The faculty are unhappy

by on July 10, 2013 at 10:24 am in Economics, Education, Uncategorized | Permalink

Here is one recent report of falling salaries in public institutions, and, on the bright side, universities are having trouble filling some of those slots:

Public university professors don’t enter the profession to get rich. But some faculty are having trouble paying bills, and have even qualified for foods stamps, Olson said. “For somebody to go five to seven years beyond college to obtain a Ph.D. degree and to realize that you are in need of federal assistance to make ends meet — and that’s for a tenure-track position –” is devastating.

Adding what some view as insult to injury, a recently published database of public employee salaries shows that some professors earn less than their colleagues at local high schools without doctorates.

Yet how would they feel about actual poor people?  The article focuses on University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and serves up the following numbers:

Faculty salaries averaged $67,000 for full professors; $57,100 for associate professors; and $51,900 for assistant professors during the 2012-13 academic year.

The full article is here.  It remains the case that numerous public universities are falling pretty far behind the curve.

Turkey Vulture July 10, 2013 at 10:27 am

Good.

Incunabulum July 10, 2013 at 10:29 am

I find it hard to believe that someone making $51k a year is having a difficult time making ends meet, let alone qualifies for government assistance.

Its also hard to believe that someone spent a decade or more *paying* into training (and going into debt) for a job that has such a salary.

mavery July 10, 2013 at 10:43 am

That was an average. The distribution is going to be right-skewed. Aside from all of the STEM profs earning 65-80k+ at entry-level, there are “stars” that probably earn 6 figures. This means there are probably a lot of English or History or foreign language profs making like 40K.

I’m still not sure how this qualifies you for food stamps or whatever, (Maybe $200+K in debt from self-funded private undergrad and grad school?) but if you’ve got a PhD, you probably expected a bit more.

Michael July 10, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I think this has more to do with absurdly high definitions of “poor” that we have in the US (hence Tyler’s apropos link to Haiti).

Imagine, some people have to carefully manage debt, and actually live according to a budget. The horror.

Albigensian July 10, 2013 at 2:54 pm

In many states, food stamps (SNAP) are on a sliding scale. That is, below some income level they’re expected to pay for all the food you need. But above that level, up to about 2X as much, they taper off linearly.

So, “eligible for food stamps” probably means, “Qualifies for at least a dollar’s worth.” That’s still not exactly high-income, but it’s a good ways above starving.

Finch July 10, 2013 at 11:10 am

In other shocking news, AA baseball players mostly earn less than $2,000 a month! This despite the fact that David Ortiz makes a lot of money! And despite the fact that professional baseball is a high status activity people work hard for years to get into! AA baseball players sometime earn less than construction workers, who also have to use their muscles in their work and therefore superficially resemble pro athletes!

!!!!

Ape Man July 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm

+1

I am thinking we should give up on the idea that it takes a PHD to teach bachelor level material.

Artie Z. July 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

That idea is already in place. You don’t need a PhD to teach at a community college. Most of the grad students teaching do not have PhDs (I would say “all” but some people get multiple PhDs so they may have one PhD while working on another), and some of those grad students never receive a PhD (due to not passing comprehensive exams or simply not finishing their dissertation). People can also fill adjunct and lecturer positions with “just” a Master’s degree, and at some places I think the bar is even lower for adjunct positions (I believe it is 18 hours of graduate work in the area).

There are plenty of people teaching undergraduate courses without PhDs. I haven’t been at top-tier schools, but where I have been most of the graduate courses are taught by new hires (young PhDs) and established stars or semi-stars in the field, with the undergraduate courses taught by some combination of grad students, adjuncts, lecturers, and older PhDs who aren’t as research active but can still teach.

Bill July 10, 2013 at 10:33 am

I quit feeling sorry for faculty a long time ago. I sometimes teach a graduate school program in the business school, and used to take out a faculty member out to lunch to discuss the class, always paying the bill, and thinking, this guy was poor.

One day my wife looked up his salary on a state database of public employees.

$270k, not including benefits (retirement, healthcare, etc.)

mavery July 10, 2013 at 10:45 am

When I was getting ready to graduate, a guy I know tried to convince me to be a Finance professor. Once you get tenure, he said, you can study whatever you want, and the salaries are easily 6 figures.

