June 3, 2008

U of C professor salaries rank fifth in the nation

University of Chicago professors earn higher salaries than most of their peers, according to a report released by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in April. The average salary for a full-time professor at the U of C during the 2007-08 academic year was $170,800—the fifth highest in the nation. Only professors at Rockefeller University, Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton earn more on average.

The University's high salaries correlate with the University's achievements and individual faculty members' national and international reputations, said Dean of the College John Boyer.

"The University of Chicago has long been one of the four or five top universities in the United States in terms of scholarly reputation and prestige, and one of the top ten universities in the world," Boyer said in an e-mail interview. "It is thus not surprising that our salaries are strongly competitive."

Full-time U of C professors' average salaries are higher than their counterparts at peer institutions such as Columbia University ($162,500), Yale University ($165,100), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($151,600). Full-time professor salaries at all those universities are still far above the national average of $118,444.

According to the study, although many universities are increasing full-time faculty salaries, professors are concerned about the fragile state of the U.S. economy and the fact that raises generally lag behind the inflation rate. Nationally, the average salary

for a full-time professor rose by 3.8 percent this year, but the inflation rate increased 4.1 percent.

The report also noted a gender wage gap for full-time professors at the U of C. Mirroring a trend across the country, the average male U of C professor makes $16,600 more per year than his female counterparts. This is a noticeably larger gap than the $10,808 difference in nationwide averages between genders.

Another concern voiced in the report is the widening gap between professor salaries at public and private universities. Full professors at the top public university in Illinois, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, make $125,700, which is higher than the national public school average but significantly lower than salaries at universities such as U of C and Northwestern.

While the report did criticize private universities for rendering some public universities noncompetitive in attracting renowned professors, Division-I schools were scolded as well. The AAUP found that many universities in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision—formerly known as Division I-A—pay their head football coaches ten times as much they pay senior professors.