Average faculty salaries in the United States increased at less than the rate of inflation for the second year in a row, according to a report released today by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) – but many college and university presidents saw substantial increases.
The overall increase in faculty salaries was 1.4% between 2009/10 and 2010/11, while the AAUP’s favoured measure of inflation, the consumer price index for urban consumers (CPI-U), increased by 1.5% during 2010.
The change in remuneration varied between categories of institutions, with faculty at public institutions receiving an average increase of just 0.9%, compared with 2.1% at private institutions. And, despite the recession, the average pay increase for presidents was twice that of faculty at public institutions and nearly three times higher at private institutions.
AAUP director of research and public policy John Curtis said he was particularly surprised that presidential pay continued to increase in real terms during the recession. “When other staff are required to take unpaid furloughs, salary and hiring freezes, and cuts to benefit programmes, it seems especially inappropriate for presidents to receive double-digit salary increases,” he told Naturejobs.
Curtis said presidential salaries seemed to be primarily driven by a type of prestige competition. “Each board justifies the president’s salary by paying more than a competitive institution,” he explained. “The cycle then just keeps repeating itself, ratcheting the salaries upward.”
The report, based on a survey of over 1,100 institutions, also showed that while the number of faculty members grew, most of the new appointments were in non-tenure-track positions.
What’s your reaction to the report? Should presidents get bigger pay increases than faculty? Are you considering a move to a private institution because of your pay? Share your thoughts below.