Jack PQ July 10, 2013 at 11:29 am

Some fields pay well. Medicine, law, finance, engineering. Starting salaries between 80K and 160K depending on the rank of the university (more for medicine probably). But of course those PhDs could earn 2x, 3x, 5x more in the private sector. Such is not the case for humanities PhDs.

Finch July 10, 2013 at 11:41 am

Is it the case that humanities PhDs with tenure couldn’t earn more in the private sector? I understand that humanities PhDs with tenure earn dramatically less than STEM PhDs with tenure, because their services are fundamentally less important to people with money. But surely they too are accepting some sort of discount in their pay for the privilege of being able to set their own schedule, work on whatever they want, and receive status accolades?

Couldn’t an English Lit prof leave academia and get a raise being employed as a technical writer or working for a magazine or something? Getting tenure is hard, even in soft fields, so they must have some skills that could be gainfully employed by society.

Jack PQ July 10, 2013 at 11:57 am

Evidently not, since universities can get away with paying them much less than STEM/business professors, and still they could drop salaries even more given the glut of humanities PhDs.

Finch July 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Right,but it’s also true that in STEM and business there are many more PhDs than tenured faculty, and that the tenured faculty are paid at a significant discount to their market rate if they were working on things people cared about more rather than indulging their desire for self-direction.

I.e., I understand why STEM and business faculty make much more than other faculty. But in STEM and business, faculty are paid less than they would be in the private sector. As far as I can tell, the same factors that depress STEM and business faculty salaries relative to private sector salaries for the same people also apply in the humanities. These factors act to depress non-technical faculty salaries off a much lower base-private-sector-salary reflecting the less useful skills of these folks, but they still act to depress them, don’t they? I don’t think that a tenured English lit faculty person earns more than that same person would with a private sector job. But I’m not sure and I’m open to being enlightened.

Jack PQ July 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Sorry, I see what you mean. Yes, there are non-monetary benefits to being a professor so other things equal, the English lit professor’s salary must be lower than what she would earn in the private sector. Although the glut of PhDs tells me humanities professors may be overpaid (in terms of supply and demand, not the value of their work however it might be measured).

Nathan Goldblum July 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

I’m a humanities PhD, and the median salary in my field is ~ 83K/year (I make somewhat more with a couple of years experience). So I would consider those salaries very, very low.

Look at the top 10 wage earners at Stevens Point (linked somewhere else in the thread): 2 Bizz/Econ profs, 6 STEMS (incl. one in “paper science”, whatever that is), 1 education prof and 1 sociology prof.

mavery July 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

I’d imagine paper science is akin to materials science, which is both wildly important and (potentially) wildly profitable. It’s basically STEM with a lot of business/manufacturing process knowledge thrown in.

Hillary July 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Wisconsin still has a decent paper manufacturing industry, especially over on the east side of the state. It’s on the decline but the professorship was probably endowed years ago.

prior_approval July 10, 2013 at 11:44 am

Wow, that is more than $100,000 than a certain GMU professor – not that I expect this comment to remain public for long.

But then, GMU has always been pretty second rate, at best.

Ricardo July 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

Reading this blog does not appear to contribute to your happiness. Why do you continue to do it?

wiki July 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I sometimes wonder if commenting is PA’s way of appealing for cheaper medication? Or at least it’s a substitute.

Rahul July 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Noting PA’s prolificity, I often wonder if he’s an organization and not a person. OTOH, it’d be hard to get that consistent bitterness.

Bender Bending Rodriguez July 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Rahul — Python scripts don’t sleep. Well, unless you import time they don’t.

Ricardo July 10, 2013 at 5:25 pm

No Python programmer could be so bitter. JCL, maybe.

Rahul July 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Try compiling Python on a Cray. That made me bitter for a month.

msgkings July 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

He’s pure troll: commenting like he does absolutely contributes to his happiness. And we, the responders, only make him happier. Which makes us dupes. But he’s still a pure, grade A c***

Finch July 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Business school, not economics. Economics is both higher status and less useful, which acts to lower the salaries relative to schools of business.

Cliff July 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm

What’s so funny is that it seems every post by p_a starts with a snide remark about how it will soon be deleted. There must be dozens of such comments sitting in various comment threads, if not into the hundreds.

Ape Man July 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm

I would love to see a comment that got deleted for reasons other than being obvious spam. I am not the most faithful reader, but I have only manged to catch one post being disappeared in all the years I have been following this blog.

msgkings July 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

They delete especially contentious or ad hominem posts all the time. I’ve had a couple of mine deleted. Doesn’t bother me, I usually deserve it.

