On the financial situation by liaoqinmei


									On the
The Annual Report
on the Economic Status
of the Profession,


                       n December 2008, the National Bureau of Economic Research—the
                       recognized arbiter of the beginning and end of U.S. recessions—
                       pronounced that the current recession had begun in December 2007.
                       Since then, the U.S. economy has lost more than three million jobs,
                       personal income has dropped, individual bankruptcy declarations
               have skyrocketed, more than a trillion dollars of national wealth have melted
               away, and our output of goods and services has declined sharply.
                  One of the first acts of the new Congress and presidential administration
               was to implement a fiscal stimulus plan that combines tax cuts and new gov-
               ernment spending. Because policy makers recognize that a well-educated
               population is a fundamental determinant of long-term economic growth,
               they have included funding for higher education in the federal stimulus
               measure. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan argued that in the long run,
               “the best way [to] bring ourselves back to economic health and really
               strengthen the economy is to have an educated workforce. So these invest-
               ments are tremendously important, and we have to continue to push very,
               very hard to make sure that happens.”
                  Maintaining an outstanding system of higher education requires invest-
               ments in the faculty members who cultivate the human capital upon which
               our economy’s recovery and future growth will depend. Sadly, the record of
               the last three decades shows that, when measured by the inflation-adjusted
               salaries paid to college faculty members or by the proportion of college cours-
               es taught by full-time tenure-line faculty, our nation is failing at this task. We
               therefore call on our faculty colleagues to take an active role in collaborative
               decision making on institutional spending decisions, to examine critically
               the claims of administrations and legislatures alike regarding the financial
               situation of higher education, and to raise questions about the inevitability
               and the advisability of cuts to faculty salaries and positions.

               An Unusual Year
               As this report went to press, still months before the end of the academic year,
               the effects on higher education of changes in the national (and global) eco-
               nomic context were not yet fully evident. Typically, the analysis presented
               here would summarize the data collected in the AAUP’s annual survey of fac-
               ulty salaries, interpret those data in the light of ongoing trends in compensa-
               tion and other economic indicators, and suggest developments to watch for in
               the future. This year is anything but typical, however.
                  After six years of stagnation, inflation-adjusted full-time faculty salaries
               are up on average for 2008–09 because inflation is running at its lowest rate
               in decades. Yet faculty members around the country—all of us, really—
               approach the coming year with trepidation. The systematic data we have been
               able to assemble do not reflect the ominous economic reality that is now con-
               fronting colleges and universities across the land.
                  As noted in table A, the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from
               December 2007 to December 2008 was only 0.1 percent. The table does not
               reach far enough back to show the last time that particular measure was so
               low—1953–54, in the midst of the first Eisenhower administration. And yet,
               as figure 1 illustrates, the extremely low rate of inflation has not translated
               directly into increased purchasing power for faculty salaries.

WWW.AAUP.ORG                                                 MARCH–APRIL 2009 15
                         FIGURE 1
                         Consumer Price Index, December 2007 through December 2008

                                                                            Actual             “Stable”           “Mirror”

  Consumer Price Index





                                 Dec.        Jan.       Feb.       Mar.       April      May       June        July       Aug.      Sept.    Oct.      Nov.     Dec.
                                (2007)                                                             Month                                                       (2008)

                                 Note: Figure shows actual Consumer Price Index values for December 2007 through December 2008, along with two hypothetical
                               distributions (“stable” and “mirror”) that would produce the same end result.
                               Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.

   This annual report has for decades                                     almost imperceptibly throughout the                 but flat. Overall prices rose by nearly
used the December-to-December CPI                                         period. Had this been the case, faculty             5 percent in the first half of the year
figure as a standard measure, since                                       purchasing power would have in-                     and did not begin to drop sharply
that figure covers the change in                                          creased, since individuals would like-              until October. Further, prices for
prices from the middle of one aca-                                        ly have received raises at the begin-               some major components of the over-
demic year to the middle of the next.                                     ning of a new academic year exceed-                 all CPI rose significantly during the
It corresponds roughly to the point                                       ing the minimal rate of inflation. Pur-             period: food and beverages were up
at which survey data are submitted                                        chasing power would have fared even                 5.8 percent, housing was up 2.4 per-
to the AAUP each year. Figure 1                                           better in the hypothetical “mirror-                 cent, and medical care was up 3.0
graphs three different trend lines for                                    image” scenario depicted by the                     percent. Among major categories, only
the CPI over the course of the twelve                                     lower trend line on the chart. In that              transportation costs fell, as energy
months from December 2007                                                 situation, prices would have declined               prices plummeted in the second half
through December 2008: one line                                           during the spring and reached their                 of the year after reaching record
depicts the actual trend and the                                          lowest point in midsummer, when                     highs. Thus, even though the change
other two depict hypothetical trends                                      faculty salaries tend to be stretched a             in prices measured by the overall CPI
for comparison. All three produce                                         little more than usual. Prices would                was minuscule, faculty consumers
the same end measurement, yet                                             have begun to climb again only as                   can hardly be blamed for failing to

their effects on faculty purchasing                                       new salaries were kicking in for the                notice that silver lining amid the
power are very different. With a                                          new academic year.                                  darkening clouds on the horizon.
hypothetical flat, or “stable,” middle                                        The actual price trend, however,                   Given recent trends, it is little
trend line, prices would have risen                                       was the upper line, and it is anything              wonder that faculty are finding no

