Don’t Blame Faculty for High Tuition: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2003-04

By last spring, most faculty members at public institutions of higher education were justifiably pessimistic about their likely salary increases for the 2003–04 academic year. Many states were running large budget deficits for the second or third year in a row and no longer had reserves to draw upon to balance their budgets. These shortfalls resulted in reduced fiscal 2004 appropriations for higher education in twenty-three U.S. states compared with those of the previous year; in only fifteen states did increases in higher education appropriations exceed the rate of inflation. Nationally, state appropriations for higher education in fiscal 2004 declined by 2.1 percent, the first such decline in eleven years.2 This cut followed a year in which state appropriations for higher education rose by only 1.2 percent.

As many expected, public colleges and universities raised tuition and fees to make up for a portion of the cuts they faced in state appropriations and to fund additional costs from increasing enrollments and general inflation. Institutions of higher education—both public and private—often claim that rising faculty salaries are among the major causes of persistent increases in tuition. Increases in faculty salary, however, fell far below average rises in tuition and fees, calling this assertion into question. Moreover, a review of historical faculty salary data presented below shows that, although faculty salary increases obviously affect increases in tuition and fees, they cannot be blamed for the extent of the tuition-and-fee increases seen over the past quarter century.

Tuition and fees at public two-year institutions in the United States rose by an average of 13.8 percent in 2003–04; at four-year institutions, they increased by 14.1 percent. At private four-year colleges and universities, the rate of increase was 6.0 percent.3 However, because tuition and fees were much lower at public institutions to start with, their larger average percentage increases translated into smaller absolute increases.For example, the average private four-year institution received an additional $1,114 for each student from its tuition-and-fee increase. But the average public four-year university received only $579 for each student, and the average two-year public college received $231. In other words, the per-student increase in the state appropriation, tuition, and fees combined at public institutions amounted to much less than the per-student increase in tuition and fees at private four-year colleges and universities.

Private institutions raised their tuition and fees in response to cost pressures of their own. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 5.8 percent in June 2002 to 6.4 percent in June 2003.4 Higher unemployment rates reduce the ability of families to afford college and lead to increased demand for financial aid. Colleges that base their financial-aid decisions partly, or solely, on need faced growing pressure on their financial-aid budgets, which usually compete for resources with faculty salaries in institutional budgets.

By 2003, the stock market had started to recover, but the average total rate of return on college and university endowments for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2003, was modest: only around 3.0 percent.5 This small average return followed two years in which institutional endowments declined by even higher percentages. Most colleges and universities base spending from their endowments on the average value of the endowments over a multiyear period (often three years). The policies of many institutions therefore called for reduced endowment spending for 2003–04. As a result, many institutions that derive a large share of their annual budgets from endowment income projected deficits for the academic year. Several, including Stanford University, one of the highest-paying institutions in the nation, announced actions to address these deficits. The university stunned academia when it reported in March 2003 that it was freezing faculty and staff salaries at their 2002–03 levels.6 

A Bad Year for Many Faculty

Adjusted for inflation, the average salary of all full-time faculty members in the United States was only slightly higher in 2003–04 than it was in 2002–03. 7  Following the pattern of the past three years, faculty at public colleges and universities fared worse than their counterparts at private-independent (non-church-related) and church-related institutions.8 

Because most U.S. faculty are employed at public colleges and universities and most U.S. students are educated in this sector, the continuing lag between faculty salaries at state-supported institutions compared with those at private institutions is a matter of serious concern. The average salary of full professors at public doctoral universities is now only 77.4 percent of the average salary of full professors at private doctoral institutions. This percentage is the lowest since the AAUP started archiving its salary data in the late 1970s. Paired with the decline in full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty at public doctoral institutions, discussed below, this percentage does not bode well for the future of public higher education. 9 

Table A  shows faculty salary increases by rank since 1971–72. The salary increases listed under the heading Nominal Terms are the actual percentage increases; those listed under the heading Real Terms show how faculty salaries have grown relative to the rate of increase in consumer prices.

A glance at the data for all faculty (which appear in the top half of the table) reveals that the average faculty salary (shown in the All Ranks column) was 2.1 percent higher in 2003–04 than it was in 2002–03. This increase is the lowest annual increase in nominal average salaries in more than three decades. The increase was similar across ranks.

