Teachers’ salaries have fallen this year



Average faculty salaries fell 0.4% this year, adjusting for inflation, the first such decline since 2011-12, according to preliminary data from the annual Faculty Compensation Survey. American Association of University Teachers.

This higher number does not tell the whole story of the evolution of university salaries during COVID-19. Just as the pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on certain parts of society and the economy, it has affected the remuneration of professors in certain types of institutions, in certain ranks, more than others.

The data on faculty salaries also does not show what is not there. Pay figures for professors at some institutions have actually increased this year from last, simply because they laid off some of their lowest-paid professors during the pandemic.

Of course, the remuneration of professors is not only about salaries. Many institutions have reduced or reduced employee benefits this year. And it is not known when or if some of these colleges and universities will restore them.

“There were those [institutions] who were already in financial difficulty, ”said Glenn Colby, senior researcher at AAUP. “And in those cases, they cut benefits for wages and let people go – they didn’t renew the contracts of the non-tenured people and things like that.” And I think it’s gonna be worse in the fall.

Faculty decreases, just as faculty pays – and who does more, where

Already, the number of full-time professors has fallen in more than half of the establishments, year after year. In 26% of establishments, the number of full-time teachers fell by at least 5%. Doctoral institutions were the least affected, registering a slight increase in the number of full-time professors. But the number of full-time faculty fell 2.2% at master’s institutions, 1.6% at four-year institutions and 3.1% at community colleges.

The number of full-time professors increased slightly in public institutions and fell elsewhere, especially – by 2.4% – in private and religious colleges and universities.

Faculty pay fell in two-thirds of colleges and universities, adjusted for inflation. The growth in full-time faculty salaries in 2020-2021 was the weakest since AAUP began tracking that growth in 1972.

Average faculty salaries fell in 42% of the colleges and universities surveyed. Growth in real wages declined to 68 percent for colleges and universities, after adjusting for inflation.

At doctoral institutions, on average, assistant professors earned $ 91,408 this academic year. Associate professors earned $ 104,482. And full professors made $ 159,919. Full-time instructors, meanwhile, earned $ 66,620. Speakers won $ 69,295.

Full professors at master’s institutions earned $ 104,389, associate professors $ 83,958, and assistant professors $ 73,492. Full-time instructors won $ 57,103. Salaries were roughly parallel in the baccalaureate institutions.

In community colleges, full professors earned $ 91,196, associates $ 75,550, and assistants $ 64,823. Instructors and instructors earned $ 54,547 and $ 68,641 respectively.

Salaries in secular private institutions tended to be better than in public institutions, but public ones tended to pay more than religious colleges and universities.

As in the past, AAUP has seen a gap between men and women, and not just at the full professor level. In universities, across all types of institutions, male full professors earned $ 147,042 this year and full professors $ 127,819. Among assistant professors, men and women received $ 87,530 and $ 79,621, respectively. Male teachers received $ 69,857 and women $ 64,187. The AAUP does not break down salaries by discipline.

Salaries also varied by geographic region, as they always do, with the highest paying establishments in New England, the Mid Atlantic, and the West Coast. The average New England assistant professor made around $ 93,000 this year, while the average assistant professor in the lowest-paying region, including Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee, made around $ 74,000 .

Without taking inflation into account, average wages have increased by 1% per year. This is the smallest increase on record since AAUP began tracking this measure in 1972.

In doctoral institutions, average salaries increased by 0.6%. After adjusting for inflation, they fell 0.8 percent.

At master’s and baccalaureate institutions, average salaries increased by 0.8% and 0.1% respectively. After adjusting for inflation, real wages fell by 0.6% and 1.3% respectively.

In associate degree institutions with faculty grading systems, average salaries rose 1.7%, an increase of 0.3% in real terms. But in community colleges without a faculty ranking system, average salaries fell 2.7%, or 4.1% after adjusting for inflation.

Average teacher salaries rose 1.1% at religious-affiliated public and private colleges and universities. They increased by 0.2% in independent private establishments.

