U professors’ salaries fall 2 spots in rankings

Harvard University’s faculty salaries ranked number one.

Kari Petrie

Full-time University professors’ salaries rank 27th out of the top 30 research universities, down from 25th in 2000, according to a presentation given to the Board of Regents on Thursday.

The American Association of University Professors determined the rankings from a mandatory survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

According to the survey results, “faculty” includes full-time professors, associate professors and assistant professors.

University officials said the results show faculty salaries are remaining steady compared with their peer institutions.

Regent Clyde Allen Jr. said, however, the University must be aware how state budget deficits affect salary trends.

“It’s an area that needs to be watched carefully,” he said.

Regent David Metzen said he feels the University is trying to improve its rank, but he was not pleased with the institution’s current position.

“We’re not where we want to be,” he said.

The University ranked 26th when averaging full, associate and assistant professors’ salaries. Salaries for assistant professors ranked 22nd, and associate professor salaries ranked 23rd.

Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., ranked first in the study when averaging all professors’ salaries.

The University fared better for compensation, ranking 22nd overall. Compensation includes faculty salary and fringe benefits such as Social Security, retirement contributions and medical insurance.

Assistant professors’ compensation ranked 16th – a steady increase since the 2001 ranking of 19th.

Full professor compensations ranked 22nd, and compensations for associate professors ranked 20th.

Peter Zetterberg, senior analyst for Institutional Research and Reporting, presented the survey results. He said salaries and compensation are not the only factors for recruiting and retaining faculty.

Zetterberg said a campus’ and department’s reputation, student body quality and campus environment play important roles in attracting faculty.

Regents agreed and discouraged using only salary as a recruiting tool.

“We inevitably go down a road we don’t want to go down,” Metzen said.

Regent Maureen Reed said the survey compared the University with a majority of private research institutions. Thirteen private universities are in the top 15.

Regents said despite the surface differences between public and private institutions, it is important to compare them because they compete for students and faculty.

“It’s simply a matter of fact that we compete with them,” Allen said.

Metzen echoed these feelings.

“It would be a big mistake not to look at (the comparison),” he said.

The ranking also included the University’s Crookston and Morris campuses.

The study did not include the Duluth campus because of current negotiations with faculty.

Morris ranked 12th for assistant professor salaries, down from ranking sixth in 1998.

Zetterberg said this difference was due to the college hiring more faculty with less teaching experience.

The survey compared Morris with 14 similar public campuses and private liberal arts campuses, including St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., and Hamline University in St. Paul.

Crookston ranked first for associate and assistant professors, compared to six other public campuses offering four-year polytechnic programs, including University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Kari Petrie covers the University Board of Regents and administration. She welcomes comments at [email protected]