WWW.AAUP.ORG                                                                                                                                                  MARCH–APRIL 2009
          grounds for optimism in what will          nearly every day. The coverage here       approved a plan in early December
          likely be a one-time bump in aver-         is not exhaustive, but meant to illus-    that would require employees of the
          age salaries. Overall average full-        trate the variety of actual situations.   state university system to be fur-
          time faculty salaries had barely kept         In some states, public college and     loughed up to five days each before
          pace with inflation in the previous        university faculty members are sub-       June 30. The plan is expected to
          six years. After adjusting for infla-      ject to the same salary and hiring        save $16 million in salary costs.
          tion, the “real” average salary for a      freezes, benefit cuts, dismissals, and    Campuses will determine their own
          full-time faculty member in                furloughs that are being applied to       individual plans, and lower-paid
          2007–08 was only 1.2 percent high-         other state employees as governors        employees might be exempted. Both
          er than it was in 2001–02. And even        and legislatures struggle to balance      Clemson University and the Medical
          that modest rise was not evenly dis-       budgets in the face of revenue short-     University of South Carolina
          tributed across faculty at different       falls. The problem with this short-       announced plans to require unpaid
          types of institutions. The inflation-      sighted approach is that it treats fac-   furloughs of all (Clemson) or some
          adjusted average salary for a full-        ulty members and other higher edu-        (MUSC) of their employees. The
          time faculty member at a public            cation workers only as a “cost” to        South Carolina universities were
          institution was actually lower in          the state, rather than as the engine      responding to their portions of a
          2007–08 than it had been in                for growth they really represent. In      $123 million midyear cut in state
          2001–02. By contrast, the real aver-       other states, the college and univer-     funding for public universities and
          age salary for faculty members at          sity systems have more autonomy           technical colleges.
          private-independent institutions rose      and can make their own decisions             The Spokesman Review of
          by 3.8 percent in those six years, and     regarding which expenditures to cut       Spokane, Washington, reported in
          the overall average at church-related      and which revenue streams to              late January on inquiries by Idaho
          institutions rose 4.5 percent after        expand. Private colleges and univer-      state legislators about the possibility
          controlling for inflation.                 sities are projecting potential double    of using temporary salary cuts for
                                                     effects of declining returns from         faculty at the state’s public universi-
          Bad News                                   endowment investments and expect-         ties as “a way to avoid staff reduc-
          The further challenge we face in           ed decreases in tuition revenues.         tions.” University officials countered
          describing the economic status of          The expectation of declining tuition      that faculty in the state are already
          faculty this year is that we already       revenues appears to be based on           underpaid and that in striving to
          know that the situation is much            projections of increased use of           fulfill the institutions’ mission of
          more difficult than the data can yet       financial aid, however, rather than       education and training, “without
          document, and it is likely to get even     of shrinking enrollments, and facul-      our faculty, we’re not there.” In
          worse before it gets better. In contrast   ty members should demand signi-           Maine, Bowdoin College president
          to “real-time” economic data such          ficant input in assessing such pro-       Barry Mills announced in a January
          as stock prices or interest rates, most    jections before spending decisions        22 letter to the college community
          of the available systematic data on        are finalized. In addition, some          that he was recommending two
          faculty salaries are retrospective.        administrations appear to be taking       years of salary freezes for all faculty
          Salary levels for full-time faculty        advantage of the difficult financial      and most staff members earning at
          were generally set for the 2008–09         situation to implement significant        least $40,000 annually. He cited
          academic year well before the worst        institutional reorganization, with-       weak endowment returns and a
          of the economic news began to hit          out meaningful faculty involve-           decline in charitable giving as the
          home. Thus, the AAUP survey data           ment or analysis of long-term             impetus for the freezes and argued
          reflect a more positive economic pic-      consequences.                             that “given what we read in the
          ture than actually exists. In order to        The Arizona Republic reported          press about other colleges and uni-
          give a sense of the negative develop-      in early February that Arizona State      versities, it is not likely that we will
          ments under way during this aca-           University might be eliminating as        find ourselves significantly disad-
          demic year, we summarize briefly           many as 1,500 positions in this fis-      vantaged in faculty salaries relative

          here a few cases gathered from vari-       cal year and that all 12,000 ASU          to our peers over this period.”
          ous media reports. As this report          employees would be required to take          In a January letter to the Princeton
          goes to press, the situation is very       off fifteen unpaid days before June       University community, President
          fluid, with new announcements              30. The Maryland Board of Regents         Shirley Tilghman indicated that the