The rate of increase in the Consumer Price Index between December 2002 and December 2003 was 1.9 percent, a smaller increase than the previous year’s 2.4 percent. Given that average faculty salaries increased by only 2.1 percent, the real increase in average faculty salaries this year was extremely small: 0.2 percent.

Most faculty members are more interested in the percentage salary increases for continuing faculty members (shown in the bottom half of table A) than in those for all faculty members. Even if an academic institution keeps its overall budget for faculty salaries constant during a two-year period, those faculty members who remain at the institution can usually expect to receive a salary increase between the two years. This occurs because some faculty members will leave the institution each year; they move to another institution, take a nonacademic position, retire, or perhaps are denied tenure. To the extent that lower-paid junior faculty members replace those who leave, the salary funds saved can be used to augment the pay of those who remain. So, typically, the average salary increase received by continuing faculty members at an institution will be larger than the increase in average salary observed at the institution. Of course, in a year in which institutional budgets shrink, these salary savings may instead be used to help reduce an institution’s budget deficit.

The past year was no exception to the rule. Continuing faculty members received salary increases that averaged 3.1 percent nationwide, which was 1.0 percentage point higher than the rise in the average faculty member’s salary. On average, continuing assistant professors received larger increases than continuing associate professors, who in turn received larger increases than continuing full professors. In real terms, the average salary increase for continuing faculty members exceeded the rate of inflation by 1.2 percentage points, the lowest real increase in continuing faculty members’ salaries in seven years.

Behind the Averages

Survey report table 1 shows the percentage change in average salary levels and increases in average salaries of continuing faculty members from 2002–03 to 2003–04, broken down by institutional category, affiliation (public, private-independent, or church-related), and academic rank. The table reveals that the past year was another in which the economic gains of faculty in public higher education lagged behind those of private-sector professors.

Among continuing faculty members, those employed at private-independent doctoral institutions received an average salary increase of 3.9 percent, which was substantially higher than the 2.7 percent increase received by those at public doctoral universities. Indeed, the average salary increase received by continuing faculty members at private-independent doctoral universities exceeded the increases received by continuing faculty members at public doctoral universities by between 1.0 and 1.7 percentage points across the three professorial ranks.

Continuing faculty members at master’s institutions received overall salary increases of 2.9 percent, slightly lower than the average increase their doctoral-level counterparts received. Continuing faculty members at public master’s institutions at each of the three professorial ranks received salary increases that were 1.7 percentage points lower than those conferred on their private-sector counterparts.

On average, continuing faculty members at baccalaureate institutions received larger average salary increases, 3.8 percent, than continuing faculty at master’s or doctoral institutions. Again, however, faculty members at public institutions fared worse than faculty at private institutions. On average, continuing faculty members at public baccalaureate institutions received salary increases that were 1.4 percentage points lower than those of their private counterparts. Across the three professorial ranks, the increases of faculty in public baccalaureate institutions ranged from 1.4 to 1.6 percentage points lower than those of faculty at private baccalaureate institutions.

Survey report tables 2 and 3 show the distribution of average changes in faculty salaries and of average increases in the salaries of continuing faculty members by institutional affiliation and category. These tables highlight how incomplete a picture focusing on averages provides. For example, survey report table 3 indicates that continuing faculty at 9.2 percent of all institutions received average salary increases of 6 percent or more, while continuing faculty at 30.8 percent of all institutions received average salary increases of less than 2 percent or saw their salaries decrease.10 moreover, the percentage of institutions with continuing faculty salary increases of 6 percent or more was higher for private institutions (13.6) than it was for public colleges and universities (5.0). The percentage of institutions with average salary increases of less than 2 percent including salary decreases) was much higher in the public sector (45.4) than in the private sector (15.6). The budget problems faced by many states are responsible for these differences.11 

The rate of inflation this past year was 1.9 percent, which means that continuing faculty at nearly 30 percent of the institutions in our sample (including those who saw their salaries cut) received average salary increases that failed to keep up with inflation. Almost half of public institutions had faculty in this situation.

Rank and Gender

Survey report table 4 provides information on average faculty salaries and compensation by institutional category and affiliation and rank. Nationally, during the past two years, the ratio of the average full-professor salary to that of the average assistant professor decreased slightly, while the ratio of the average full-professor salary to that of the average associate professor increased slightly. Both ratios had increased gradually over the previous fifteen years. Currently, professors earn an average of 68 percent more than assistant professors and about 40 percent more than associate professors. The average associate professor salary has remained about 20 percent above that of the average assistant professor during the last thirty years. Right now, the average associate professor earns about 19 percent more than the average assistant professor.

