Real wages for full-time faculty members decreased for the first time since the Great Recession, according to the American Association of University Professors’ annual faculty-compensation survey, released on Monday.
The organization analyzed data for nearly 380,000 full-time faculty members at 929 colleges and universities, and found a not-so-sunny picture. Average salaries increased by just 1 percent, the smallest rise since the AAUP began tracking the metric in 1972. After adjusting for inflation, average salaries actually decreased by 0.4 percent, the survey found. More than two-thirds of colleges reported drops in real wages. And the number of full-time faculty members decreased at over half of institutions. About a quarter of colleges reported that full-timers had decreased by at least 5 percent.
The AAUP also wanted to know how institutions responded to the financial thumping brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Already struggling to balance their budgets, many institutions drove down expenses by cutting pay and cutting jobs, the AAUP found. Nearly 60 percent of colleges said they imposed a salary freeze or salary reduction, and nearly one in 10 furloughed at least some faculty members. More than 20 percent either did not renew contracts or terminated contracts for at least some non-tenure-track faculty members. More than 5 percent did the same for tenure-track faculty members.
And nearly half put into place some sort of tenure-clock modification ― one of several strategies colleges have enacted to support an overworked and beaten-down professoriate, The Chronicle previously reported.
Though part-time faculty members “have surely been disproportionately impacted” by the pandemic, the AAUP notes, colleges generally can’t provide information for that employee group until the end of the academic year, so the survey results reflect data on those instructors for 2019-20 only. For that reason, an in-depth analysis of how the pandemic has affected part-time faculty members was not possible.
For more of the survey’s findings, go here.