MU faculty salaries less than average, new study finds

Thursday, April 25, 2013 | 1:11 p.m. CDT; updated 9:17 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 25, 2013
The AAUP annual faculty salary survey looks at the average salaries that higher education institutions paid faculty members during the 2012-13 academic year. The Missourian analyzed faculty pay for the 32 public universities that are members of the Association of American Universities and participated in the survey. Among these universities, MU ranked No. 31 for full professors and No. 32 for associate and assistant professors. This chart compares MU with the 10 highest-paying public AAU members.

COLUMBIA — MU Chancellor Brady Deaton has said he wants to make MU faculty salaries competitive with other public Association of American Universities members. Recent comparisons show MU's current faculty salaries are at or near the bottom of that group.

A survey conducted by the American Association of University Professors looked at how more than 1,100 higher education institutions paid full-time faculty whose main role is instruction during the 2012-13 academic year. This includes tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty.

About the survey

The survey was published in the American Association of University Professors March-April issue of Academe

Amounts for salary averages were rounded to the nearest hundred. MU's results pertain to 1,201 faculty members. MU did not provide data for instructor salaries.

In its submission, MU excluded School of Medicine faculty, per the survey's instructions, and did include nursing, law and health professions faculty, MU Institutional Research programmer analyst Ann Patton said.

Salaries of part-time or adjunct faculty members and medical faculty were excluded from the survey's data, said Samuel Dunietz, a research associate for the American Association of University Professors. 

Two public AAU members, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Washington, did not participate in the survey and were not included in the public AAU averages.

The Missourian analyzed the results of this survey, pulled out the specific salary findings for public AAU members and compared those to reported salaries for MU faculty members.

The survey broke down salaries into four categories: full professors, associate professors, assistant professors and instructors.

In its submission of data, MU excluded School of Medicine faculty, per the survey's instructions. MU did include nursing, law and health professions faculty, MU Institutional Research programmer analyst Ann Patton said.

Compared with the other public AAU members, MU pays associate and assistant professors the least. MU is second-to-last in pay for full professors — the University of Oregon is the only surveyed public AAU member that pays these professors less.

MU's average salaries are higher than they were for the 2011-12 academic year, and with the exception of 2003, average faculty salaries at MU have increased each year since 2000, according to survey results.

During 2012-13, full professors earned an average of $3,300 more, and associate and assistant professors each earned an average of $2,100 more than they did in the 2011-12 academic year.

But MU's average salaries are still significantly short of other public AAU members' salaries. Of the 32 public AAU members that participated in the survey, the average salaries and their MU comparisons are:

  • $134,800 for full professors, compared with $117,200 at MU.
  • $91,300 for associate professors, compared with $78,000 at MU.
  • $80,300 for assistant professors, compared with $63,800 at MU.

At an April 9 general faculty meeting, Deaton presented plans to increase faculty salaries in the next several years as part of a hiring strategy to attract and retain top faculty members.

Making salaries more competitive with other public AAU universities is a priority, he said at the meeting.

To increase the salary pool for both faculty and staff for the 2013-14 academic year, MU Budget Director Rhonda Gibler said at the April 9 meeting that she is encouraging departments to see how they can reallocate money in their budgets to put more money toward salaries and wages.

The annual faculty and staff raise process doesn't specifically address MU's long-term faculty salary goals but is crucial for MU to maintain its current position among public AAU institutions' faculty salaries, Gibler said in an email.

Increasing salaries is also a top priority for University of Missouri System employees, according to a 2010 survey.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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Jimmy Bearfield April 25, 2013 | 3:29 p.m.

What is the cost of living in each of the other schools' communities? In some places, a salary of $134,800 is worth a lot less after property taxes, sales taxes and other local costs than $117,200 after Columbia Public Schools, et al get their pounds of flesh.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 25, 2013 | 6:27 p.m.

Well, this is fun.

Think it's true.....or just propaganda?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 26, 2013 | 4:59 a.m.

If Cost of Living were to be the prime criterion, faculty at UMKC and UMSL might argue they should receive the highest salaries in this so-called "System," while faculty at MS&T would be at the bottom. (Lots of luck attracting and maintaining Engineering faculty.)

Each time I read yet another article such as this one I'm reminded of a cartoon in a business magazine years ago.

The cartoon showed a group of people picketing a business. Each person carried a sign that said, "Pay us what we're worth!"

Standing in the door of the business was a guy who also held a sign; it said, "I can't, there's a minimum wage law."

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 26, 2013 | 12:38 p.m.

I notice that the graphic has as one of its listings our old friends from Georgia Tech. Tech is the closest thing, as a campus, to Missouri S&T in University of Missouri System.

Do you think the MS&T faculty would like having their salaries raised to the levels shown for Georgia Tech? Surely not.

(Report Comment)
Katie Yaeger April 26, 2013 | 9:46 p.m.

Hi, I'm the reporter on this story. The AAUP survey, from which this data was pulled, did not take cost of living into consideration, but that could be something to look at if we continue reporting on it. Thanks for your suggestion!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 28, 2013 | 5:46 a.m.

Katie Yaeger:

While cost of living is an important consideration for most persons, it shouldn't be allowed to confuse the primary issue: that salaries - FOR THE ENTIRE FOUR-CAMPUS "SYSTEM" - are obviously out of line with those of other public institutions.

As for future articles on this subject, when is the Missourian going to present it as befitting the entire university and not just MU?

The last year this university had only one campus was 1869 (and "1869" is not a typo).

(Report Comment)

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