LJWorld.com weblogs Heard on the Hill

Digging into KU faculty salaries


Something interesting popped out of the old Internet machine yesterday: the Chronicle of Higher Education's annual report on how much college and university faculty are paid. I dug through the numbers a bit, just for you.

So where do KU's faculty rank? About the same as they did last year, in relation to other universities.

According to the data, which are rounded up by the American Association of University Professors, KU faculty who've reached the top rank of full professor are earning about $118,300 on average this school year, up 1.9 percent from last year. Associate professors (who've earned tenure but haven't been promoted to full-professor status) are making an average of $80,600, an increase of 2.3 percent. And assistant professors (faculty who haven't earned tenure but are aiming to do so, generally in the first six or so years of their careers) are bringing in about $71,800 on average, 3.8 percent more than last year.

All those rank below the median for doctorate-granting institutions, with full professors' pay coming closest to the middle. All rank above the average levels for all public colleges but below the averages at private colleges (by quite a bit for the full professors).

Pay is increasing faster at private institutions, the Chronicle reports, and I've got another blog post brewing that will tie into that.

The Chronicle also provides a look at how pay is different for men and women on the faculty. There's a gender gap at all three of those professor levels at KU. Among assistant professors, women are making 14 percent less than men on average. The gap is smaller at the top: Among full professors, the difference is 7 percent.

KU's "Bold Aspirations" strategic plan lists 10 other public universities for KU to compare itself to, all of which are also part of the prestigious Association of American Universities. So I thought I'd see how KU's faculty pay stacks up to nine of them (one, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, did not appear to submit data), using a nifty little comparison tool the Chronicle provides.

Isn't it nifty?

Isn't it nifty? by Matt Erickson

For the most part, KU's numbers were on the low end among the group. KU's entry-level assistant professors ranked in the middle of the pack, but the associate and full professors outranked only those from two other universities. (Lagging behind all the others in all areas was the University of Missouri-Columbia.)

KU's pay easily outranks all the other institutions in Kansas, with Kansas State and Washburn universities coming the closest. The highest-paid professors in the country, on average, are at Columbia University.

You can click around in the Chronicle's database to find more numbers. I'll stop myself now, though surely there are more stories hiding in there. Anything you're particularly curious about? Let me know. And get those KU news tips to merickson@ljworld.com.

More LJWorld KU News Coverage

  • Recent Kansas University news stories
  • Heard on the Hill KU news blog
  • Follow @LJW_KU on Twitter
  • Questions or concerns about KU coverage? Come to Heard on the Hill Office Hours.
  • Comments

    KU_cynic 5 years, 1 month ago

    There are no doubt some composition effects in these data. By that I mean that institutions with a skew toward higher paid disciplines (e.g., law, business, engineering, medicine, etc.) and away from lesser paid disciplines (e.g., arts and humanities) will have higher average pay. I'm not sure where KU fits relative to others (I would guess near the middle). No doubt a composition effect explains at least part of the sex differential, too, as there are probably more women and fewer men in some of the lesser paid disciplines.

    merickson 5 years, 1 month ago

    You're right: No doubt there are a bunch of other factors at play here. Pay can vary widely by field, as shown by this other survey published earlier this year:


    Faculty in law, engineering and business make well more than those in other fields, on average.



    elliottaw 5 years, 1 month ago

    Any wonder why they keep dropping in the rankings, no one wants to take a pay cut to move to a state that is as regressive as Kansas has been lately.

    Chris Crandall 5 years, 1 month ago

    Really? Your response to free and open markets is to tell people to take their balls and go home?

    yourworstnightmare 5 years, 1 month ago

    Many have left and will continue to leave. Those that can leave, will leave. This leaves behind mediocre faculty who cannot cut it on the job market. This partially explains KU's mediocrity compared to its peers.

    Keith 5 years, 1 month ago

    If all the smart people leave, who will write trenchant comments like connie1's?

    optimist 5 years, 1 month ago

    It also doesn't take into account cost of living and taxation where the other institutions are. Those are the most significant factors effecting compensation. I also note that there is a pay gap in the liberal enclave of education. This is in line with non-education related fields and industries but I find it interesting to see it there much the same. The disparity seems more significant for tenured than full professors. It would make sense that women are more likely to alter their careers for family which can likely be attributed to the lesser pay but the gap closes as their time in the career increases which too would make sense.

    elliottaw 5 years, 1 month ago

    You are not going to find much of a difference in the coat of living with the 9 schools they choose

    yourworstnightmare 5 years, 1 month ago

    KU is just a sad place. So much potential that has been squandered by years of low funding and low expectations and low standards.

    The best option for KU is to become a private university. If the state would donate the lands and buildings, they would never have to give another cent to KU.

    elliottaw 5 years, 1 month ago

    If you take out the law/medical salaries those numbers drop down drastically

    Bob_Loblaw 5 years, 1 month ago

    You can live very well in Lawrence on $60k-80k or more..... I guarantee you will not be able to live the same standard with same discretionary income in Boulder. In fact, unless you are the $100k-200k ones in Boulder....you will be living in one of the Boulder suburb cities and commuting...Broomfield, Longmont etc. etc.

    Commenting has been disabled for this item.