For me, trolls like p_a are a source of amusement, in their wrongness and certainty and peevishness and sadness. Sometimes I snark back, most of the time I ignore.

GiT July 10, 2013 at 10:37 am

Presumably the one’s in need of federal assistance are not the means or medians…

For reference, the lower bound at Steven’s Point seems to be in the 30-40k range for some Assistant/Associate Professors.

http://post.cr/11C6ZTP Here’s a bit.ly link as the direct link to the search result is rather ugly…

GiT July 10, 2013 at 10:41 am

And here’s system wide, where there are a lot more Assistant Profs at ~25k-30k/yr. (I assume the Full Profs and such down there are there for other reasons).

http://post.cr/15eVlea

Sbard July 10, 2013 at 11:00 am

Man, 25k/yr is barely more than grad student money.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 11:06 am

I doubt grad students in those departments make that much, and if they do, it is because they are doing the professors’ jobs.

mavery July 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm

It’s about right depending on where you are and what you do during the summer.

Though I never felt like I had trouble making ends meet, nor did I qualify for any sort of Federal assistance. (That I know of.)

I imagine the folks that do have kids and a spouse making a similar salary.

Michael July 10, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Thanks for the links. A spot checking the lowest one, Gene Clark, is referred to on the UWSP Sociology facility webpage as retired. Several others are listed as Emeritus. Several of the Assistant Profs are listed as “clinical”, which indicates to me that they probably have clinical responsibilities elsewhere, and the $25k salary is supplemental to their primary income.

Artie Z. July 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm

The term clinical professor may mean something different in health related disciplines, but it is also similar to a lecturer in that research is a small part (perhaps even nonexistent at some campuses) of their job responsibilities. These faculty typically have higher teaching loads and/or teach larger sections of courses. They are also generally contract positions, not tenure-track positions (a 3 or 5 year contract might be typical).

Looking at UW-Stevens Point using the links provided above, it looks like the lowest paid clinical assistant professors do NOT have PhDs, but Master’s degrees.

Rahul July 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm

To be fair, Stevens Point is one of the crappier universities in the UW system (I think). I could be wrong.

GiT July 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I think you are wrong. The article says it’s one of the flagships, and it is not home to the lowest salaries, which are at other locations.

Roy July 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm

The only flagship is UW Madison, Stevens Point isn’t a research university at all, and is well down the informal hierarchy. It doesn’t even grant many Master’s degrees, it is a undergrad school in the woods.

GiT July 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Small colleges in the woods focused on undergraduate education with small class sizes tend to have their own cache.

mavery July 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Which partially explains the salaries. I went to a tiny school on the beach. It was public and the state “honors” college. Bachelor’s only, BAs only…. It might look better on a resume than UF, but I’m certain the median salary for professors was WAY below, say, UF.

Roy July 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm

You’d be right, though I know a few people up there who are not bad, but they are either local in origin or young and, hopefully trying to move on to better things. Last time I was up there they didn’t even have a proper highway sign. The birches are pretty and the cost of living is miniscule.

Urso July 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I initially misread an r as a t, which changed the entire tenor of this comment

Rahul July 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm

No bitches. Only cows.

Norman Pfyster July 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I wouldn’t say it’s crappy, but after UW-Madison, there’s a significant drop-off in the UW system, other than certain select fields.

PLW July 10, 2013 at 10:37 am

“some professors earn less than their colleagues at local high schools without doctorates”.

You’d need to double my salary to convince me to go teach high school.

Skip Intro July 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm

+1

NPW July 10, 2013 at 11:03 am

I might need to work on my trolling (any tips prior approval?) to get a response, but good grief Prof Cowen. Why were you willing to post this and not anything on Maryland/Virgina state professors? Public university professors are the highest paid state workers. The idea that tenured professors aren’t well compensated is completely without merit.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 11:04 am

Relative to human capital and system productivity? They are certainly underpaid, because they are doing a job that destroys their potential productivity, and they are even doing that wrong.

dead serious July 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Yeah. Being a college professors totally saps you of time to read, travel, blog about, say, economics and food, lecture, write books.

