AAUP releases faculty salaries report

The report states the recession hasn't badly affected higher education.

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

The report, titled "On the Brink: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession," encourages faculty members to take action to ensure cuts to higher education funding don't drastically affect education.

The report warns the true consequences of the economic recession have yet to be seen.

"On paper, aggregate faculty salaries for this year look pretty good, since inflation is suddenly at its lowest level in half a century," the report's lead author Saranna Thornton said. "But it won't be until we have next year's data that we can begin to assess the true consequences of the recession of 2008 on higher education."

Thornton, who is chairwoman for AAUP's Committee on the Economic Status of the Profession, said faculty members across the country got lucky and received a slight increase in salary this year because universities and colleges didn't foresee a dip in inflation rates.

"Universities and colleges were accounting for the inflation trend to continue to seven percent through this year, when it actually sank to just 0.1 percent," Thornton said. "So faculty is fortunate inflation rates decreased and allowed for a slight salary increase, but this won't hold."

Thornton said faculty members should stand up for their interests but she doesn't want it to seem as if they're trying to take more money from students' pockets.

"I don't want people to think faculty members are trying to bilk students out of their money because we're obviously not in this profession for the money," Thornton said. "If we wanted to get rich we wouldn't be in education, we'd be working somewhere other than in universities and colleges."

The report also calls for faculty to have a role in decisions made on cutbacks and institutional spending to make sure education is affected minimally by the tight economic situation many universities and colleges are in.

"Obviously, universities have to examine their budgets and save money," Thornton said. "But faculty members need to have a voice when it comes to where those cuts are made. It's important that cuts not be made to instructional spending, which is important to education."

The report also shows a growing trend in the number of faculty members hired on a part-time bias.

"Probably the most salient feature of the higher education landscape in the last three decades has been the increasing insecurity of faculty employment," an AAUP news release stated. "More than half of all faculty members are now hired on a part-time basis, one course at a time, most often with no job security and no benefits."

The report also studied the disparity between male and female faculty members at the level of professor.

"There are four male professors for every female professor on average across the country, despite the fact that women earn roughly 50 percent of Ph.Ds," Thornton said.

The report on faculty salaries and the economic status of college professors can be found on AAUP's Web site.

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