MARCH–APRIL 2009                                                                                                    WWW.AAUP.ORG
highest-paid faculty and staff mem-        financial projections used to support       least seventy full-time faculty and
bers would be limited to $2,000 sal-       the proposed measures.                      approximately thirty full-time staff
ary increases for fiscal year 2010. A         Wilberforce University in Ohio is        members; these layoffs, mandated by
committee of three senior administra-      among the institutions at which uni-        an “enrollment emergency,” took
tors must give approval before new         versity administrations have appar-         effect in the middle of a semester. The
positions are advertised and will          ently implemented actions unilater-         university’s official statement assert-
review all ongoing searches. These         ally. In November 2008, the interim         ed that the institution “is not declar-
measures are presented as necessary        president announced to faculty and          ing financial exigency, . . . is not in
in light of an “unprecedented” decline     staff members a series of drastic mea-      financial trouble, [t]here is absolutely
in the value of the university’s en-       sures, purportedly required to address      no financial emergency . . . , and the
dowment. In late November, the             a projected deficit in the current fiscal   University is not in a cash-marginal
Duke Chronicle reported that Duke          year brought on largely by the state of     position.” The layoffs, however, rep-
University would be seeking means          the economy. The reductions in em-          resent nearly one-third of the uni-
other than cuts in faculty compensa-       ployee compensation include retroac-        versity’s full-time faculty.
tion or appointments to reduce ex-         tive salary cuts, involuntary furloughs
penditures. Only about a third of re-      of faculty and staff members, imme-         Value Added
quested faculty searches were to be        diate cessation of retirement contribu-     Higher education’s contribution to an
initiated for the coming year, however,    tions, and the imposition of signifi-       individual’s earning power is well
and decisions on future budgeting          cant increases in health-insurance          known (see figure 2). The rewards of
would be heavily dependent on the          premiums. Faculty and staff repre-          higher education are one reason why
performance of the university’s            sentatives have charged that these          so many families and individuals
endowment.                                 “draconian” changes violate collec-         make sacrifices to obtain a college de-
    Boston University implemented a        tive bargaining agreements and fol-         gree. Data reported by the U.S. Census
hiring freeze at the end of September      low on years of financial misman-           Bureau show that, on average, a per-
2008, is seeking to reorganize some of     agement by the previous university          son who had completed a bachelor’s
its administrative and support services,   administration.                             degree earned almost twice the in-
and has frozen salaries for employees         In California, Governor Arnold           come of a person with only a high
earning more than $150,000. The fis-       Schwarzenegger’s administration             school diploma in 2007. Going on to
cal year 2010 budget currently in-         has proceeded, despite legal chal-          earn a master’s degree raises income
cludes modest salary increases for         lenges, to implement a plan to fur-         again by more than 20 percent, and
faculty and a salary provision for         lough state workers well into 2010.         obtaining a professional degree dou-
current administrative employees. A        Although it became clear that the           bles the salary of a four-year college
salary freeze may be implemented           plan does not apply to employees            graduate. While doctoral education
“if economic conditions worsen,” says      of the state’s public colleges and          typically takes several more years than
BU president Robert A. Brown. For em-      universities, the furloughs and             professional education, the monetary
ployees on the University of Missouri’s    other budget cuts to higher educa-          return to the doctoral degree is sub-
four campuses, various media reports       tion have added to the climate of           stantially less. As people increasingly
indicate that changes in benefits may      uncertainty California faculty              recognize the enormous economic
be in the offing. In addition to hiring    members face. In addition, the              benefits higher education confers,
and salary freezes for 2010 and poten-     funding for thousands of students           more and more are obtaining college
tial furloughs in the future, employ-      who rely on state tuition grants            degrees. Between 1997 and 2007, the
ees are being asked to contribute to       remains insecure.                           number of individuals with bachelor’s
their pension plan for the first time in      The Chronicle of Higher Education        or higher degrees increased by more
the system’s history. Faculty advocates    reported in early February on threats       than fourteen million and the propor-
have questioned whether the financial      to shared governance resulting from         tion of individuals with this level of
decision-making process has been           the economic downturn, citing the           educational attainment rose from a
sufficiently transparent, whether fac-     cases of the Tennessee Board of             quarter of the population to almost a

ulty and staff were provided with an       Regents institutions, the University of     third. Although we cannot quantify
opportunity for input, and whether         South Florida, and Ohio University.         the nonmonetary rewards of higher
other options were considered. They        Also in February, Clark Atlanta             education, the monetary rewards
have requested specific details of the     University announced layoffs of at          unquestionably are substantial.

WWW.AAUP.ORG                                                                                                       MARCH–APRIL 2009
                                         FIGURE 2
                                         Mean Income by Educational Attainment, 1997 and 2007



                 Constant 2007 Dollars

                                                                                                                                                          High School
                                          80,000                                                                                                          Graduate
                                          60,000                                                                                                          Bachelor’s
                                          20,000                                                                                                          Degree

                                                                          1997                                             2007

                                         Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, table P-18.

             The contributions of college and                                    the unemployment rates of individu-                 is why the secretary of education is
          university faculty to national eco-                                    als with less education. A college                  correct to argue that we need to
          nomic well-being are equally dra-                                      degree is not insurance against                     increase our investments in higher
          matic. Commonly cited indicators of                                    being unable to find work, but it                   education—and, we would argue,
          economic health such as unemploy-                                      provides insulation from the pain of                especially in the faculty members
          ment, gross domestic product, and                                      an economic downturn.                               who provide that education.
          personal income are all affected by                                       College professors are also respon-
          national levels of educational                                         sible for generating an enormous                    Crashing Endowments
          attainment. College graduates have                                     amount of our national income.                      Faculty members brave enough to
          unemployment rates substantially                                       Census Bureau data indicate that                    open their recent quarterly statements
          below those of individuals with less                                   between 1997 and 2007, the propor-                  from TIAA-CREF or other investment
          education—during both economic                                         tion of total individual income                     companies understand the melt-
          expansions and recessions. Figure 3                                    earned by people with associate’s or                down in the value of their institu-
          shows December unemployment                                            higher degrees rose from 49 to 57                   tions’ endowment portfolios. Just as
          rates in the United States between                                     percent. Given that individuals with                smaller retirement nest eggs mean
          1999 and 2008. During and after the                                    high school diplomas or less are                    lower standards of living for future
          2001 recession, the unemployment                                       taught by individuals who have                      retirees, smaller endowment portfo-
          rate of college graduates rose less                                    earned at least bachelor’s degrees,                 lios mean lower levels of spending
          than that of people with lower levels                                  virtually all of the individual income              for those colleges and universities
          of educational attainment. And in                                      earned in the United States is tied at              that rely on their endowments for a