Absolutely time-sucking, that tenured university position.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm

You don’t understand what I said. That’s fine.

whatsthat July 10, 2013 at 11:05 am

Highest paid US state worker = Football coach.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 11:06 am

They are celebrities.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 11:09 am

Academia is a bundled good btw. Can we get some economists in here, please?

whatsthat July 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Just pointing out that academics aren’t highly paid. Why so mad bro?

dead serious July 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm

He’s just an all-purpose dick. He can’t help himself. Watch him respond to his responses.

NPW July 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Except they are. Coachs may be at the top, but they are quickly followed by the rest of the university.

GiT July 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm

They’re quickly followed by doctor cum administrators, then administrators, then doctors… Professors are a bit down the line.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm

No, NPW points out hot it was not only poor logic but hackneyed territory.

DS can understand neither of those points.

He’ll also never actually say anything because I will demolish him.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Oh, and go fuck yourself.

Phill July 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm

You’re not really selling your case here, Andrew’.

Jay July 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I’m a tenured business prof in VA. This summer, we received our first raise (2%) since 2007. You think we’re overpaid? I still don’t earn what I made in the private sector 13 years ago. That I don’t mind – I knew the tradeoffs.

What I do mind is that the state of Virginia appears to have changed it’s mind on the implicit contract an employer has with employees – that the going concern will be valued. Virginia has so fallen in its pay relative to other states, we have trouble competing for faculty. The universities in Virginia are simply falling in quality, and will until a new equilibrium is reached. Its sad (as my kids will no doubt go to in-state schools, and UVa is my alma mater), but true.

When I first was looking for a job, I thought it might be neat to take a job abroad – Europe, Australia, New Zealand, something different. After looking at the salaries of those places, I decided against it. Now, my wife and I are looking at those places again. Much of Asia pays more than public schools in the U.S., and Europe is catching up. I can take my entire 403(b) with me, so there’s no penalty in leaving. My guess is we’ll end up jumping ship. Until then, I’m just waiting for the right opportunity.

Michael July 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm

So, let’s see, you have a guaranteed job for life, and received a minor raise at a time when unemployment is high, and average incomes have declined 7% in the US.

BTW, there’s no such thing as an “implied contract”. Contracts are written down and guaranteed by law. What you refer to is an “expectation”, or rather, an “assumption.”

You need to learn to count your blessings.

Jay July 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I have many blessings, and they aren’t limited to my professional life.

That doesn’t change the fact that the state of Virginia has deteriorated in its support for higher education, both in an absolute sense, and relative to its neighbors. It doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. has deteriorated in a relative sense in its support of higher education. I can double my salary in S. Korea, China, Japan, and several other Asian countries. I’m not really interested in going there (which is why they have to pay more). But nice places in central and northen Europe are paying more relative to U.S. salaries than they used to also.

The political debate has moved to how we can make college cheaper. The easiest way, and the most difficult to measure is almost always to reduce the quality of the faculty. As we do, these faculty will go elsewhere. Blessings have nothing to do with it.

Finch July 10, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Demand, meet Supply.

I understand you have some sort of disagreement about price?

Jay July 10, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Yep, Finch hit the nail on the head. That is my point exactly. Whether its the state of Virginia, The U.S. generally, or whomever, when they pay less the better faculty will leave and the quality will go down. I am lucky enough to be in a position that I can leave if I want to, and I have noticed that my wage here in Virginia is less competitive than it used to be. So, I may go.

I’m not angry about this, I understand the forces that are driving it. But, I lament it for myself, and I lament it for the state I’ve called home for so long. For me, it will mean uprooting my family.

But for the state, and for the country, these pay policies mean that intellectual capital is more likely to locate abroad. Virginia, and more broadly the U.S., will be less competitive economically because of this trend.

mike July 11, 2013 at 12:25 am

Jay’s comment relies on the huge unstated and more or less disproven assumption that “intellectual capital” in the form of college professors is worth something. Needless to say as a Virginia resident I really do hope he takes his “intellectual capital” to some other place that’s dumb enough to pay him. If he’d like to suggest otherwise I’d recommend he show us the contributions he thinks make him so valuable.

Another David July 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Jay, as one who has already made the leap, please allow me to recommend Australia.
It’s not so unlike the US. It’s what the US might be like if the US were run by adults.

Jay July 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Hey David, maybe I’ll take you up on that. I turned down an offer in Sydney a decade ago, it was really hard to do, but I chose to stay near family. Now that my kids are a bit older, the distance would be easier, I think.

