Inflation stagnates years of stagnant faculty pay

The average salary of full-time faculty members increased by 2 percent from 2020-21 to 2021-22, according to today’s analysis by the American Association of University Professors.

This is consistent with the flat wage increase seen since the Great Depression. But 2021-22 was not just another year: real wages for full-time faculty members fell 5 percent, given the 40-year high inflation. This is the largest one-year decline on record since the AAUP began tracking this measure in 1972.

The average wage for full-timers also fell below the Great Recession Level in 2021, down 2.3 percent from the 2008 average, after adjusting for inflation.

This actual wage cut was relatively consistent with the type of institution and the position of the faculty.

AAUP released a preliminary version of this analysis and other faculty pay data earlier this spring.

Glenn Colby, a senior researcher at AAUP and author of both reports, said on Tuesday that he had made an unusual number of searches this year for salary data and advice from the AAUP chapter and other faculty groups. They all want help in the case that their organizations must respond meaningfully to inflation.

“I would only encourage organizations to make adjustments that maintain the quality of life so that they do not lose talented people,” Colby said. “That’s the market comparison.”

Some colleges and universities have tried to tackle inflation with short-term measures. Carnegie Mellon University said this month that it is offering a one-time payment of $ 1,500 to qualified staff, for example, to help pay for gas, food and more. (It is also pursuing a talent enhancement program for FY 2023.) While such ideas are generally welcomed, they are inadequate for many professors who have experienced a combination of frozen wages, actual or effective pay and benefits cuts, and increased workload. Epidemic: Endowment has increased in many rich campuses.

Jeffrey Williams, a professor of English and literary and cultural studies at Carnegie Mellon, who is not involved with the new AAUP report, said Tuesday that instead of paying $ 1,500, “more progressive work would be the previous raise.” In addition, he said, salary freezes and effective deductions are accumulated during one’s career.


AAUP’s new report is based on the group’s annual faculty compensation survey. Data collection for the survey ended in March, and preliminary results were released in April so that colleges and universities could use it as a benchmark to set their own payroll data for the next academic year. The message here, Colby reiterates, is that as institutions think about their costs going into next year, they should think about “what it costs to have a faculty. That means maintaining their quality of life, not just keeping campus open. Because after a while, people He started moving to another profession. “

An April report by the College and University Professional Association-Human Resources also found that “rising inflation rates for higher education workers have led to much higher pay increases.” Based on CUPA-HR’s own annual workforce survey for 2021-22, the overall average salary of administrators increased by 3.4 percent year-on-year, while salaries of term-track and non-tenure-track faculty members increased by 1.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. . . This was compared to a 6.8 percent inflation rate that was still upward. Inflation is now above 6 percent.

In one bit of good news for faculty members, 97.2 percent of full-time instructors were on retirement plans this past academic year, an increase of 2.8-percentage-points over a year earlier. According to the report, after a 2.4-percentage-point reduction in last year’s coverage from 2019-20, “this year’s growth indicates that some organizations may have recovered benefits that were eliminated or reduced in response to the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020-21. “The average cost of covered faculty members was $ 11,835, which is equivalent to 11.3 percent of the average salary of all full-time faculty members. For equivalent to 11 percent of the average salary of $ 104,092.

The share of full-time faculty members eligible to participate in the medical insurance plan has been fixed year after year, at 94.5 percent of full-time faculty members, with an average cost of $ 12,461 (or an average salary of 11.9 percent) for faculty members who were covered.

AAUP’s new analysis, which is officially called the “Economic Status of the Profession, 2021-22” annual report, includes additional research on gender and faculty rankings and more.

Gender matters

Continuing the long-term pay gap between men and women, institutions report full-time faculty salaries for women, which averaged 81.9 percent for men in 2021-22. The gender pay gap is the largest in the entire professorship.

Although some blame the gap on “market factors” and the over-representation of women in the lower pay chain, the report says, “little is known about how such market factors work, and there are many more reasons for gender-based pay inequality.” The lack of institutional resources and support, including bias in academia, recruitment and publicity practices, and the responsibility to care. In any case, when gender pay gaps are identified, they must be corrected. “

The report includes an additional “Gender Equity” analysis, which states that the number of full-time female faculty members (not share) has increased by 1.6 percent in the last two years, while it has decreased by 2.5 percent for men. This difference was greater in full-time professorships, with the number of full-time female professors increasing by 5.9 percent in two years, compared to a decrease of 1.9 percent for males. The AAUP warns that these figures are only taken from institutions that have responded to each faculty compensation survey in the last three years, and that men still outnumber women in full professorship.

Nevertheless, the AAUP proposes an estimate to increase the number of female full professors: since men are more likely to make appointments to the full professorship, “it is possible that they will retire sooner rather than later due to COVID-19 risks, budget cuts and changes in working conditions.” . “

Part-time faculty

About 907 institutions responded to AAUP’s pay survey, but only 355 of them reported pay per course for part-time instructors (usually because colleges and universities struggle to collect and share faculty data for a variety of reasons). The salary collected per course is also one year behind, which reflects the 2020-21 rate, to ensure full year data. That said, last year the average per-course salary for a three-credit course was $ 3,843 per department, an increase of 8.1 percent from 2019-20, while the average salary was $ 3,556.

The average pay rate varies widely among institutional types, including $ 2,979 in public associate degree institutions ফ 5,557 in public doctoral institutions without faculty rank, the report said. It calls all these wages “terrible.”

Outside of pay, most of the contributors paid per course did not retire or contribute to medical benefits in 2020-21. Some 34.7 percent of organizations reported contributing to retirement planning for some or all of the part-time faculty members, and 30.9 percent of organizations contributed to medical insurance premiums.

Adjutants were actually more likely to benefit from affiliates, with 53.5 percent of these colleges contributing to their retirement plans. Doctoral institutions are likely to contribute to the medical insurance premiums of affiliates, with 55 percent of them doing so.

Based on a supplementary AAUP analysis of the Federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the number of contingent faculty appointments decreased by 6.9 percent between 2019 and 2020. This includes a 2.9 percent reduction in full-time non-tenor-track appointments and an 8.7 percent reduction in a “wonderful” part-time appointment.

Regarding the ongoing epidemic, part-time faculty members seem to have experienced “much greater adverse effects than full-time faculty members,” the report continues.

Based on AAUP’s own data from 383 organizations that shared both year counts, the number of part-time faculty members employed throughout the academic year decreased by 10.6 percent from 2019-20 to 2020-21.

Of the 889 institutions surveyed for the fall of 2019 and 2020, the number of full-time faculty members increased by 1.9 percent.

“It’s clear that contingent faculties were hurt,” Colby said, with staff cuts during COVID-19. Meanwhile, the number of assistant professors has declined, probably due to the recruitment freeze, he added.

Seth Kahn, a professor of English at Westchester University in Pennsylvania and a lawyer for non-tenor-track faculty rights, said he understood that “for many reasons it was difficult for the contingent faculty.”

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