          the current recession, while the                                       least indirectly to the work of college             significant proportion of their oper-
          unemployment rate of college grad-                                     and university faculty—the teachers                 ating budgets—with the difference
          uates has increased in line with the                                   of the college graduates and the                    that the effects on those colleges and
          overall trend, it remains well below                                   teachers of everyone’s teachers. That               universities are immediate.

MARCH–APRIL 2009                                                                                                                                         WWW.AAUP.ORG
                                FIGURE 3
                                December Unemployment Rate by Educational Attainment, 1999–2008


  Unemployment Rate (Percent)

                                 8                                                                                                                              Less Than High
                                                                                                                                                                School Graduate
                                                                                                                                                                High School Graduate
                                                                                                                                                                Some College
                                                                                                                                                                Bachelor’s or Higher



                                       1999        2000       2001      2002        2003          2004    2005       2006       2007       2008
                                     Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey.

   The effects are immediate because                                             ing 4.5 percent of its endowment                           Between 1997 and 2007, charitable
higher education institutions in-                                                each year could expect to see its total                contributions to colleges and univer-
creasingly use endowment income to                                               nest egg continue to grow, even                        sities increased by an average of 6.5
fund current operating expenses.                                                 without seeking new gifts.                             percent a year, according to the
Standard operating procedure is to                                                  In the last few decades, as colleges                Council for Advancement and
determine the average size of the en-                                            and universities increasingly em-                      Support of Education. And data col-
dowment during the prior three fiscal                                            phasized fund-raising and profession-                  lected by the Council for Aid to
years and spend approximately 4.5                                                al management of institutional in-                     Education show that the combina-
percent of that amount each year. So                                             vestment portfolios, dozens of en-                     tion of rising personal income and
if XYZ University had an endowment                                               dowments have increased dramati-                       rising stock values allowed U.S. col-
worth $110 million in fiscal year                                                cally. The Chronicle of Higher                         leges and universities to raise $29.8
2008, $100 million in fiscal year 2007,                                          Education lists seventy-nine institu-                  billion in the 2007 fiscal year, the
and $90 million in fiscal year 2006,                                             tions that have engaged in fund-                       highest total ever recorded. Addi-
in fiscal year 2009 it would put about                                           raising campaigns of $1 billion or                     tionally, the proportion of total uni-
$4.5 million from the endowment                                                  more with closing dates between 1992                   versity budgets covered by state
into the general operating budget.                                               and 2015, forty-seven of which have                    appropriations has declined, push-
While spending rates vary across                                                 already achieved their goal. And                       ing public institutions to join private
institutions, the range is remarkably                                            while the skills of investment man-                    colleges and universities in making
small, from about 4.2 to 5.0 percent.                                            agers vary dramatically, in the year                   concerted attempts to increase their
   Because the inflation-adjusted                                                ending June 30, 2007, colleges and                     endowments. Indiana University,

average return on the stocks included                                            universities with endowments valued                    Ohio State University, the University
in the Dow Jones Industrial Average                                              at $1 billion or more experienced                      of Kentucky, the University of
was about 10 percent a year between                                              average gains of 21.3 percent in                       Michigan, the University of North
1929 and 2007, an institution spend-                                             their market value.                                    Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the

WWW.AAUP.ORG                                                                                                                                                                 MARCH–APRIL 2009
          University of Virginia have all been                lege and university wealth, which at                      At these wealthiest private institu-
          engaged in capital campaigns of $1                  an average spending rate of 4.5 per-                   tions, endowment income makes up
          billion or more.                                    cent amounts to lost revenues of                       between 18 and 51 percent of the
             The current economic downturn                    more than $4.25 billion.                               operating budget. Even though the
          and financial crisis have weighed                       The effects of lost endowment rev-                 majority of the institutions reporting
          heavily on endowment returns,                       enues will be most concentrated at                     endowment losses since June 30
          bringing long-term growth trends to                 private institutions, which typically                  have indicated they are not plan-
          a halt. The Dow Jones Industrial                    have the largest endowments per                        ning to reduce spending rates from
          Average peaked in October 2007 with                 full-time-equivalent (FTE) student.                    their endowments, at current spend-
          a market close above 14,000 points.                 Additionally, private colleges and                     ing rates, each $10 million loss in
          Thirteen months later, the Dow                      universities typically do not have                     endowment income translates into
          Jones closed well below 8,000 points,               access to direct state funding and so                  $450,000 of lost operating funds.
          and it has dipped even lower this                   rely more heavily on their endow-                      These are losses for which there will
          spring. According to the 2008                       ments to finance spending. Table B                     be few sources of replacement. The
          endowment survey conducted by the                   includes data on the size and contri-                  small consolation for institutions
          National Association of College and                 bution to the operating budget of                      that missed the opportunity to ratch-
          University Business Officers, the                   endowments at some of the institu-                     et up their fundraising operations
          average return on the endowments                    tions with the largest endowments                      between the recessions of 2001 and
          of the 791 responding colleges and                  (measured by endowment per FTE                         2007–09 is that endowment spend-
          universities was -3.0 percent in the                student). While some public univer-                    ing made up a tiny portion of their
          year ended June 30, 2008, still                     sities have enormous endowments                        operating budgets, so they will not
          months before some of the most sig-                 (for example, the University of Texas                  be much affected by the market
          nificant declines in investment                     system at $16.3 billion), they also                    meltdown as they move through
          returns. A preliminary follow-up sur-               have large student bodies. As table B                  their budget planning processes in
          vey of 435 institutions found that                  illustrates, the endowments at top                     the next few fiscal years.
          endowment values dropped an aver-                   private universities are typically ten
          age of 22.9 percent between July and                times the size of those at the largest                 Contingency
          December 2008. Extrapolated to the                  public universities when measured                      This annual economic report, along
          entire sample, this represents a dis-               in the context of the number of FTE                    with numerous other AAUP state-
          appearance of $94.5 billion in col-                 students.                                              ments and reports, has regularly