Survey report table 5 presents data on average faculty salaries and compensation by gender, institutional category and affiliation, and academic rank. Nationally, the average female salary was 88.4 percent of the average male salary at the full professor level, 93.0 percent of it at the associate professor level, and 92.3 percent of it at the assistant professor level in 2003–04. These percentages have been remarkably stable over the past fifteen years. Several factors may account for the gap between the salaries of faculty men and women, including gender differences in the distribution of faculty across disciplines and disciplinary disparities in salaries (which are discussed below).

The AAUP’s data provide an aggregate picture of the average salaries of full-time female faculty compared with those of male faculty at similar ranks; analyses can also be done by institutional type and institutional affiliation. But the Association’s data cannot control for the effect of some factors, including disciplinary differences, on disparities between male and female pay.

In recent years, however, several quantitative analyses using national databases have addressed the question of persistent gender differences in salaries. Unlike the AAUP’s data, these other data sets contain information on individual salaries, and the analyses consider factors such as discipline, educational background, years of experience, emphasis on research compared with teaching, and, sometimes, measures of research and teaching productivity. Next year, this report will discuss the findings of these other studies and will include a more detailed analysis of the persistent gender differences observed in the AAUP data.

Medical Insurance

Nationwide over the past year, increases in the cost of medical insurance continued to outpace the rate of increase in the Consumer Price Index. Survey report tables 10A and 10B show that academic institutions were not immune to these cost increases. The cost to colleges and universities of the medical and dental insurance they provided to their faculty members averaged 8.1 percent of faculty salaries in 2003–04. The comparable percentage for 2002–03 was 7.6; five years ago, in 1998–99, the percentage was 6.2. So medical and dental insurance costs, compared with average faculty salaries, rose by 0.5 percentage point over the past year and 1.9 percentage points over the past five years.

From the perspective of academic institutions, each increase of one percentage point in insurance costs as a share of faculty salaries is equivalent to a one percentage point increase in average faculty salaries. However, as this report discussed last year, faculty members usually do not view increases in the price that institutions pay for medical and dental insurance as a benefit to them. Typically, employer cost increases are accompanied by increasing costs for faculty members in the form of higher health insurance premiums, higher deductibles, and higher co-payment rates, without any improvement in the benefits provided. Put simply, rising medical and dental insurance costs limit the funds available to raise faculty salaries or address other institutional priorities and hurt both academic institutions and their faculty members.

Changing Use of Contingent Faculty

The data collected for the AAUP’s salary survey are for full-time instructional faculty. In recent years, however, a growing share of faculty have been employed in contingent positions—part- or full-time non-tenure-track appointments. Moreover, data on the percentage of full-time faculty employed off the tenure track understate the share of new faculty hires that find themselves in such positions.

The data in table B illustrate the magnitude of some of these shifts. The first column on the left shows the percentage of full-time faculty who held non-tenure-track positions at a set of four-year public and private institutions that reported information to the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS) faculty salary survey each year from 1989 to 1999.12 This set of institutions is not necessarily a random sample of all four-year colleges and universities in the United States, and its composition (among doctoral, master’s, and baccalaureate institutions) in the public sector is not necessarily the same as it is in the private sector. Therefore, we focus on changes within each sector over time, not on comparisons between the two sectors.

These data suggest the increasing importance of full-time non-tenure-track positions at these institutions. Between 1989 and 1999, the share of full-time faculty members who were off the tenure track increased from 11.0 to 13.7 percent at the public institutions in the sample and from 14.2 to 19.7 percent at the private institutions in the sample.

The second column from the left presents data from the bi-ennial IPEDS staff survey, which defines faculty somewhat differently from the IPEDS faculty salary survey. The salary survey is restricted to faculty members who have at least some instructional responsibilities, while the staff survey includes faculty who do not have instructional responsibilities.13 

It is not surprising that the percentage of full-time non-tenure-track faculty is higher in the IPEDS staff survey. Of greater interest is the similar pattern of growth in non-tenure-track full-time positions that these data reveal. Between fall 1989 and fall 2001, among a consistent set of institutions, the proportion of full-time faculty members off the tenure track rose from 19.1 to 28.1 percent at the public four-year institutions and from 23.5 to 30.9 percent at the private colleges and universities.