COVID-19 and the Faculty

The AAUP annually surveys institutions on faculty remuneration and other data. This year, he asked additional questions about how colleges and universities have responded to the financial pressures of COVID-19. About 5% said they had not reappointed or had terminated the contracts of at least some tenured or tenured faculty members. Some 20 percent did not renew or terminate the contracts of at least some non-tenure faculty.

About 10% of colleges and universities have adopted leave for at least some teachers. More than half of the institutions have taken another step with respect to full and tenure-track faculty, the most common being to offer some type of early retirement program.

The AAUP will publish its more detailed annual report on the economic situation of the profession next month. Unfortunately, the major analysis of part-time faculty compensation during COVID-19 will have to wait until next year, as institutions typically don’t publish compensation per course and other information until the end of the academic year. .

While universities have barely kept pace with inflation this year, faculty salaries have fared better than some other sectors of the economy during COVID-19. Asked about it, Colby said critics sometimes argue that it’s okay to have nominal wage growth equal to the rate of inflation. But he said that argument ignores productivity issues, which the Federal Reserve has assumed to be around 1.5-2% annual growth in general – in addition to the 2% inflation target. .

While Colby warned of confusing productivity issues with workload issues, academics’ productivity expectations had skyrocketed before COVID-19 and the pandemic inflated their workloads.

Ultimately, Colby said, “the constant growth of fixed salaries puts institutions at risk of losing talented faculty,” in some areas to better paying jobs outside of higher education.

The most profitable institutions – and a big asterisk

For many years, Inside higher education highlighted the highest paying institutions included in the AAUP report due to reader interest. This salary information is not meant to be representative of what the average faculty member earns. And that does not necessarily mean that these institutions pay their part-time professors in the same way, or that they even communicate their remuneration data per course to the AAUP (some do not).

Colby said, for example, that full professors at universities most active in research make up about 5% of faculty at all degree-granting institutions. And the 6,703 highest-paid full professors in private institutions represent only half of 1% of all faculty, he said.

With that major caveat in mind, here are the highest paying individual institutions this year, by category.

Best salaries of full professors in private universities, 2020-2021 (average)


Columbia university

$ 280,800


Stanford University

$ 260,100


Princeton University

$ 257,600


Harvard University

$ 254,900


University of Chicago

$ 251,100


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

$ 239,500


University of Pennsylvania

$ 236,800


Yale University

$ 234,300


duke university

$ 220,600


Northwestern University

$ 217,100

Best salaries of full professors in public universities, 2020-2021 (average)


University of California, Los Angeles

$ 234,200


University of California, Berkeley

$ 214,300


University of California, Santa Barbara

203,800 dollars


University of California, San Diego

$ 202,600


University of California, Irvine

$ 192,100


Rutgers-Newark University

$ 191,600


University of Texas at Austin

$ 188,600


University of Virginia

$ 187,700


New Jersey Institute of Technology

$ 185,400


University of California, Davis

$ 183,400

Best salaries of full professors in liberal arts colleges, 2020-2021 (average)


Barnard College

$ 176,800


Claremont McKenna College

$ 176,100


University of Richmond

$ 161,900


Pomona College

$ 160,500


Wellesley College

$ 159,600


Wesleyan University

$ 158,500


Swarthmore College

$ 156,300


Amherst College

$ 155,800


Harvey Mudd College

$ 154,600


Colgate University

$ 151,700


Bard College

$ 151,600


Williams college

$ 149,900


Bowdoin College

$ 146,900


Scripps College

$ 146,300


Colby College

$ 146,000


United States Naval Academy

$ 144,800


Bryn Mawr College

$ 144,400


University of Washington and Lee

$ 143,900


Vassar College

$ 142,800


Hamilton college

$ 142,100

Best salaries of assistant professors in colleges and universities, 2020-2021 (average)


Columbia university

$ 152,704


University of Pennsylvania

$ 140,320


Harvard University

$ 139,691


Babson College

$ 138,022


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

$ 137,757


California Institute of Technology

$ 136,475


Stanford University

$ 136,035


University of Chicago

$ 130,375


Bentley University

$ 128,319


Princeton University

$ 124,204


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