How much do professors make: A brief overview of faculty salaries

Salaries for University professors rank in the bottom third among top-30 research institutions. Editor’s note: This is the first in an occasional series analyzing the salaries of different departments and individuals at the University.

Correction: A graphic in this article misstated the source of University salary data. The source was the University News Service.

The American Association of University Professors released its annual report on faculty salaries today.

The report, titled “Where are the priorities?” touched on the widening gap between salaries at public and private universities, as well as the differences in salary between high-ranking athletics and faculty personnel.

University salaries are in the bottom third among top-30 research universities, University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said.

Salaries and fringe benefits account for “a little over 60 percent of the money we spend,” he said. The University’s annual operating budget is about $3 billion.

Pfutzenreuter said the University does move up in the ranking when its benefits packages, like retirement and health care, are factored in.

“But there’s no factor in that other analysis about how cold it is here,” he said.

While the gap between salaries among public and private university faculty is widening (top public university faculty make about 76 percent of what their private university counterparts make), similar disparities exist within the University.

Professional schools, like the Law School and Carlson School of Management, tend to have higher average salaries, hovering around $89,000 per year.

Undergraduate colleges, like the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Biological Sciences, had a lower average, between $60,000 and $65,000 per year.

Provost Tom Sullivan said the salaries among colleges and departments vary because of the market demand of individual disciplines.

“Your professional schools tend to have larger salaries because they’re competing in markets that have larger salaries,” he said. “The market drives those and signals what those salaries are.”

Sullivan said salary for each faculty member is decided by the department head and dean of the college.

Another point raised in the AAUP report is the comparison between salaries of academic faculty and athletics personnel.

Saranna Thornton, chair of AAUP’s Committee on the Economic Status of the Profession, said many schools have historically argued for paying high salaries in the athletics department by saying profits from big-ticket sports support academic programming.

“We found that’s only true for a handful of institutions,” Thornton said. “The majority of (Division I) school’s teams are not supporting the institution.”

At the University, three of the 10 highest-paid employees are coaches. While athletics department salaries on average are in range with those of CLA and CBS, the average salary of a head coach jumps to $130,629.

Thornton said if a school’s team has a good year, like going to a bowl game, there “might be extra money,” but otherwise it is a very risky operation.

“They might as well put money down on a roulette table,” she said.

Emma Carew is a senior staff reporter.