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April 14, 2011

AAUP: Faculty pay again less than inflation

For the second consecutive year, overall average salaries for full-time faculty failed to keep up with inflation, according to a new American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) report on pay at more than 1,300 institutions nationwide.

Average faculty salaries gained 1.4 percent in 2010-11 but an inflation rate of 1.5 percent left their actual buying power in the negative, according to the AAUP’s Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2010–11. The trend has a lengthening history: In five of the past seven years, average faculty salaries lost ground against inflation, the report showed.

Continuing faculty fared better in the latest analysis. Their average 2.5 percent increase in salary enabled them to gain some ground against inflation, the AAUP report said.

The report also compared the average salary increase for university presidents and found that presidents of public institutions received raises that far outstripped the average faculty raise.

In an analysis of 389 public institutions, the AAUP found presidential salaries rose 11.5 percent between 2007 and 2010 while full-time faculty averaged a 5.4 percent increase in the same time period. The gap was even wider at the 289 private institutions that provided data for the AAUP report. Private schools’ presidential salaries rose an average of 14.4 percent from 2007 to 2010 while full-time faculty at those schools saw an average pay increase of 5.7 percent.

“Such a disproportionate increase in compensation for a single individual is an indication of misplaced institutional priorities — especially when faculty members and other higher education employees have been faced with involuntary unpaid furloughs, hiring and salary freezes and cuts to benefits,” the report stated.

The AAUP also reported that the trend toward hiring non-tenure-track faculty continued.

Using federal data, the report showed that full-time tenured faculty made up 29 percent of institutions’ instructional staff in 1975, but by 2009, tenured faculty made up only 16.8 percent of the total. Full-time tenure-track faculty fell from 16.1 percent of the total in 1975 to 7.6 percent in 2009.

At the same time, full-time non-tenure-track faculty grew from 10.3 percent to 15.1 percent and part-time faculty skyrocketed from 24 percent in 1975 to make up 41.1 percent of instructional staff in 2009. The percentage of graduate student employees held relatively steady over the time period, slipping from 20.5 percent in 1975 to 19.4 percent in 2009.

During the recent economic recession, according to AAUP, the number of full-time faculty members grew, but most of the new appointments between 2007 and 2009 were in non-tenure-track positions.

AAUP paints a gloomy picture for higher ed in the near future. “States will continue to struggle with reduced revenue, and that means decreased state funding for the majority of all institutions that are in the public sector. At the same time, governors in a number of states have been using the fiscal crisis as a pretext for a broad attack on public-employee compensation. Instead of continuing a long-term disinvestment in higher education as part of this misguided attack, we must invest in higher education and in the academic workers who make it an engine for innovation,” the organization stated in a prepared release.

The full report includes additional salary data by institutional category, region, discipline, rank and gender. It is available online at

An annual University report comparing faculty salaries at Pitt with selected peer groups is expected at the Senate budget policies committee in May or June, according to BPC chair John J. Baker.

That report (see June 10 University Times), which is based on data in the AAUP report, compares Pitt’s main campus with a peer group of public Association of American Universities institutions. Pitt’s Bradford, Greensburg and Johnstown campuses, all classified as Carnegie category IIB schools, are compared with a peer group of other IIB schools from the three AAUP regions that border Pennsylvania.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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