Apr 17, 2015

Where professors make the best salaries in 2014-15

Stanford tops this list too.
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) wants the public to know that faculty salaries are not to blame for breathtaking increases in the college tuition bills families will be receiving in the coming months.  If anything, faculty members have been victims, along with families, of declining state appropriations for higher education and the “erosion” of endowments to support the cost of providing an undergraduate education. 

To reinforce these findings, the AAUP recently released its annual survey of compensation data, which this year was collected from 1,136 institutions, along with a detailed 16-page analysis entitled, “Busting the Myths:  Faculty Aren’t the Problem; They Are Part of the Solution.”

According to the AAUP, average net price tuition has risen by about 6.5 percent while total state appropriations have declined by 16 percent over the past five years.  And this year’s modest increase in inflation-adjusted year-over-year salary of 1.4 percent represents the first “consequential improvement” for full-time faculty “since the Great Recession.”

“The need to reclaim the public narrative about higher education has become increasingly apparent in recent years as misperceptions about faculty salaries and benefits, state support for public colleges and universities, and competition within higher education have multiplied,” reads opening paragraphs from the AAUP report. “Rebutting these misperceptions can aid in organizing to achieve economic security for all faculty members –full time and part time, on and off the tenure track.”

Tucked beneath the protests from the AAUP, there lie a few interesting facts. Not only do some professors receive pretty good salaries, but these salaries vary wildly from institution to institution. And the link between salaries and tuition isn’t as simple as it may seem.

On average, full professors at public institutions earned $115,592, while their colleagues at private “nonreligious” institutions brought in $148,036 per year.  Full professors at religiously-affiliated schools earned $102,025.

Lower down the scale, associate professors at public institutions earned $82,284, while associate professors at private schools earned $92,474, with those at religious institutions coming in at $76,881.

Assistant professors at public, private and religious institutions made $70,801, $78.643, and $64,129, respectively.

For the record, male professors made more than women, even when compared against faculty of comparable rank.  According to
Inside Higher Ed, “experts attribute this to demographic differences among higher-and lower-paying disciplines, implicit bias in hiring and promotion, and other factors.”  On average, men made $95,886, while women made $77,417, when computed across institution types and ranks.

And huge regional differences are equally as obvious.  Faculty in New England earned the most ($105,385), followed by West Coast professors ($97,395) and professors in the mid-Atlantic ($96,374).  The worst paid jobs were found in North Central, Western Mountain, and the southern U.S., where salaries ranged from about $77,500 to $84,000.

Locally, the best paid full professors could be found at Georgetown University ($178,200), George Washington University ($163,500), American University ($163,300), U Maryland-Baltimore ($157,000), University of Virginia ($156,900), Johns Hopkins University ($154,700), U Maryland-College Park ($154,200), and the University of Richmond ($150,700).

Setting aside gender and regional pay differences, the following 25 institutions are where full professors make the best salaries:

  1. Stanford University ($224,300)
  2. Columbia University ($223,900)
  3. University of Chicago ($217,300)
  4. Princeton University ($215,900)
  5. Harvard University ($213,500)
  6. Yale University ($198,400)
  7. University of Pennsylvania ($197,500)
  8. New York University ($196,900)
  9. MIT ($193,900)
  10. Duke University ($193,300)
  11. Cal Tech ($188,400)
  12. Northwestern University ($187,400)
  13. Washington University in St. Louis ($186,900)
  14. UCLA ($181,000)
  15. Vanderbilt University ($180,600)
  16. Babson College ($180,500)
  17. Dartmouth College ($178,600)
  18. Georgetown University ($178,200)
  19. Rice University ($178,100)
  20. New Jersey Institute of Technology ($174,500)
  21. UC Berkeley ($172,700)
  22. Boston College ($170,800)
  23. Cornell University ($169,500)
  24. Brown University ($168,600)
  25. University of Southern California ($166,800)

If salary correlates with employee satisfaction and quality of job performance—in this case, undergraduate education—then there must be some very happy professors working at outstanding postsecondary institutions.

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