                                                                                 TABLE B
            Institutions with the Largest Endowment Value per Full-Time-Equivalent Student, as of June 30, 2008
                                                                                                       Average                   Average Contribution of
                                                                                                    Endowment per                Endowment and Gifts to
           Institutions                                                                              FTE Student                    Operating Budget

           Public: Virginia Military Institute;* University of Virginia; University
           of Michigan; University of Texas system;* University of California,
           San Francisco; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;* College
           of William and Mary; Texas A&M University;* University of Pittsburgh;
           Georgia Institute of Technology*                                                            $123,921.70                             8.93%

           Private: Princeton University; Yale University; Harvard University;*
           Pomona College; Stanford University; Massachusetts Institute of
           Technology; Swarthmore College; Rice University; Grinnell College;
           Williams College                                                                          $1,313,077.60                           40.52%

           *Data on contribution of endowment and gifts to operating budgets are from 2007–08. For other institutions, data are for 2008–09.
             Sources: National Association of College and University Business Officers, 2008 Endowment Study, tables 47 and 48; individual
           institutional financial statements and fact books.

MARCH–APRIL 2009                                                                                                                                WWW.AAUP.ORG
documented—and decried—the               Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Idaho.       may still be in the position of freez-
increasing use (and abuse) of con-       The Los Angeles Times reports that       ing or slowing their hiring of full-
tingent faculty appointments. The        cutbacks and enrollment caps at          time tenure-track faculty and conse-
most recent comprehensive figures        California public universities “are      quently may be increasing their use
on faculty employment status from        shifting thousands of applicants into    of part-time faculty. In some cases,
the U.S. Department of Education,        a community college system already       this means asking current part-time
for fall 2007, are depicted in figure    swamped by newly unemployed              faculty to teach more courses; in
4. These data show that the propor-      adults and students priced out of        others, it means appointing more
tion of faculty members employed in      other schools.” Applications for next    part-time faculty.
contingent categories—those in           fall also appear to be surging. Both        Institutions releasing contingent
part- or full-time non-tenure-track      Duke University and the University       faculty members now may very well
positions—has expanded dramati-          of California system reported record     move next to limit their instruction-
cally over the last three decades.       numbers of applications, and a pop-      al costs by replacing permanent fac-
   The overuse of contingent faculty     ular college-application Web site        ulty with lower-paid and less secure
appointments deprives students of        experienced unanticipated delays as      contingent workers. To the extent
the highest-quality learning experi-     a result of increased traffic on         that they do so, their approach will
ence. The academic freedom of con-       December 30 and 31, ahead of a           have the same negative effect as the
tingent instructors is compromised       January 1 deadline. Even selective       approach of institutions that are
by the nature of their appointments,     private institutions are seeing in-      decreasing their use of tenure-track
and the low wages these instructors      creased applications: the New York       faculty: continuing and even accel-
receive often mean that they are         Times reported in November on in-        erating the trend depicted in figure 4
unavailable to students outside of       creases in early-decision applications   toward increased use of contingent
class time. Although they are quali-     at Bowdoin College, Dartmouth            faculty appointments. Both approach-
fied, competent, and caring teachers,    College, Haverford College, the          es are based on the same fundamen-
contingent faculty members gener-        Massachusetts Institute of Technology,   tally flawed premise mentioned ear-
ally are not compensated for partici-    Middlebury College, Northwestern         lier: that faculty members represent
pation in discussions about curricu-     University, Pomona College, Saint        only a cost, rather than the institu-
lum or pedagogy and are not pro-         Olaf College, Stanford University,       tion’s primary resource. Both are
vided with funding to enable them        and Wesleyan University.                 bad for academia and represent a
to keep current with developments           College and university adminis-       disinvestment in the nation’s intel-
in their disciplines—let alone to        trators are taking divergent ap-         lectual capital precisely at the time
support their own development as         proaches to addressing this combi-       when innovation and insight are
scholars. With more than two-thirds      nation of decreasing revenues and        most needed.
of the faculty now in insecure and       increasing demand for instruction:          The following sampling of media
temporary academic employment,           some are focusing on cutting expen-      reports illustrates the varying
who will lead the future innovation      ditures, others on meeting the           impacts of the current economic sit-
so critical to our national economy      increased demand as cheaply as pos-      uation on contingent faculty.
and society? The question for the        sible. Institutional administrators         An early February article in the
moment, however, is what impact          whose focus is on cutting costs are      Tucson Citizen reported on the par-
the current economic recession is        taking advantage of the contingent       adoxical situation at Arizona’s three
having on faculty employment.            aspect of contingent appointments        public universities, which are facing
   At the same time that colleges and    by dismissing or not renewing part-      both “record enrollment and budget
universities are seeking to trim their   time faculty members. Although the       cuts.” The institutions are respond-
spending in response to decreases in     insecurity of contingent positions       ing with a combination of larger
state funding or endowment income,       has always been a problem, the           classes, heavier teaching loads for
many institutions are facing in-         effects of reliance on contingent fac-   existing faculty, and increases in
creasing enrollments. In early           ulty are redoubled in this time of       contingent faculty hiring. The news-

