Faculty Compensation Report Raises Questions

Recently the American Association of University Professors released the results of their annual faculty compensation survey and report. The data comes from 1,136 participating institutions, including two- and four-year colleges and universities and 375,000 full-time faculty. The purpose of the survey is to assess the state of salary and benefits for faculty, as well as to combat myths about faculty salary and compensation.

Professor Susan Michalczyk, President of the Boston College chapter of the American Association of University Professors and second Vice President of the AAUP, says that faculty on the whole are underpaid in comparison to professions with comparable education. Additionally, there’s great disparity between what full, tenured professors make and what untenured or associate professors make.

Photo courtesy of aaup.org

According to the report, the average full professor at Boston College has a salary of $170,800. For comparison, the report lists a full professor at Harvard as making $213,500 and at Tufts as making $145,800. However, Professor Michalczyk said that number is an inaccurate representation of what most professors make.

“What they’re factoring into that are the faculty in the law school and in the business school,” she said. “Most full professors at BC in the humanities, arts, languages, English, get in the range of $90,000 to $120,000, if they’ve been here for a long time. If you look at people in economics, in the sciences, or in the business school, now you see salaries going up.”

Part-time professors at BC can be paid as little as $5,000 a course, and part-time professors can’t teach enough courses to get benefits.

The purpose of the report beyond sharing information among faculty is to help dispel myths about faculty compensation, mainly that it is responsible for the high cost of tuition. The survey says that it is the decline of state funding and “erosion of endowments” that have caused the cost of tuition to go up. It’s important to dispel that idea, Michalczyk said, because it causes resentment amongst students and their families.

“It is pitting the students and their families, who we care about, who we want to educate, it is pitting them against us,” she said. "We are the heart and soul of the university, but right now it is hard."

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