The third column from the left shows the percentage of part-time faculty from the IPEDS staff survey.14 Between fall 1989 and fall 2001, the percentage of part-time faculty rose from 17.4 to 20.6 at the public four-year institutions in the sample and from 33.3 to 40.7 at the private four-year institutions in the sample. The large differences between the public and private percentages at a point in time may reflect differences in the characteristics of the institutions. For example, the private colleges and universities in the sample may be more likely than the public institutions to be located in large urban areas with plentiful supplies of people willing to work as part-time faculty, while the public institutions in the sample may be more likely to be situated in rural areas with a smaller supply of potential adjuncts. What is important is that the percentage of part-time faculty members grew at both types of institutions during the time period.

The IPEDS staff survey also collects information on the numbers of full-time faculty members hired since July 1 of each year into tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track positions. For four-year institutions that reported each year between 1989 and 2001, the far-right column of table B estimates the percentage of new full-time faculty hires that were not on the tenure track. lthough the percentage fluctuated during the period, it increased overall from 46.0 to 51.5 at the public institutions in the sample and from 45.2 to 57.3 at the private institutions in the sample. So not only is the percentage of faculty members hired into non-tenure-track positions increasing, it is also greater than the percentage of all full-time faculty members in these positions.15 

These developments have important implications for the economic status of the faculty. The lower pay and lesser benefits received by contingent faculty members, compared with the salary and benefits of tenure-track faculty, are among the reasons for the movement to achieve collective bargaining rights for contingent faculty.16 In addition, the growing use of non-tenure-track faculty probably reduces the desirability of pursuing the PhD and an academic career among college graduates who are U.S. citizens, and thus may be partly responsible for the declining share of PhDs granted by American colleges and universities to U.S. citizens.17 

Disciplinary Differences

The AAUP salary survey does not collect data on salary differentials by discipline. Since 1974, however, the Office of Institutional Research and Information Management at Oklahoma State University has collected faculty salary data annually by discipline and rank for a set of doctoral-granting institutions.18 The participating institutions are members of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, many of which are the “flagship” public doctoral-granting universities in their states. Two private land-grant universities (Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and the U.S. Naval Academy also often respond to the survey. Previous committee reports have summarized information gleaned from the Oklahoma State data, and this year we again make use of them.19 We caution, however, that the results cited in this section pertain only to a subset of the institutions included in the AAUP’s “doctoral institution” category; the subset is made up mainly of public universities.

Table C shows the average salary of full professors in different disciplines relative to the average salary of full professors in English language and literature for 2001–02 (see the Entire Sample column).20 Average salaries vary widely across disciplines at the institutions in this sample. At the full professor level, the highest-paying disciplines relative to English are business management and administrative services, computer science, economics, engineering, and law and legal studies. Full professors’ salaries in these fields are, on average, 34.3 percent, 19.1 percent, 17.4 percent, 16.5 percent, and 44.5 percent higher, respectively, than the salaries of their counterparts in English language and literature. The lowest-paying fields are foreign language and literature, home economics, and visual and performing arts. On average at these institutions nationwide, salaries of full professors in these fields are 10.8 percent, 8.4 percent, and 15.2 percent lower than the salaries of their counterparts in English language and literature.

To say that, on average, full professors in one discipline earn a given percentage more or less than full professors in English language and literature at a sample of institutions is not to say that this difference occurs at any particular institution in the sample. In fact, disciplinary salary differentials vary widely across institutions nationwide. For each discipline, we ranked institutions from lowest to highest in terms of the average salary of full professors in the discipline relative to the average salary of full professors of English language and literature at the institution. Table C shows the salary comparison for each discipline at the institution that fell at the twenty-fifth percentile and the institution that was at the seventy-fifth percentile. (For each discipline, we included only those institutions in the sample that employed faculty in both the discipline listed and English language and literature.)

So, for example, although the typical full professor of agricultural business and production in the sample earned 1.3 percent more than the typical full professor of English language and literature, at the institution that was at the twenty-fifth percentile, agricultural business and production professors earned, on average, 10.8 percent less than English language and literature professors. At the institution that was at the seventy-fifth percentile of the distribution, agricultural business and production professors earned 16.7 percent more than English professors.

Similarly, the typical professor in the physical sciences at these institutions earned 4.4 percent more than his or her counterparts in English language and literature. Yet at the twenty-fifth percentile institution, the average salaries of physical science professors were 7.4 percent less than those of English language and literature professors. At the seventy-fifth percentile institution, the average salaries of physical science professors were 15.8 percent more than those of their counterparts in English language and literature.