February, the Associated Press re-       widespread economic distress. On         paper quoted Fred Boice, president of
ported spring semester enrollment        the other hand, college and univer-      the board of regents, as saying,
increases at community colleges in       sity administrators focusing on the      “With the ever-increasing student
New Hampshire, Maine, South              demand posed by rising enrollments       body and with declining state

WWW.AAUP.ORG                                                                                                 MARCH–APRIL 2009
                          FIGURE 4
                          Trends in Faculty Status, 1975–2007
                          (All Degree-Granting Institutions, National)

                                                                   Full-Time Tenured                            Full-Time Tenure-Track
                                                                   Full-Time Non-Tenure-Track                   Part-Time

                                   36.5%                                                       36.4%


                                                           30.2%                                              30.6%

                                                                                       16.9%                                  16.7%

                                                   13.0%                       13.7%

                                             1975                                1989                                   1995                                 2007
                               Source: U.S. Department of Education, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Fall Staff Survey.

          support, we are restricted in the                            nating thirteen staff positions and                                    2008—as a result, UGA students
          numbers of quality faculty that we                           cutting $2 million in nonpersonnel                                     now spend less than half their class
          can provide to those students. We                            expenses and $2 million from the                                       time in courses taught by full-time
          will therefore at some point either                          temporary faculty budget. It will also                                 professors. University administrators
          have to restrict enrollment in order                         eliminate or reduce funding for                                        say the move toward more part-
          to maintain quality of the educa-                            some specialized programs and                                          timers will continue, at least until
          tional process or we will be forced to                       institutes. No full-time faculty mem-                                  the state’s budget picture improves.
          reduce the quality of that product.”                         bers will be laid off, officials told the                              Governor Sonny Perdue has cut state
             The County College of Morris, in                          Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The                                      appropriations to UGA and other
          New Jersey, will raise its tuition                           same newspaper reported that                                           state universities by about 10 percent
          prices by 6 percent in the fall to help                      Morehouse College officials had                                        and proposes to do the same next
          offset cuts in state and county aid for                      confirmed that twenty-five adjunct                                     year.
          the 2009–10 academic year. The col-                          professors, about a third of the part-                                    The independent student newspa-
          lege’s budget also leaves vacant four                        time faculty members employed                                          per at Northern Kentucky University,
          needed full-time faculty posts, al-                          there, did not have their contracts                                    the Northerner, reported the follow-
          though a 2 percent increase in en-                           renewed for the spring semester.                                       ing in early February:
          rollment this semester is already                            Full-time Morehouse faculty and                                            Northern Kentucky University
          pushing the college to appoint more                          staff members were not affected.                                           is preparing for another
          part-time faculty members.                                   Elsewhere in Georgia, the Athens                                           round of budget cuts. In re-

             In the Atlanta area, in addition to                       Banner-Herald reported that the                                            sponse to a request from the
          the troubles at Clark Atlanta                                University of Georgia increased its                                        Council on Postsecondary
          University, Emory University’s under-                        cadre of part-time faculty members                                         Education, President James
          graduate College at Oxford is elimi-                         by 40 percent between 2002 and                                             Votruba proposed how NKU

