AAUP – Bad News for Faculty Salaries!

Dear Commons Community,

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released its annual report on faculty wages and the results are not encouraging.  Real wages for full-time faculty decreased for the first time since the Great Recession, and average wage growth for all ranks of full-time faculty was the lowest since the AAUP began tracking annual wage growth in 1972. After adjusting for inflation, real wages for full-time faculty decreased at over two-thirds of colleges and universities. The number of full-time faculty decreased at over half of institutions. As reported in the AAUP press release provided by Glenn Colby, AAUP Senior Researcher.

“Average pay for part-time faculty members teaching a three-credit course section in 2019–20 varied widely between institutional types, with average rates of pay ranging from $2,611 per section in public associate’s institutions without ranks to $5,760 per section in private religiously affiliated doctoral institutions. (Part-time faculty pay data is collected for the prior year as institutions generally cannot provide employment data on part-time faculty until the end of the academic year).

The survey also asked about the wide range of actions (see graph above) taken by US colleges and universities in response to financial difficulties stemming from the COVID–19 pandemic. At a time when many institutions were already struggling to balance their budgets, many lowered their expenditures by implementing hiring freezes, salary cuts, fringe benefit cuts, furloughs, and layoffs.

  • Nearly 60 percent implemented salary freezes or reductions.
  • About 30 percent eliminated or reduced some form of fringe benefits.
  • Over 5 percent did not reappoint or terminated contracts for at least some tenure-line faculty.
  • Over 20 percent did not renew contracts or terminated contracts for at least some non-tenure-track faculty.
  • Almost 10 percent implemented furloughs for at least some faculty.
  • Over 50 percent took some other action for tenure-line faculty. The most common action described was some type of early retirement program.
  • Almost 30 percent took some other action for non-tenure-line faculty.
  • Almost 50 percent implemented tenure-clock modifications for at least some tenure-track faculty.

You can see the complete survey results here.


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