Mike, I don’t really know what to tell you. I suspect you’ll get your wish in Virginia eventually, and the state will end up looking more like Georgia or Alabama.

My contributions are as both a researcher and a teacher. As a teacher, I have trained many students (multiple dozens with whom I have worked closely) who work on Wall Street. I help place them with my contacts on the Street. I don’t peg you as someone who values what they do, but they pay far more than their fair share of taxes to subsidize everyone else. Certainly that has value. Others of my students have found work at the Fed, and in state banks throughout the Commonwealth. I work primarily with undergraduate students, but their starting salaries average over 60k. three years later, their salaries are much higher. My research focuses on risk management, so it is hard to quantify its value, but I’ve been cited enough to be promoted to full professor, so someone finds it valuable. Some of my techniques are used in industry, and I am often asked to present my work at private sector finance firms. I’ve been cited by both liberal and conservative think tanks in addition to academic journals, as well as the Fed journals. I promise it will be only emotionally that I’ll miss Virginia when the time comes. Professionally, I’ll be fine.

V A August 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Most B-School professors are making a fortune. Starting salaries for Finance Profs in schools like yours and even UMD or GMU is $200K for 9 months. What crap are you giving about raises. Most state employees anywhere haven’t had raises for 6 years now even Federal employees didn’t see any raises for 3 years.

B-School profs are the most highly paid useless lot who don’t add any value to society, only scams to loot the masses. I hope the MBA bubble bursts and you guys are shown the earth.

David July 10, 2013 at 11:12 am

Ironically, the people with PhDs teaching at Stevens Point aren’t ‘qualified’ to teach in public high schools in Wisconsin.

Also, ironically, a married couple teaching high school teachers in Wisconsin makes into the six figures teaching nine months a year, with time left over to complain about Scott Walker’s draconian reforms.

zbicyclist July 10, 2013 at 11:35 am

There’s no ‘ironically’ about it. Different skills are required.

As a side job, I’m an adjunct in a business school. My daughter teaches language arts in an urban middle school. My classroom control challenges are keeping students off Facebook in class. Hers are a bit different. It’s not so much what you know as what you are able to teach that’s important.

Note I’m NOT saying that having a bunch of education courses makes you a good teacher. I am saying that a PhD — a research degree — doesn’t, in iteself, convey teaching skills.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 11:54 am

They don’t get a ton of classroom control training. The skills may be different, but the preclusion is artificial. Someone who can be a professor can certainly pick up the skills that the other person isn’t even taught.

Rahul July 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Professors’ official salary is for 9 months a year too, I think. Technically a Prof. could laze around at home in summer.

Most do get paid for summer but from research grants, I think. That’s another good point; these salaries are probably excluding the percentage they get from grant money.

Jack PQ July 10, 2013 at 12:14 pm

From experience, I can say that yes, 9-mo contracts are common, but this creates misleading information on faculty salary websites: the stated salary is 12/9 times the actual salary, in other words, it is assumed the professor gets full summer support which is not at all a certainty.

Second, it is not easy to get 3 mo of research grant summer support. Most professors get some, but then either teach summer courses, or do not get any money. It is not true that most professors automatically find 3 mo of research summer salary.

Last, “a prof could laze around at home in summer” is not true if they’d like to get tenure and later full professorship! Or if you want to continue publishing so you can get a (non-automatic) pay increase. Or if you get summer support and then work on it all summer. So, maybe 5% of professors laze around at home in the summertime.

Rahul July 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Guess my viewpoint is biased because I was in Engineering. Almost all professors in my department had full summer support via grant funding.

Jack PQ July 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Sorry, my viewpoint is also biased being in social sciences, where (along with humanities) summer research support is hard to come by.
But my point was that during the 3 summer months, either you work and get paid (grant or teaching summer courses), or you relax and do not get paid (actually, negative income since then you need to pay your health care premium as well!), but you cannot get 12 mo salary and 3 mo holidays

mike July 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Maybe try doing something useful then?

V A August 8, 2013 at 10:31 pm

And they make 33% in summer salary. Profs are being paid heftily and many of them are full of themselves.
This bubble needs to burst. All is paid for by easy loans that students will have to pay.

Rahul July 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Another point to keep in mind is that Steven’s Point is an ultra low living cost town. You could literally live there at 1/3rd the cost of living NYC I’m guessing. Maybe even cheaper.

