UW professor salaries below national average
Salaries for full and associate professors in the UW System, as well as private universities, are below national averages, according to a report released Monday.
UW-Eau Claire full-time professors rank No. 7 of 13 for Master’s degree universities in Wisconsin, according to the 2008-09 report from the American Association of University Professors. The average pay for a full professor nationwide is $88,300, while Eau Claire professors averaged $72,700. UW-Milwaukee is significantly behind other doctoral universities with full-time professors making $93,700, while the national average is at $115,500, according to the report.
Economics professor Thomas Kemp said his biggest concern with the UW System’s lower pay is that it is being priced out of the best professors.
“Why come to Wisconsin if you can get paid significantly more somewhere else?” Kemp said. “Right now we have a better than average health care plan and retirement package that offsets wages a bit. That said, it seems likely that if the current trend continues we might lose these as well. At that point I think it would be very difficult to attract people to Wisconsin.”
The salaries were set in Summer 2008, before the economic crisis. Since the academic year began, universities nationwide have implemented salary and hiring freezes, the latter including Eau Claire. Kemp expects to see more empty positions and continued reductions.
“When the state acts in this way, cuts are going to be made,” he said. “This isn’t ever good for faculty or students. It will eventually mean higher tuition for students and decreased resources for faculty.”
UW System faculty received a 2 percent raise in December 2007, a 1 percent raise in July 2008, and they are projected to get a 2 percent increase in June, according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. However, Kemp expects salaries to decrease in Wisconsin for several years because of the economic times, adding that salary increases were promised last year but are not in the proposed budget for next year.
Kemp said it is difficult to say why Wisconsin professors are paid less, considering there has been a willingness to pay for higher education in the state over the past several years.
“I suspect that some of the reason is that other groups in the state have been more effective at lobbying for state funds than has the University system,” he said. “I think we’ll need to all work together (administration, faculty, staff, and students) to turn this around.”