MARCH–APRIL 2009                                                                                                                                                             WWW.AAUP.ORG
    would deal with a 6.7 percent         stant by hiring more adjunct facul-     associate to full professor, his or her
    state-funding cut. . . .              ty members. Carol Eaton, Frederick      salary increases.
    According to Votruba’s pro-           Community College’s president, told        Thus, comparing the promotion
    posal, NKU will have fewer            the Gazette, “We have outstanding       experiences of women and men is a
    faculty and staff than com-           faculty and staff, who are being        meaningful way to evaluate their
    parable universities and a            very supportive. Students can still     relative opportunities for advance-
    higher percentage of part-            expect to see the same excellent        ment. An advantage of focusing the
    time and adjunct faculty.             service.”                               comparison on trends in promotion
       In 2008, NKU trimmed $8.3             The increasing use of contingent     rather than trends in salary is that
    million from its budget to            appointments demonstrates that          disciplinary salary differences are
    compensate [for] a $3.3 mil-          higher education institutions are       less likely to be a confounding vari-
    lion loss from the common-            not willing to make a commitment        able. In the absence of institutional
    wealth and increases in fixed         to support their faculties. When        or other hurdles to women’s
    expenses due to new buildings         administrators and legislators alike    advancement, we would expect that
    such as the BOKC and new              are nonetheless calling on their col-   female assistant professors would be
    Student Union. The university         leges and universities to commit to     promoted just as rapidly as male
    eliminated 24 positions,              doing more with less, it is hard to     assistant professors within the same
    closed five university depart-        see how students will not lose out in   institutional category, without
    ments and the Covington               the bargain.                            regard to discipline. To the extent
    Campus, implemented hiring                                                    that they are not, higher education
    freezes and reduced base op-          Women’s Advancement                     as a social institution has not suc-
    erating expenses by $1.25             As we regularly observe in this         ceeded in achieving gender equity
    million.                              annual report, the economic status      over the last three decades.
   Fourteen part-time faculty mem-        of faculty members varies tremen-          The rates at which women enter
bers at Wichita State University’s        dously. Faculty members at private      the academic pipeline have risen
Elliott School of Communication           colleges and universities tend to       over the last several decades. Prior to
received letters in February telling      earn higher salaries, on average,       the passage of the Education
them that they probably would not         than do faculty members at public       Amendments of 1972, it was legal to
be needed for the next academic           institutions. Compensation also         discriminate based on sex in gradu-
year, according to a report in the        varies substantially across institu-    ate education. Graduate programs in
Wichita Eagle. The university has         tional type, with faculty members at    various disciplines could, and did,
not yet received appropriation fig-       doctoral universities (defined broad-   discriminate against potential female
ures for the coming academic year         ly) earning the highest salaries.       PhD candidates by holding them to
but is preparing for cuts of 7 to 11      Disciplinary differences are equally    much higher admissions standards
percent in state assistance. University   sharp, with business faculty paid       and by denying them financial sup-
planners are looking at everything        substantially more than humanities      port in the form of fellowships and
from larger class sizes to a hiring       professors.                             assistantships. In the 1972–73 aca-
freeze.                                      As earlier editions of this report   demic year, it became unlawful
   Carroll Community College and          have noted, the economic status of      under Title IX to discriminate
Frederick Community College in            faculty members also varies tremen-     against women in graduate educa-
Maryland are considering tuition          dously by gender, with men typically    tion, and consequently, the percent-
rate increases and are freezing full-     faring much better than women.          ages of women earning graduate
time faculty hiring and salaries for      Economic studies of the variables       degrees began to increase. According
the coming fall semester. Governor        that influence individual faculty       to the National Center for Education
Martin O’Malley announced in              salaries (such as quality of graduate   Statistics, between 1960–61 and
early February that his proposed          program, publication record, and        2005–06 the proportion of doctorates
$14.4 billion budget will not allo-       discipline) indicate that the most      earned by women rose from just over

cate any increases for community          important variable for predicting       10 percent to nearly 50 percent.
colleges. Although both colleges are      faculty compensation is faculty         Women’s share of professional
expecting increases in enrollment,        rank. As a faculty member moves up      degrees, primarily law and medicine,
they plan to keep class sizes con-        the ladder ranks from assistant to      rose from only 3 percent to 50

WWW.AAUP.ORG                                                                                                 MARCH–APRIL 2009
          percent. And women now earn more                       been entering the assistant professor                   Similarly, a woman’s likelihood of
          than half of all master’s degrees.                     ranks at higher rates than men for                   advancing to the rank of tenured
             Larger numbers of women have                        most of the last decade. Just recently               full professor has improved over
          also been entering the ladder ranks                    women attained parity—entering                       the last decade—with significant
          of academe, but data from the last                     the ranks of assistant professor at                  variation between institutional
          decade show that they have been                        roughly the same rates as men—at                     categories—but women are still less
          more successful at some types of                       both baccalaureate colleges (catego-                 likely than men to reach the top
          institutions than others. Figure 5                     ry IIB) and master’s degree universi-                rank. The AAUP collects and annu-
          shows the ratio of men to women                        ties (category IIA). At doctoral uni-                ally publishes data on the propor-
          faculty at the rank of assistant pro-                  versities, thirteen years ago one                    tion of male and female faculty at
          fessor. (A ratio of 1.0 indicates that                 woman entered the ladder ranks for                   each rank. An examination of these
          the proportions of men and women                       every 1.4 men. Currently, one                        data shows that the percentage of
          are equal. A ratio greater than 1.0                    woman enters the ladder ranks for                    men typically is greater in the upper
          indicates that there are more men                      every 1.2 men. Women are making                      ranks. By contrast, there are fewer
          than women: a ratio of 2.0 means                       progress in getting onto the bottom                  women at each successive stage of
          that twice as many men as women                        rung of the ladder at doctoral uni-                  the faculty career. University of
          are in a given rank, and so on.)                       versities but have yet to achieve pari-              California researchers Mary Ann
          Gender equity for assistant professors                 ty. Although doctoral universities                   Mason and Marc Goulden have doc-
          is most advanced at associate’s                        have improved their records, the                     umented in two previous Academe
          degree colleges (category III institu-                 representation of women in their                     articles how issues related to family
          tions) and least at doctoral universi-                 faculty ranks is not yet anywhere                    formation impede women’s opportu-
          ties (category I). Indeed, at associ-                  near the level of representation                     nities to be promoted at the same
          ate’s degree colleges, women have                      among PhD recipients.                                rates as men.1

                   FIGURE 5
                   Ratio of Men to Women at Assistant Professor Rank,
                   by Institutional Category, 1995–96 to 2008–09






                   0.6                                                                                  Category I (Doctoral)
                                                                                                        Category IIA (Master’s)
                                                                                                        Category IIB (Baccalaureate)
                                                                                                        Category III (Associate’s with Ranks)


                          1995–96   1996–97   1997–98   1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01   2001–02   2002–03   2003–04   2004–05   2005–06    2006–07   2007–08   2008–09
                                                                                    Academic Year
                         Source: AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey.