Hillary July 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I’d guess 20% of NYC or less. My rent outside Minneapolis (before I bought a townhouse) was less than a quarter of rent for a NYC equivalent. Stevens Point is half that, especially if you’re not a student who might trash the place.

Rahul July 11, 2013 at 12:42 am

Right. I was being conservative. Small town WI is really a stunner for cost of living. Most locals never pay more than $2 for their beers and a hearty meal maxes out at $10.

You could make $70,000 in Steven’s Point and probably save as much as someone making $100,000 in NYC.

Jack PQ July 10, 2013 at 11:24 am

Economics tells us that price (or salary) should equal opportunity cost. I am not surprised that many professors make low salaries, because particularly in the humanities, there is a large supply of PhDs and not much demand. Either you have a glut of unemployed (underemployed) PhDs, or salaries must come down.

But if Stevens Point cannot hold onto faculty, that is the market speaking: they are not paying enough.

As for PhD debt, that is an unfortunate situation. Students must be told not to take on debt for a PhD (unlike med school). But many unwisely do it anyway. And sometimes graduate programs unethically encourage them to go into debt to pursue a dead-end PhD.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 11:33 am

“sometimes”? No. That can’t be true. These people are the experts that help educated people with their careers.

MD July 10, 2013 at 11:54 am

I went to the school that gave me a TA position with a small salary and tuition remission. But there were several schools that accepted me, but offered no money. $30k student debt/year to get a PhD in history? Madness.

Jack PQ July 10, 2013 at 11:59 am

As a professor, I find such behavior (grad programs admitting someone to a PhD program but without financial aid) revolting. Caveat emptor only goes so far. Students are naive and idealistic. No money, no go.

Rahul July 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm

A lot of the humanities PhD candidates I knew had no RA. If at all they got paid, it was via teaching as an assistant.

Dan Weber July 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Reminded me of this from a few weeks ago: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RaminShokrizade/20130626/194933/The_Top_F2P_Monetization_Tricks.php

Schools are following some of the same scummy tactics as “free”-to-play games do.

CD July 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm

+1

Me too. No tuition and a stipend which kept body and soul together. You’re already losing losing several years in which you could have been earning and saving.

Edward Burke July 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm

“Students must be told not to take on debt for a PhD . . .”? –Id est, a student with MA or MS in hand HAS TO BE TOLD not to take on whatever mountain of debt is required for earning a PhD? Doctoral candidates and grad students (and undergrads) are so dim these days? I’m no economist myself, but why would this strike me as further indication of the poor quality of primary and secondary education in the US?

AGAIN: abolish ALL university-administered post-secondary remediation programs ASAP.

CD July 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Having trouble with your caps lock?

Seriously, what you need is *institutional* knowledge: knowledge about how the academic job market functions, and about your own likely chances in that market. This is hard to come by.

MikeDC July 10, 2013 at 11:37 am

Does this include adjuncts?

GiT July 10, 2013 at 1:49 pm

The article gives the averages for the three typical levels of professorships and expressly distinguishes this situation from adjuncts, so I’m guessing no, it doesn’t.

jdm July 10, 2013 at 11:40 am

The average full time teacher salary at our so-so Chicago suburb public high school is 101k for nine months of work, great benefits, and tenure. None of the teachers have a PhD. So it’s pretty interesting to see that full time professors are making way less than that in some places.

Rahul July 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Is that after a lot of seniority? 101k sounds so unfairly high. If high school teachers are making that much I’m jealous.

zbicyclist July 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm

There are a number of places to find teachers’ salaries.

Here’s a link to New Trier (possibly the top district in suburban Chicago in terms of reputation and an extremely rich district):
http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php

Most of these teachers will have substantial years of experience.