The important point is that knowing the average salary of professors in one discipline relative to the average salary of professors in a second discipline at institutions in the sample reveals little about what the relative salaries of the two disciplines are—or should be—at any given institution. Research has yet to be conducted to determine why salary differentials by discipline for full professors vary so much across institutions. Still, factors such as institutional priorities, the relative quality of faculty in different fields, the age distribution of faculty within disciplines at an institution, and the location of disciplines within colleges at a university will probably prove important. Table D presents similar data for new assistant professors. It is striking how large the differentials are at the new assistant professor level between the salaries in the highest-paying disciplines and English language and literature. New assistant professors in business management and administrative services, computer and information sciences, economics, engineering, and law and legal studies earn, on average, 113.5 percent, 69.7 percent, 50.5 percent, 47.1 percent, and 68.2 percent more, respectively, than their counterparts in English language and literature. Although the extent of these salary differentials may be surprising, the fact that disciplinary salary differences are larger at the new assistant professor level than at the full professor level is not unexpected. Senior faculty are less mobile than their junior counterparts and less likely to be attracted by the high-paying nonacademic employers with which universities must compete in certain disciplines.

Also striking at the assistant professor level is the variation in salary differentials by discipline across institutions. For example, the salaries of new assistant professors in economics were 34.0 percent higher than the salaries of new assistant professors in English language and literature at the twenty-fifth percentile institution but were 65.3 percent higher at the seventy-fifth percentile institution. The comparable salary advantages at the twenty-fifth and seventy-fifth percentile institutions for business management and administrative services were 88.6 and 131.2 percent, respectively. For computer and information services, they were 57.5 and 79.8 percent; for engineering, they were 34.0 and 58.1 percent; and for law and legal studies they were 45.7 and 103.2 percent. So, again, knowing the average salary differential nationwide between two disciplines at the new assistant professor level provides little information about the salary at any given institution.

How have salary differentials by discipline changed over time among the institutions in the Oklahoma State sample? Figures 1 and 2 show the ratios of the average salary of faculty in three high-paying fields—business management and administration, engineering, and law and legal studies—to the average salaries of faculty in English language and literature at both the full professor and new assistant professor levels, from 1984–85 to 2000–01. Because the institutions that respond to the Oklahoma State survey vary from year to year, we used three-year averages for all years to minimize disparities caused by changes in sample institutions. So, for example, the ratio reported for full professors of business for 1990–91 is computed as the averages of the ratios that existed in the survey data for 1989–90, 1990–91, and 1991–92.21 During the period covered, the salaries of both professors and new assistant professors of business management and administrative services in the sample grew steadily relative to the salaries of their counterparts in English language and literature. In 1984–85, business faculty had an average salary premium of 17.9 percent at the full professor level and 59.1 percent at the new assistant professor level. By 2000–01, these differentials had grown to 42.8 percent and 101.7 percent, respectively.

The premium paid to full professors of engineering changed much less; it rose from 17.2 to 26.0 percent during the period. Moreover, the salary premium paid to new assistant professors in engineering actually declined from 52.3 to 45.1 percent. Similarly, although the salary premium paid to full professors of law and legal studies grew from 42.9 to 56.0 percent, the premium paid to new assistant professors of law and legal studies was slightly lower at the end of the period than it was at the beginning of it (the premium declined from 69.0 to 63.6 percent). These patterns—growing salary premiums for full professors of engineering and law but declining salary premiums for new assistant professors—coincide with rapid adjustments to market conditions in the salaries of new assistant professors in these disciplines but much smaller adjustments in the salaries of full professors.

It is important to stress that this analysis of disciplinary faculty salary differences is based upon data that come almost entirely from public doctoral institutions. Differentials at private doctoral institutions may be larger; however, we cannot say for sure because information about individual salaries and average salaries within departments at these institutions is much more likely to be kept confidential. Differentials at small bachelor’s institutions, where all faculty members are often housed within a single college, are likely to be much smaller.

