The average salary for all ranked faculty at the 35 AAU public institutions is $96,382, according to the 2009-10 Report on the Economic Status of the Profession from the American Association of University Professors.
At the top of the list of AAU rankings in 2009-2010 is the University of California, Los Angeles, with an average salary of $125,365 for all ranked professors.
MU, though ranked lower than all other Big 12 schools in the AAU, isn't completely alone; KU and Nebraska are also ranked near the bottom of the list.
KU ranks No. 32 for all ranked faculty ($88,100), No. 29 for full professors ($116,900), No. 31 for associate professors ($79,300) and No. 33 for assistant professors ($65,900).
Nebraska is No. 30 for all ranked faculty ($87,300), No. 31 for full professors ($112,000), No. 32 for associate professors ($77,200) and No. 30 for assistant professors ($68,900).
The average for all ranked MU faculty is $81,656, which puts the university in last place. Oregon was the only school that ranked below MU in 2008-09, but it jumped ahead this year. Oregon's average faculty salary is now $82,321.
The data shows that MU also ranked last on the list in salaries for assistant professors ($60,749) and associate professors ($74,114). Salaries for full professors ($110,997) rank No. 34 out of 35 schools.
Salaries for assistant professors were at the bottom of the list for 2008-09, but associate professors were at No. 33 out of 34 schools and full professors were at No. 31. Georgia Tech was added to the list this year, increasing the number of comparative public universities to 35.
A total of 1,069 MU faculty made up the data set, said Ann Patton, a programmer analyst expert for the university. This number does not include instructors, part-time staff or faculty from the medical school.
MU Deputy Provost Ken Dean said the consistently low rankings are due to the state's lower-than-average funding per capita for higher education.
“Missouri ranks between 40 and 50 in terms of funding from the state,” Dean said.
For the 2008-09 academic year, MU faculty members received their highest pay increases since 1998-99, MU Budget Director Tim Rooney said. This year, state budget cuts necessitated a freeze on merit increases.
In a deal between UM System President Gary Forsee and Gov. Jay Nixon, the university budget would not exceed 5.2 percent in fiscal year 2011 if undergraduate in-state tuition remained the same.
At MU, the cut amounts to $10 million. That means the university will receive less money on July 1 than it did in 2001, Rooney said.
“It’s just hard to overcome that $10 million,” he said.
Pay increases are a top priority for MU employees, according to a recent employee benefits survey, but Dean said the university isn’t able to address that issue right now.
“We certainly wish we were in a position to give raises,” he said. “I think it’s important to be able to reward faculty and staff who have been productive, and it’s unfortunate to be in this situation.”
However, university officials were clear that no one is to blame.
“The governor and the legislature are doing all they can to help higher education,” Rooney said.
“The low monetary amount per capita is just a fact of life, but they have really protected higher education in the last year."