Here’s another data source with New Trier data: this has experience and degree.
http://illinois-teachers.findthedata.org/d/b/New-Trier-Twp-HSD-203

It is quite likely true that those teachers who are underpaid for difficult jobs are likely to complain, while those who have high salaries for easier jobs are more likely to keep quiet about it.

prior_approval July 10, 2013 at 11:41 am

‘and, on the bright side, universities are having trouble filling some of those slots’

So says the General (or Faculty) Director of the Mercatus Center, and a founder of MRU (with its still unexplained inQbation 1200+ project hours funding for a state of the art open source Drupal framework) – a man unconcerned about tenure. Except, one reasonably assumes, his own.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 11:56 am

Why should he be concerned about tenure?

prior_approval July 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Its continuation, of course – after all, Prof. Cowen does have tenure in a right to work state, though I assume he earns a decent income from other sources, though most of them are likely even more devoted to the idea of employer privilege than the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has already successuflly fulfillled the Fairfax County requirement to register himself as a writer (something I looked into, more than a decade and a half ago) – http://www.dandb.com/businessdirectory/tylercowen-fairfax-va-17750743.html#info

Though 40,000 dollars seems a bit low for a text book author, who also writes other books, not to mention having a NYT presence.

Jack PQ July 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Prof. Cowen is not John Grisham. Aren’t royalties something like 50 cents a book? Less?

Rahul July 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Low yes, but that low? I doubt it.

At that point he should just allow free downloads / on-demand printing. Unless he was expecting to sell hundred thousand copies!

V A August 8, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Because he is scared and unqualified. PhD is a degree but that doesn’t mean security.
That’s why this Tenure Scam was created.

FC July 11, 2013 at 1:20 am

I think prior_approval was the Pete Best of MRU.

msgkings July 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Outstanding.

wiki July 10, 2013 at 11:59 am

Since the University can’t seem to fill its vacant slots or retain its best people, isn’t this just evidence that Stevens Point’s budget is incompatible with its ambitions and goals given the constraints that public universities face? If it can’t raise more funds it should consider even more drastic employee cuts to its faculty to raise pay of the remainder who stay. Perhaps even close down unproductive or marginal departments?

Marian Kechlibar July 11, 2013 at 7:31 am

I think that universities all around the Western World must finally face the uncomfortable question whether they can afford madrassa-like departments a la Gender/Queer/Chicano Studies.

Putting off weight is never really easy, so the proces will be really painful, possibly with some “Hey-hey, ho-ho” rallies of the targeted groups.

Ad Nauseum July 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Are we to conclude from this, that despite ever rising tuition costs, there are underpaid professors in the university system? Where is all that money going?

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Do you want the short answer in onomatopoeia?

Ad Nauseum July 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm

BAM? CRACK? FLUSH?

Cliff July 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Admin, i.e. the rentier class

Finch July 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Student perks, like athletics centers and fancy dorms don’t come cheap either.

Skip Intro July 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm

At one university near me, state contributions paid 87% of its operating costs some 25 years ago. Today, the state’s contribution pays less than 30% of its operating costs. That’s why tuition goes up.

jpa July 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Can someone explain how tuition prices are sky rocketing by professor salaries are flat or declining? Where is the money going?

GiT July 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm
Benny Lava July 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm

The money goes to “administrators”.

CD July 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm

At public (but increasingly private) institutions public support has dropped like a stone over the last decade: at my state U it has fallen by more than half, on a per student basis, over that time. And capital spending, which used to be state funded, is now being funded by bonds that depend on future tuition. So most of the story is that tuition has risen to cover lower state support.

liberalarts July 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm

CD is correct. For private colleges and universities much of the tuition increases are being offset by increased scholarships and financial aid, so the net price paid is not going up much there.

V A August 8, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Professor salaries are rising and so are Admins making more money expecially Business and Engineering. Look for public data of any public university and you would be surprised to see that starting salaries of many fresh PhDs are okay B-Schools (Top 50) is like $170-200K per year. Many are making like $350K.

All they do is there is a cartel of PhDs all over the universities who have magaznies that are only read by them and they keep on writing research articles in them. Then they benchmark salaries with each other. Nothing less than the RE bubble if you look at it closely.

Seth July 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Alternative title for post: How government assistance distorts market signals

Greg Ransom July 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Become a government worker in California — retire at age 50 with 100% of your 6 figure final salary.

Or go into college administration in the California system, and retire early with an annual pension easily more than one quarter million dollar$ per year.

Urso July 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm

But first, go back in time to 1970 or so. New employees are not getting anything like those deals.

Greg Ransom July 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Good point. No generation will ever again match the Baby Boomers in screwing the next generation.

Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm

A good example of what I call the “it wasn’t a problem because we fixed it” fallacy.

msgkings July 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm

How does fixing a problem imply that it wasn’t a problem? Who says that?

bmcburney July 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm

“But first, go back in time to 1970 or so. New employees are not getting anything like those deals.”

