Visualizing Change: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2016-17

Published in the March-April 2017 issue of Academe.

Between the 2015–16 and 2016–17 academic years, average salaries for full-time ranked faculty members (assistant, associate, and full professors) increased by 0.5 percent after adjusting for inflation. The average salary for full professors in 2016–17 was $102,402, the average salary for associate professors was $79,654, and the average salary for assistant professors was $69,206.

Part-time faculty members—the largest segment of the academic labor force—saw their average total pay from a single institution increase to $20,508 in 2016–17. The AAUP’s Faculty Compensation Survey defines as “part time” any faculty member whose position has an instructional component that is less than full time, including professors temporarily teaching a reduced load.

For the first time this year, the AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey collected separate data on part-time faculty members teaching on a per-section basis. These data provide a more accurate picture of the meager earnings of faculty members holding part-time appointments. In 2016–17, part-time faculty members teaching on a per-section basis earned $7,066 from a single institution, on average. Because many part-time faculty members teach more than one course section, this figure is greater than the average amount a faculty member would be paid per section.

Also new this year are two “data snapshots” that follow our annual report. These short articles provide additional ways of visualizing change within US higher education. The first snapshot examines the relationship between political control of state government and state appropriations for public higher education, and the second examines how institutions have attempted to offset losses in state appropriations by enrolling more out-of-state students and increasing out-of-state tuition.

The data in this report can help AAUP members advocate for higher pay for part-time faculty members, increased state higher education appropriations, salary equity, and other improvements in higher education. We hope that you will share the findings from this year’s report and use AAUP data when you communicate with colleagues, students, friends, and policy makers about the issues facing the profession. Together, we can promote the economic security of all those who teach and research in higher education and help ensure that higher education serves the common good.   

Download the report as a PDF.

Download the corrected appendices.