Faculty Salary Versus Tuition Increases

As noted at the beginning of this report, colleges and universities often claim that faculty salary increases are among the major reasons that tuition persistently increases an average of 2.0 to 3.5 percentage points more each year than the rate of inflation. This past year’s experience suggests that this argument does not always hold. As has been noted, tuition and fees rose by an average of 6.0 percent at private four-year colleges and universities between 2002–03 and 2003–04 and by 14.1 percent during the same period at public two- and four-year institutions. Survey report table 1 shows, however, that average faculty salaries at private four-year institutions rose by approximately 3 percent this past year, and average faculty salaries at most public two- and four-year institutions rose by less than 2 percent.

Moreover, when we compared the average percentage salary increase this year for continuing faculty members at each of the public doctoral universities that responded to the AAUP’s survey with the average percentage increase in tuition and fees at each institution, we found a slightly negative, but statistically insignificant, correlation.22 Put simply, there is no evidence indicating that faculty salary increases for 2003–04 caused tuition to increase at public doctoral universities.

Beyond the most recent one-year changes, what has occurred over longer time periods? Table E shows the average annual changes in tuition and fees and average faculty salaries from 1976–77 to 1990–91 and from 1990–91 to 2002–03 for private four-year institutions, public four-year institutions, and public two-year institutions. From 1976–77 to 1990–91, average faculty salaries grew at annual rates that were less than the rates of increase in tuition and fees by 3.0 percentage points at private four-year institutions, 1.8 percentage points at public four-year institutions, and 2.8 percentage points at public two-year institutions. Average faculty salaries did increase faster than the rate of inflation during this period by 0.5 percentage points a year at four-year public institutions and by 0.7 percentage points a year at the four-year private institutions.

As table A indicates, average faculty salaries declined by a total of 11 percentage points between 1971–72 and 1975–76. Much of the increase in real faculty salaries between 1976–77 and 1990–91 therefore amounted to “catching up,” as colleges and universities tried to return faculty to their real earnings position as of the early 1970s. Sadly, average salaries of faculty at public two-year institutions fell in real terms during this period.

Annual rates of increase in faculty salaries between 1990–91 and 2002–03 were again substantially less than the annual rates of increases in average tuition and fees. As table E shows, average faculty salaries at four-year private institutions grew by 2.1 percentage points a year less than the rate of increase in tuition and fees. In the public sector, faculty salaries rose annually by 3.4 percentage points less than the rate of increase in tuition and fees at four-year institutions and by 2.5 percentage points less at two-year institutions. Although average faculty salaries did increase in real terms during these years at four-year institutions, the percentage increase in average faculty salaries in all three sectors fell substantially below the average percentage increase in average tuition and fees.

The bottom line is that although faculty and staff salary increases obviously contribute to increases in tuition, other factors have played more important roles during the last quarter century. These factors include the escalating costs of benefits for all employees, reductions in state support of public institutions, growing institutional financial-aid costs, expansion of the science and research infrastructure at research universities, and the increasing costs of information technology. If tuition and fee increases had been held to the rate of average faculty salary increases during this period, average tuition and fees would be substantially lower today in both the public and private sectors.

Acknowledgments

This report could not have been written without the hard work of John Curtis, the AAUP’s director of research, and Galina Lewis, the AAUP’s research associate. Nor could it have been completed without the many institutional representatives who take the time each year to respond to the Association’s annual survey. The members of our committee participated in two meetings (one virtual) that spelled out the issues to be discussed in this year’s report, and many commented on earlier drafts of the report. The committee members are Linda A. Bell (Economics), Haverford College; Daniel S. Hamermesh (Economics), University of Texas at Austin; George E. Lang (Mathematics), Fairfield University; Stephen London (Political Science), Brooklyn College of the City University of New York; James Monks (Economics), University of Richmond; Karlene Roberts (Organizational Behavior), University of California, Berkeley; Richard Romano (Economics), Broome Community College; Saranna Thornton (Economics), Hampden-Sydney College; and Craig Swan (Economics), University of Minnesota, consultant.

RONALD G. EHRENBERG
(Labor Economics), Cornell University
Chair
Committee on the Economic Status of the Profession

Notes

1. Michael Arnone, “State Spending on Colleges Drops for the First Time in Eleven Years,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 16, 2004. The data upon which this story is based are collected annually by the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and are published electronically on the center’s website. Back to text

2. Sara Hebel, “State Appropriations: Still Scarce, But Better Budgets May Be Near,” Chronicle of Higher Education, December 19, 2003. The percentage cited in the text is based on nominal, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars. Back to text

3. Trends in College Pricing 2003 (New York: College Board Publications, 2003), table 5a. Back to text

4. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey,” available at http://www.bls.gov. Back to text

