Don’t Blame Faculty Pay

Legislators and the public are quick to blame escalating college tuition on faculty pay increases, but an article in The Chronicle shatters that myth:

In real terms, professors earn about the same as they did 20 years ago. From 1986 to 2005, faculty pay grew by only a quarter of a percentage point, adjusted for inflation. Physicians, by contrast, saw their incomes rise by 34 percent, on average, above inflation, and lawyers by 18 percent.

While “faculty salaries do account for the largest single chunk of higher education’s recurring annual expenditures,” according to the article, faculty members’ piece of the pie is shrinking, as more full-timers are replaced with part-timers (about 70 percent of all faculty members are now nontenure-trackers, who earn money by the course and must find their own health insurance).

Meanwhile administrators’ piece of the pie seems to be growing:

The AAUP’s 2008 faculty-salary report points out that from 1976 to 2005, the number of full-time college administrators (vice presidents and deans, for example), rose by 101 percent, while the number of full-time nonfaculty professionals (in student services, development, and information technology, for example) rose by 281 percent. Over the same period, the number of full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members rose by only 17 percent.

Read the whole story.

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