American faculty cry foul over pay

AAUP say academics lose out to sports coaches, admin staff and presidents. John Marcus reports

April 17, 2008

Faculty salaries at US universities have lagged behind inflation for the third time in four years while salaries paid to presidents, administrators and athletics coaches are soaring, according to a new report.

The report from the American Association of University Professors finds that full professors earn more than three times the US median household income. But the association said that the disparity between academic and administrative staff exposes misplaced priorities.

University officials pointed out that while administrators such as information technology specialists were in high demand, there is a large supply of PhDs.

"It's understandable that some faculty would be troubled by these trends, but they reflect the fiscal realities of the marketplace," said Terry Hartle, senior vice-president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, which represents about 1,800 universities and colleges.

"If you want an IT director, you'll have to pay the market price. If you want an English professor, you can get one for less money," Dr Hartle said.

The AAUP's statistics show that full, associate and assistant professors all got raises at or above the inflation rate.

But survey author Saranna Thornton, a professor of economics at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, said that when instructors and lecturers are added in, the average annual increase falls to 3.8 per cent, compared with an inflation rate of 4.1 per cent.

The average annual salary for a full professor at a doctoral institution rose to $148,214 (£75,216), and for an associate professor to $102,888. Full professors make an average of $129,976, and associate professors $94,191. The median US household income is $48,201.

The AAUP said that presidential salary increases were more than six times greater than faculty salary increases. More than 80 presidents of private universities now earn more than $500,000 a year.

Meanwhile, university basketball and football coaches in the highest-ranked athletic programmes earn an average of more than $1 million, a 12.4 per cent increase over last year. The average university head football coach now earns ten times more than the average university professor.

"We're asking what the priorities should be. The answer, we feel, is that the priorities should be on teaching and research," said John Curtis, the AAUP's director of research and public policy.

The AAUP also complained about the quadrupling in the number of full-time administrators at universities between 1976 and 2005.

See www.aaup.org/AAUP/comm/rep/Z/ecstatreport2007-08/.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Senior Lecturer in Human Genetics LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Biochemistry LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Professor in Marketing UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

Most Commented

Social media icons

Gabriel Egan laments the narcissistic craving for others’ approval brought on, he says, by the use of social networking websites

Elly Walton illustration (25 August 2016)

Treating students as consumers has precipitated a rush to the bottom to give them exactly what they want, says John Warren

Superhero costumes hanging on a washing line

Senior management do not recognise support staff’s pivotal role in achieving positive student outcomes, administrators say

Man photocopying a book

Students think it ‘unfair’ to be punished for unintentional plagiarism

to write students’ assessed essays in return for cash

Vic Boyd was on the lookout for academic writing opportunities. What she found was somewhat less appetising...