5. John L. Pulley, “Endowments Post First Gain in Three Years But Some Still Lag,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 23, 2004. Back to text

6. Robin Wilson, “Stanford U. Freezes Faculty and Staff Salaries,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 21, 2003. It should be noted that the figures that Stanford University supplied for the AAUP survey, and that are reported in appendix I, showed an increase in salary levels over the previous year. This probably occurred because even though there was no general salary increase for continuing faculty, the university adjusted the salaries of some continuing faculty members who received offers from other institutions. Back to text

7. Much of the information about faculty salary increases in this report is based upon the AAUP survey of higher education institutions in the United States. In 2003–04, 1,446 institutions (representing 1,775 campuses) are represented in the survey. Data from these institutions are included in the basic results presented in table A and in many of the other tables in this report. AAUP staff compiled the data for the tables in this report and the appendices that follow that make use of the AAUP survey data. Back to text

8. Unless otherwise specified, the designation “private” in this article henceforth refers to private-independent (non-church-related) institutions. Back to text

9. See also Thomas J. Kane and Peter R. Orzag, Funding Restrictions at Public Universities: Effects and Policy Implications, Brookings Institution, Working Paper (Washington, D.C., 2003), for evidence that student-faculty ratios have risen at public research universities relative to the comparable ratios at private research universities, that during the 1990s faculty workloads at public universities rose relative to faculty workloads at private universities, and that faculty members believe that the quality of undergraduate education has deteriorated at public universities. Back to text

10. As survey report table 3 indicates, 0.8 percent of all institutions reported that the average salaries of their continuing faculty members declined. AAUP staff checked each reported decline in average salary with the individuals who provided the data and confirmed that these declines actually occurred. Some faculty salary cuts have been reported in the press. For example, the Ventura County Federation of College Teachers, which represents 1,600 full- and part-time faculty members in California’s Ventura Community College District, agreed to faculty salary cuts of about 4 percent to avoid layoffs. (Jamilah Evelyn, “Community College Faculty Members Take Pay Cuts to Avoid Layoffs,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 9, 2003.) Back to text

11. Indeed, when we contrasted the average percentage increase in continuing faculty salaries at each public doctoral institution in our sample (as of January 20, 2004) with the percentage change in state appropriations for institutions of public higher education in its state, we found a statistically significant positive relationship between the change in state appropriations and the increase in continuing faculty members’ salaries. Back to text

12. These percentages are the weighted average of the percentages at each institution in the sample, with the weights being the number of full-time faculty at the institution. For details about IPEDS, see http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/AboutIPEDS.asp. Back to text

13. These faculty include those with research or public-service (extension) appointments. Back to text

14. We restricted our attention to a sample of colleges and universities that both responded to the survey and reported positive numbers for part-time faculty members in each year. If a response for part-time faculty is coded as “blank” in the survey, we cannot distinguish between the number being zero and the institution’s not reporting this variable. Back to text

15. If non-tenure-track faculty have shorter appointments than tenure-track faculty (which is likely), it is not surprising that the share of new hires that are nontenure track exceeds the proportion of faculty that are tenure track. However, this fact alone does not explain the growth in the share of new hires that are nontenure track. Back to text

16. Scott Smallwood, “Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Members Vote to Unionize at U. of Michigan,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 9, 2003. Back to text

17. In next year’s report, we hope to provide information from various sources on the pay and benefits of non-tenure-track faculty. Back to text

18. We are grateful to Lee Tarrant, Office of Institutional Research and Information Management at Oklahoma State University, for permitting the AAUP access to the published volumes that summarize the results of the annual Oklahoma State Faculty Salary Surveys and for preparing special tabulations for us for the tables in this section of the report. Back to text

19. For example, see “Plus Ça Change: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 1993–94,” Academe (March–April 1994), table V, and “Not So Good: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 1996-97,” Academe (March–April 1997), table VIII. Back to text

20. Each discipline’s average salary is a weighted average across institutions, with the weights being the number of faculty members in the rank in the discipline at the institution. Back to text

21. We had access to data from 1983–84 to 2001–02, so the numbers in the figures span the years 1984–85 to 2000–01. Back to text

22. This analysis was done for the eighty-nine public doctoral universities whose data had been tabulated by the AAUP office by January 20, 2004, and for which we also could obtain data on percentage increases in tuition from the Chronicle of Higher EducationBack to text