October
26th 2010
Sister, can you spare a dime?

Posted under: American history, jobs, unhappy endings

Tenured Radical sure has changed her tune since last she wrote about faculty salaries at her college.  Here’s TR back in December of 2008, defending her uni’s plan to freeze faculty salaries as a strategy for surviving the Great Recession:

Isn’t letting the administration get away with a salary freeze just lying down and letting them walk all over us? No, keeping your trap shut, repressing your anger at how you are treated, not disagreeing with anyone who might ever vote on your promotion, and never saying or writing anything you believe until you have a tenure letter in your pocket is letting people walk all over you. Agreeing to a salary freeze, when it is explained as part of a well-reasoned plan is sticking out your hand and playing your role as a partner in the enterprise.

Go re-read the whole thing–it’s difficult to excerpt, but the bottom line is that she thought that faculty, who are relatively well paid and enjoy incomparable job security after tenure, should stop whining and lend a hand.  Well, it’s now nearly two years later, and here’s where she is:

At age 52, I make slightly more than 107K, 16K less than the median salary at my rank at Zenith and, adjusted for inflation and health insurance, less than I made three years ago.  The actual number of my salary tells you little, since I am quite sure that salaries vary wildly at Zenith and that I make more than some people who have worked there for longer (colleagues are invited to contribute their own salaries, anonymously if they wish, in the comments section.)  What I also know is that we don’t get meaningful raises any more, and that it seems unlikely that the wage gap will be closed except through the retirement and departure of better paid colleagues.  Two years ago, Zenith finally locked on to what the public and state schools have known for a long time:  pay your faculty less, and there isn’t a damned thing they can do about it.  Year before last, we received no raises; last year I was pretty much at the top of the chart at slightly less than 2%; and this year’s overall pool will only be increased by 2%.  

.       .       .       .       .       .       .       .       .      

The only way to make more money is to work more:  we now have multiple opportunities to teach more classes, and be paid adjunct wages to do so.  This is called, for those of you unfamiliar with labor history, “speed up.”  The idea is this:  the university needs more revenue, so regular faculty teach an extra class in our extension program, for which everybody in the class has paid $2,130.  Regular Zenith students pay $2600 for summer courses, plus a housing charge for dorm space that would otherwise be vacant.  The faculty stipend for any of these courses is around 6K (which is about 1K more than an ABD adjunct wage at Zenith and 2K less than what grad students are paid for their own courses at Oligarch); there are 15-20 people in the class.  You do the math here:  are Zenith faculty being paid a fair wage for this work?  No.  They are being paid a market wage – and, my guess is, twice what adjuncts at the local state schools are paid.  And yet, increasingly, faculty are getting squeezed into doing this as their salaries flat line.

Here’s the bottom line:  I am not unsympathetic to the financial problems in higher education, or to the important restructuring that is long overdue at my own institution.  But I refuse to sell myself for less; I refuse to sell myself for less than I am worth; I refuse to contribute to the casualization of academic labor; and I refuse to do what is essentially volunteer work for my employer.

What, Me Bother?

Yep.  This is where a lot of regular faculty are right now.  I’ve noticed the growth of a kind of resignation in my department among the tenured faculty:  why rush to get that second book out and go up for promotion–there’s no money in it?  We’re all turning into Alfred E. Neumans captioned by “What–me bother?”  We’re not inclined to line up for volunteer work, friends–not in a world where there are no raises, and the workload for regular faculty has increased because we can’t hire new colleagues.  That’s Baa Ram U.’s fix for our budget troubles:  no raises since ’08, the caps on our classes have been raised (from 40 to 44 in upper-divsion undergraduate classes), and the service burden is heavier because we keep losing faculty to retirement and other unis, so the same workload just gets shifted around to fewer people.  This year, my department has more adjunct faculty and “special” (non-tenure track) lecturers than regular faculty teaching in our department.  The casualization of labor in my department is a fait accompli.

Interestingly, back in 2008 Tenured Radical and Dr. Crazy were at odds, but now they’re singing from the same hymnal.  (Keep reading the long comments thread–Dr. Crazy has more to say, and many of you are represented there, I’m sure!)

