2014-2015 AAUP Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession

The Annual faculty compensation survey and report on the economic status of the profession (http://www.aaup.org/reports-publications/2014-15salarysurvey).

The survey includes information on full-time faculty salary and benefits at two- and four-year colleges and universities, with 1,136 participating institutions.  It includes data on more than 375,000 full-time faculty, making it the largest independent faculty compensation survey in the United States. And it is the only survey of its kind to include extensive information on benefits as well as salary.

The survey found that this year marks the first consequential improvement (1.4 percent) in inflation-adjusted year-over-year salary for full-time faculty since the Great Recession.

This year’s report also explores four common myths about higher education:

  • Myth: Faculty are to blame for rising tuition.
    Reality: The decline of state appropriations and the erosion of endowments have caused tuition to rise—not faculty salaries.
  • Myth: Faculty are “ridiculously overpaid” compared to professionals working in “the real world.”
    Reality: Even for the highest-ranking professors, salaries have failed to keep up with those of similar professions outside of academia. And the vast majority of faculty—especially the half that are hired on a per-course basis—earn far less.
  • Myth: Responding to “disruptive innovations” such as online and for-profit education requires replacing tenure-track faculty with part-time adjuncts.
    Reality: Strategic hiring and support for full-time faculty can improve quality and enhance an institution’s distinctiveness and competitiveness.
  • Myth: Faculty benefit costs are out of control.
    Reality: Costs for faculty benefits are not significantly increasing.

The survey results and report are published each year in the March–April issue of Academe, along with appendices that contain data for individual institutions. Through a publishing agreement with Inside Higher Ed, the data will also be available in an easily searchable database, available on the web at no cost.

Perhaps most important, this report empowers you to take action. By disseminating the information contained in the report and, wherever possible, participating in budgetary and financial matters at your institution, you can help improve the economic status of the profession.

John Barnshaw, AAUP Senior Higher Education Researcher

P.S.–Individuals and institutions seeking peer comparison reports and complete Faculty Compensation Survey datasets can receive those services by contacting the AAUP Research Office directly at 202.737.5900 x3640 or via aaupfcs@aaup.org.


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