Salaries for university faculty increased by 3.6 percent this year, the American Association of University Professors announced Friday, but the news is not all positive.
The increase more than doubles the inflation rate and is the largest one-year hike in 12 years, AAUP said. The average salary for professors at 19 American universities rose to more than $100,000, while 10 schools still pay their professors less than $33,000, according to the survey.
But rates, adjusted for inflation, are below levels from 1971 and professors earn 38 percent less than professionals with similar educational backgrounds.
On GW’s average salary scale, full-time professors earn $90,100 and associate professors earn $65,400. Assistant professors average $52,700, and instructors receive $42,300, the AAUP reported. The salaries are adjusted for a nine-month work year.
Linda Bell, a professor of economics at Pennsylvania’s Haverford College who developed the report, said although it has been a good year for professors, prospects do not look good for the industry as a whole.
“The news (of salary increases) has to be tempered by rising inequality in what faculty receive,” Bell said. “There’s a really big gap between what professors at public universities are earning and what professors at private universities are earning.”
Bell said professors at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley receive vastly different salaries. She said Stanford professors earn $111,000 and Berkeley professors earn $93,000.
“Two professors, sitting in the same part of the country, teaching the same information, and there is an $18,000 difference,” she said.
She said the trend is alarming because more students are attending to public universities, though private schools are investing more dollars per student. Bell also said the differential is a recent trend because public universities paid their professors higher salaries than private schools did before the 1980s.
“We have to think clearly about how much we are willing to invest in our public universities,” Bell said. “We see a lot of switching at the top tier between public and private schools.”
Bell said another large difference is in the salaries of the doctoral-granting universities and other schools.
“The gap between what professors at the best liberal art colleges are making and the best universities is growing,” she said.
There is also a disturbing differential between the salaries of male and female professors, Bell said.
“We still see that there are differences between men and women,” she said. “It’s not as large, but it is a persistent difference, which is troubling because women are increasingly more experienced within rank.”