MARCH–APRIL 2009                                                                                                                                  WWW.AAUP.ORG
   Figure 6 illustrates the impact of                  woman full professor in community                    tion as a “continuing disaster.”
men’s and women’s differing rates of                   colleges. Thirteen years later, women                Although higher education has
promotion on the gender ratio                          have achieved virtual parity with                    sometimes benefited from minor
among full professors during the last                  men.                                                 economic downturns that raise
decade. In the 1995–96 academic                           The good news here is that                        college enrollments without produc-
year, there were approximately seven                   women are achieving greater rates                    ing substantial declines in other
men full professors for every woman                    of success in moving up the faculty                  sources of revenue, the current situ-
full professor at doctoral universities.               career ladder. The sad news is that                  ation is an economic “tsunami” for
This year, there are fewer than four                   more than thirty-five years after sex                academia.
men full professors for every woman                    discrimination in graduate educa-                       Academia is a low-lying island
full professor. Between 1995–96 and                    tion was made unlawful, women                        amid the current economic turbu-
2008–09, master’s degree universi-                     have achieved parity with their male                 lence. Yet even in this difficult situa-
ties and baccalaureate colleges both                   peers at the highest academic ranks                  tion, spending priorities must reflect
improved their records in promoting                    only in community colleges. Women                    our institutional mission to provide
women: the ratio of male to female                     can succeed in the senior faculty                    a societal benefit. Like the larger
full professors dropped during the                     ranks, but substantial impediments                   economy, we are on the brink, and
period by half, from four men for                      to their advancement still exist.                    it will be critically important for
each woman to just over two.                                                                                faculty members to participate fully
Women have experienced the great-                      Conclusion                                           in the difficult budget decisions to
est levels of equity in full professor                 The U.S. economy is experiencing its                 come. They must insist on full
rank at community colleges. In the                     worst contraction in twenty-six                      access to information, and take a
1995–96 academic year, there were                      years. President Obama has charac-                   critical look at claims about the
two men full professors for each                       terized the current economic situa-                  need for immediate actions that will

          FIGURE 6
          Ratio of Men to Women at Professor Rank,
          by Institutional Category, 1995–96 to 2008–09


                                                                                                         Category I (Doctoral)
                                                                                                         Category IIA (Master’s)
                                                                                                         Category IIB (Baccalaureate)
                                                                                                         Category III (Associate’s with Ranks)




               1995–96   1996–97   1997–98   1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01   2001–02   2002–03   2003–04   2004–05   2005–06   2006–07   2007–08   2008–09
                                                                         Academic Year
              Source: AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey.

WWW.AAUP.ORG                                                                                                                                     MARCH–APRIL 2009
          result in further demands on already      Broome Community College, State
          strained human resources. Decisions       University of New York; and Ronald
          about salaries, reductions in faculty     G. Ehrenberg (Labor Economics),
          positions and academic programs,          Cornell University, consultant and
          and changes in the employment             former chair.
          conditions of contingent faculty will
          affect the quality of the education we    SARANNA THORNTON
          can offer for years to come, and we       (Economics)
          must ensure that the choices we           Hampden-Sydney College, and
          make are good ones.                       Chair, Committee on the Economic
                                                    Status of the Profession
          This report is possible only because      Note
          of the team efforts of numerous peo-        1. Mary Ann Mason and Marc
          ple. Faculty compensation data were       Goulden, “Do Babies Matter? The
          collected, compiled, and tabulated        Effect of Family Formation on the
          by the AAUP research office. John W.      Lifelong Careers of Academic Men
          Curtis, director of research and pub-     and Women,” Academe 88
          lic policy, is responsible for the data   (November–December 2002): 21–27,
          collection and was the primary            and “Do Babies Matter (Part II)?
          author of the sections on the current     Closing the Baby Gap,” Academe 90
          fiscal crisis and the continuing          (November–December 2004): 10–15.
          increase in use of contingent faculty
          appointments. His ability to focus on
          key economic issues of importance
          to faculty, meticulous analysis of
          data, and good cheer through the
          writing of multiple drafts of this
          report were essential to the process.
          Research assistant Michael Kinsella
          provided invaluable aid in the col-
          lection of faculty salary data. We
          also are extremely grateful to the
          hundreds of institutional representa-
          tives who take the time each year to
          respond to our annual survey.
          Current members of the AAUP’s
          Committee on the Economic Status
          of the Profession also weighed in
          with helpful comments and sugges-
          tions regarding this report.
          Committee members are Steven
          London (Political Science),
          Brooklyn College, City University of
          New York; Ann Mari May
          (Economics), University of
          Nebraska–Lincoln; James Monks

          (Economics), University of
          Richmond; Ronald L. Oaxaca
          (Economics), University of Arizona;
          Richard Romano (Economics),

MARCH–APRIL 2009                                                                         WWW.AAUP.ORG

To top