Tenured Professors Tend to be Paid Less than at Other Schools

Tenured Professors Tend to be Paid Less than at Other Schools

The 2018 Wake Forest University AAUP Faculty Salary Report, released Feb. 22, shows a distressing trend for Wake Forest College professors of all types. The study is meant to “measure changes in University (Reynolda Campus) and College tenure-track and tenured faculty salaries between 2011-12 and 2016-17.”

While the general trend between July 2011 and July 2016 shows an increase in professors’ salaries (including Wake Forest College professors, associate professors, and assistant professors with variance in the degree of increase), when compared to nine cross-admit universities, the increase in pay tends be less at Wake Forest than at its peer institutions.

The report uses standard analytics to measure and compare institutions, and reports on each level of the pedagogical hierarchy.

“The mean of professors’ salaries, excluding Wake Forest University, is $161,300,” the report says. “Wake Forest’s current professor salary is $149,300. The mean of the cross admits’ Associate Professor salaries is $110,400; $98,500 at Wake Forest University. The mean of the cross-admits’ assistant professor salaries is $92,000; $77,900 at Wake Forest.”

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This disparity in salaries is elucidated in a similar way by comparing the median salaries of Wake Forest professors with that of their institutional peers. The conclusion drawn by comparing the median salaries is similar if not the exact same as comparing the mean. To quote the conclusion from the report itself, “Wake Forest University faculty salaries have lost significant ground with respect to the mean and the median salaries of the cross-admit universities.”

A table compares Wake Forest College faculty salaries to US News and World Report’s best national liberal arts colleges, throwing this notion into an even broader arena of comparison. It draws a similar conclusion to the table comparing mean and median salaries, using a different peer group,

“Wake Forest College faculty salaries at all ranks have lost ground with respect to the median and mean of USN&WR’s best national liberal arts colleges, most significantly at the Associate and Assistant ranks.”

In a concluding data table that attempts to raise the implications of such disparities in salary, the report analyzes the purchasing power of salaries. The conclusion runs a similarly depressing course with respect to Wake Forest faculty. The report concludes, after drawing on data from the Office of Institutional Research.

“In the last two years, the purchasing power of Wake Forest University salaries lag behind both the median and mean of the cross-admits.” The numbers are as follows: for Wake Forest professors, the purchasing power of salaries has increased by 2.5 percent compared to 2.9 percent median increase, and a 3.4 mean increase with in their peers at other institutions. Similarly, for associate professors, there has been a .2 percent decrease in purchasing power compared to a 3.2 percent median increase, and a 2.7 percent mean increase.

Purchasing power of Wake Forest assistant professors has declined by 3.9 percent, compared to a 3.4 percent median increase, and a 4.0 percent mean increase.

The results of such a report have yet to be determined, but the AAUP claims that “as a matter of basic fairness…the Administration and Board of Trustees act to raise College faculty salaries at all ranks by 2021-22 into the top quintile of the COL-adjusted salaries at the 20 best national liberal arts colleges (as defined by the USN&WR or another such survey.)” We shall see if they get their wish.

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