Wanna bet?

“University of California Regents have approved creation of a vice-chancellorship for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at UCSD, naming Linda S. Greene to the post at an annual base salary of $250,000, according to closed session documents released after today’s meeting in San Francisco.

In addition, Greene will receive “a relocation allowance of 24 percent of base salary ($60,000) to be paid either as a lump sum or in installment payments.”

Marian Kechlibar July 11, 2013 at 7:36 am

At some moment, the parasite swarm must finally kill the host.

High Priests always cost money, and it seems that High Priesthood of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is no less greedy than all the previous priesthoods of Baal, Svantevit, Vishnu … (add your favorite idol).

GiT July 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Well, the quarter million a year pension isn’t really quite so easy as “go into college administration.” The people getting that were a small group in the highest echelons of the administration. Not as easy.

Greg Ransom July 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Thousands of non-tenured part-timers are teaching an in-ordinate percentage of college classes and paying their taxes into their late sixties for dimes and nickles — while government workers workers in California with no college education are retiring decades earlier at 100% of 6 figure salaries, and while college administrators in California are retiring early with annual pensions easily exceeding one-quarter million dollars.

Who are the high IQ ones in this picture?

Floccina July 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm

It seems like a great high status job though. I would do the job for 40K if I were qualified.

Albigensian July 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

A university has three primary missions: research, teaching, and credentialling. Although many do little if any research, all do teaching and credentialling.

Perhaps a relevent question here would be, “Has productivity improved in any of these missions” From a student’s viewpoint, productivity in teaching and credentialling seems to have declined over the years, as cost per credit-hour, and cost to obtain a degree, are both higher than ever. Now, perhaps the product is better than it used to be, but if so, how much better (and is it really better at all, and in all fields)?

In short, and despite the armies of poorly-paid TA, adjuncts, etc. who increasingly shoulder the burden of undergrad. teaching, there is a productivity crisis in higher ed. when it comes to teaching and credentialling- the same product costs more and more each year, and has done so for decades now.

And I suspect that is where the pushback comes from, especially at public universities. The taxpaying public and tuition-paying parent just doesn’t want to hear that it’s really the administrative bloat, or student amenities, or everyone’s paying their star faculty more so we have to keep up: they just want it to stop.

The bottom line, then, is that faculty are going to take a hit for this declining productivity, even if it isn’t their fault. And the solution is not to point fingers elsewhere, it’s to raise productivity.

GiT July 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm

As was noted by CD above part of the increase in cost is the decrease in subsidization. So some of the perceived increase in cost is a result of a decrease in public expenditure on education.

Paul July 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Looking at the Stevens list of open full-time academic slots, except for a professor of music the vacancies are science/health/accounting related. Not an accident I think.

Also, there are more full-time staff/administrative than full-time faculty jobs open. Like other places I bet there are at least two or three admin/staff/support people to every full-time faculty. That’s where the personnel budgets are going.

David J July 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I find it interesting that the average full professor at University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point makes less than an average public school teacher in Chicago.

FC July 11, 2013 at 1:26 am

Combat pay.

bmcburney July 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Yes, it’s all very sad.

On the bright side, however, my own alma mater (UC San Diego) recently hired a vice-Chancellor for Diversity, etc. for a base salary of $250,000 per year plus a first year “moving bonus” of $60,000. They did this because, as everyone knows, teaching is not nearly as important to learning as co-ordinating diversity and inclusion-type activities. Eventually, our educational system will do away with teaching altogether and concentrate entirely on its primary mission of providing well-remunerated employment for administrators.

Paul July 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Vice-Chancellor for Diversity, etc. for a base salary of $250,000 per year.

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

FC July 11, 2013 at 12:56 am

High school teaching can be a sweet gig. My Latin teacher also taught at the community college, and told us that he was much better paid than the full-time faculty there. He was wise to teach Latin,an elective, so he only had to associate with the smart students.

I’ll bet he’s now retired on a beach in Chile, or should I say Occupied Bolivia.

DK July 11, 2013 at 2:33 am

Just close the place for good. University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point is a joke. The fewer of these diploma mills exist, the less inflation in education will take place.

Tarrou July 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

Administrative bloat. Fire every diversity coordinator and interoffice dialogue facilitator, and you’ll find more money to spend on people who actually teach things (not that that group more than superficially overlaps with the professorship).

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