42 Comments »

42 Responses to “Sister, can you spare a dime?”

  1. squadratomagico on 26 Oct 2010 at 9:57 am #

    I think so much of this outlook has to do with class issues. If one was raised within an upper-class family, one might be more inclined to compare one’s salary to that of wall streeters, lawyers, and doctors — all highly-educated professionals. I can see the logic of it. But if, like myself, one comes from a lower-class background, then it is hard not to feel insanely privileged — even though I make way, way less than TR. (Indeed, I find it striking that her salary is far higher than any other mentioned on the thread — wonder if that makes her feel any better?) Indeed, I suspect a salary of 107K placed TR in the top 5% (or higher) of US salary ranges. While it’s true that the last few tenths of a percentile in that scale is likely to be insanely disproportionate pay scales for CEOs and sports stars, I still find it somewhat unseemly to complain about such a salary, given the economic injustices that have been visited upon the working- and poorer classes since the Reagan Revolution.

  2. Jonathan Rees on 26 Oct 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Academia works best when we say union yes.

  3. Susan on 26 Oct 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Squadrato is right. It depends on who you compare yourself to. And as someone who makes almost as much as TR, I’d say it was a very good salary, especially because my salary went up about 50% when I came to this job — and that was working an 11 month schedule. So I know I’m lucky.

    What strikes me — as I noted this morning — is that the salaries we get IN COMPARISON TO what other professionals make does tell us a lot about the value placed on teaching and on learning in this country.

  4. JackDanielsBlack on 26 Oct 2010 at 10:49 am #

    I dunno, looks like faculty is divided into two camps, tenure/tenure-track, and adjunct, and this is a very bad situation, with the adjunct side growing by leaps and bounds and the tenure side shrinking and not enough money to go around anyway. If I were an adjunct I would be bitter, and if I were tenured I would feel guilty about how little these other folks, who are doing essentially the same job I am, are making compared to me. What happened to the idea of equal pay for equal work?

    Another thing that has been going on is that a lot of money that used to go to faculty has now been diverted to administration (I won’t even bring up athletics). While businesses have been whacking back middle layers of management for the past 20 years, academe has been growing middle layers of management. Why is this?

  5. Historiann on 26 Oct 2010 at 10:59 am #

    But Jack–adjuncts don’t do the same job we do. They are on 100% teaching contracts, whereas regular faculty have the burden of scholarship and service to boot. We are required by our contracts to engage in all three activities: Those meetings, advising appointments, and other administrative tasks don’t just run themselves, and the books and articles don’t just write themselves, either.

    (But if anyone has an infestation of The Good Elves, I’d love to take a few off your hands.)

    Susan and Jonathan raise good points about expectations and unions. I’d also like to point out that TR is 52, and having taken a pledge to retire at 65, she’s looking at only 13 more years of feathering her next (such as it is) to support herself in retirement. I’m ten years younger and therefore I have another decade until I panic. I didn’t read her post so much as a complaint about her salary but as a mid-career reflection on how she may have bargained badly in spending so much of her career in doing the kinds of work regular faculty are supposed to do: institution- and program-building work that’s never done by the adjunct faculty.

    Uni faculties are akin to our crumbling national infrastructure: there’s only so many more years that the system can survive if we don’t perform the regular necessary maintenance, repairs, and improvements.

  6. JackDanielsBlack on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Historiann, I appreciate that tenured faculty have extra tasks, but to the extent that they are administrative, why isn’t the ever-growing administrative staff doing them? In fact, what are all these administrators doing?

    I would also assert that the primary job of a faculty member, especially a liberal-arts faculty member, should be teaching. I find the disparity between tenured faculty salaries reflected in the comments to TR’s post shocking, but I find the disparity in salaries between adjuncts and even the more poorly-paid tenured faculty beyond shocking. Many of these folks aren’t even making a living wage!

  7. Tom on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:28 am #

    I’m tempted to say “shame on you,” Historiann, for your sweeping claim that adjuncts don’t do the same job as tenure track folks, if for no other reason than not all adjunct-like contracts are 100% teaching: mine, for example, is 80% teaching and 20% service, which makes my service burden identical to a typical tenured faculty member’s in my department.

    And, true, I am not required to produce (or rewarded for producing) scholarship–but I’d probably better keep up a research program if I have any hope of moving onto the tenure track, here or elsewhere. That is, the claim that adjuncts don’t “need” to produce scholarship imagines adjuncting as a kind of career suicide: a terminal appointment.

    But speaking only for myself: I teach, do service, and produce scholarship at a rate suitable for my department. I do, however, teach more classes and get less pay. Maybe we should say I don’t do the same job as the tenure-track folks.

    The efforts of tenure-track faculty to protect tenure, I’ve come to fear, require a more or less willful acceptance of the two-tier faculty system, because in practice it means protecting tenure for some. All tenure-track faculty should insist that all full-timers should have a path to tenure, and they should fight to make all teachers full-timers.

