. The Chronicle reported that WU professors earn an average of $106,400, topping schools such as University of Notre Dame, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Carnegie Mellon University, and Dartmouth College.
According to Barbara Feiner, vice chancellor for finance and CFO, associate professors at WU earn approximately $67,000 a year, and assistant professors earn about $64,700.
“There are differences among the schools and even among the departments within the schools. It is largely a function of supply and demand. Certain disciplines pay more than others,” said Feiner. “We compete for faculty with the top universities in this country, and sometimes with the corporate world. If we want to attract and retain the best-and we do-then we must be competitive in the salaries we pay.”
In general, disciplines such as medicine tend to have the highest salaried professors, so they were left out of the AAUP’s survey.
As the above table shows, faculty salaries vary among public, private, and church-related institutions. The gap is continuing to grow between salaries at private-independent , non-church-related colleges at which faculty are more highly compensated, and public institutions, where two-thirds of faculty are employed.
In addition, the report indicates continuing inequalities in salaries across institutional types. Average salary levels for 2000-2001 are $68,553 for doctoral universities; $55,060 for master’s level universities; $50,378 for general baccalaureate institutions; and $46,394 for two-year colleges.
Additional faculty salary facts:
All faculty members still do not earn equal pay for equal work. Gender differences are small overall, but are significantly larger at research universities and for faculty at the rank of full professor. In public institutions, male professors earn on average 6.5 percent more than female professors. Male professors in private institutions earn 5.9 percent more than female professors generally and 10 percent more than women in both private and public research universities.
Professors are paid roughly 25 to 30 percent less than similarly educated professionals. Data from the1999 Occupational Employment Statistics Survey suggest that the average faculty member earns roughly 26 percent ($15,299) less than the average highly educated professional.
Salary differences between elite and other institutions are growing, presumably because these institutions are dangling high salaries and other benefits as a means of luring the most talented faculty.
Salary differences across disciplines have been growing, and at a more rapid rate in the 1990s than previously, with differences of roughly 35 percent between the top- and bottom-paying disciplines. Bell attributes much of this to demand-and-supply patterns, saying, “I do not think we can underestimate the contribution of rising inequality in the distribution of U.S. incomes generally to the growing inequality within our own ranks.”
The combined rate of increase is lower than individual increases within rank. For the first time in recent memory, the combined (all ranks and types of institution) salary increase is lower than the rate of salary increase at each individual rank, pointing to expanded institutional reliance on lower-paid non-tenure-track instructional faculty.
(source: AAUP press release)
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