AAUP Report on Faculty Salaries

April 17, 2008


After a short-lived recovery in 2006–07, faculty salaries are lagging behind inflation again this year. Yet the salaries paid to head football coaches, presidents, and other top administrators do not seem to reflect an economic downturn. Over the past three decades, the ranks of contingent faculty, nonfaculty professionals, and administrators have swelled while the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty stagnated. These are the central findings of Where Are the Priorities? The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2007–08, released today by the AAUP.

The AAUP’s annual report has been an authoritative source of data on faculty salaries and compensation for decades. Here are some highlights of this year’s report:

  • Overall average salaries for full-time faculty rose 3.8 percent this year, the same as the increase reported last year. But with inflation at 4.1 percent for the year, the purchasing power of faculty salaries has declined for the third time in four years.
  • Long-term salary trends indicate a widening differential between the average salaries of faculty members at private colleges and universities and the average salaries of their colleagues at public institutions. When public institutions struggle to attract and retain the best faculty, our nation faces the risk of creating separate but unequal systems of higher education. 
  • The salaries paid to head football coaches at Division I-A universities are ten times as high as the salaries of senior professors. What does this say about the priorities of these universities?
  • The gap between faculty salaries and salaries paid to administrators continues to grow. This year’s report builds on previous discussions of presidents’ salaries by including data for other top administrators. 
  • Over three decades, employment patterns in colleges and universities have been radically transformed. While the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty has grown 17 percent, the ranks of contingent faculty (both part and full time) and full-time nonfaculty professionals have each tripled, and the count of administrators has doubled.

The complete report is available on the AAUP’s Web site . This year, for the first time, a complete set of institutional data is available on the Web site.