  8. Historiann on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:29 am #

    Jack–with respect, you don’t know whereof you speak. You can assert whatever you like, but my uni (for example) doesn’t think that my primary job is teaching–only HALF of my job is teaching. My contract divides my workload as such: 50% teaching, 35% research, and 15% service, and that’s how we’re evaluated for our (non-existent) merit raises.

    Administrators, as far as I can tell, are occupied with institution-building, fund-raising, bill-paying, and student-caretakeing. They don’t (for example, and thank goodness) have any say in the curriculum, or in the day-to-day business of running programs and majors for our students. We also have the privilege and the burden of self-government, so there are various meetings from the department level to the college and uni level that faculty must attend and participate in.

    So, like most doctors and lawyers, only part of our days are occupied with what most people imagine are our jobs. (We never see House filling out his charts before the hospital yanks his privileges–that would be bad TV. And we never see TV lawyers outside of court–although most of their lives are spent there.) The rest of our days are taking care of the meetings and paperwork involved in doing our jobs, not to mention the work outside of class that we do for teaching (reading lots of books, writing lectures, etc.). By the time we walk into the classroom, 95% of the work of teaching is already done.

  9. Feminist Avatar on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:30 am #

    The economic purpose of a university is to disseminate NEW research, which is meant to be taken by students into the workplace to keep the economy vibrant and growing. Academics in universities need to do research to keep creating the new ideas and new skills necessary for economic development as well as social stability.

    Now while some universities have moved over to a teaching-only model, they are relying on research being done elsewhere. So, if you are employed as a lecturer and not just as a teacher, then research is essential- to your job, to the purpose of universities, to the economy and to society more broadly.

    The idea that liberal arts research is somehow less valuable (even to the economy) is just plain wrong and, at least to this historian, offensive.

  10. Historiann on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:36 am #

    Well said, FA. I didn’t even get to research!

    Tom, I didn’t know that your contract (or that of any adjunct) is 20% service. I was speaking from my experience in my department. Now that I think of it, adjuncts in my college can now ask to be evaluated 10% on research, but I think it’s a department-by-department thing.

    You’re not being paid enough to do service, man!

  11. Mamie on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:38 am #

    Here’s another way to look at the adjunct-izaton of the university. I just saw data showing that about one in four full-time faculty members at Small Urban U. is over 60. As people age and retire, only a few get replaced–and our student population is almost 50% larger than it was 15 years ago. Many more students, fewer full-time faculty.

    @JDB: what all those administrators are doing is dreaming up new ways to waste faculty time. I can’t tell you how many times a year I am required to prepare another report detailing exactly the same stuff the last report reported, but IN A DIFFERENT FORMAT, to meet the requirements of a different administrator.

    I’m in the liberal arts college of my university, and if I acted as if my primary job were teaching, I’d be criticized as not-a-team-player because we are supposed to be engaged with the community. You obviously haven’t a clue how universities work.

  12. JackDanielsBlack on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Historiann, thanks for enlightening me. I considered academe, but I’m glad I pursued a career elsewhere. All I would have wanted to do is teach (well, maybe a little research and the occasional conference) and it looked like (and still looks like, from your description) I would have to spend a lot of time politicking, attending meetings and listening to my dreary colleagues, etc. “Service” indeed –ugh!!

  13. Comrade Svilova on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:51 am #

    The economic purpose of a university is to disseminate NEW research

    Hear, hear. As an undergrad student I took several UL seminars with a humanities prof who was giving seminars based around chapters of the book she was then engaged in writing. They were some of the most inspiring hours I spent at school — so interesting, exciting, and vibrant. If she had been teaching a survey course for the 8th time, I’m sure the experience would have been vastly inferior.

  14. koshem bos on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:57 am #

    The bad news is that many of us have not seen a real increase in salary in more than 20 years. All we get is anywhere between 2% to 4% increase annually, which until 2008 was almost inflation rate. We here at Expensive Cheap Univ were not frozen, we even hire, but the raises makes very little difference. Furthermore, even in the years we brought millions in research money the increase was minimal. (Although we paid ourselves summer salaries; that’s not university money.)

    Extra money we made came from outside activities, i.e. jobs performed for customers.

    I basically fail to understand why the outcry comes out that late.

  15. Perpetua on 26 Oct 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    @squadrato: I know what you mean. I struggle with the salary issue because I feel insanely privileged & very comfortable financially, even with the rising costs, no raises, and growing family. I love my job even though the academy infuriates me sometimes. So basically I don’t have complaints about my salary, yet I feel that conversations about salary are important. I guess my fear is that if I follow my instincts I’ll turn into one of those people that the administration is hoping I’ll be (Will Work for Free – Out of the Love and Because I’m a Sucker Liberal and a Woman). My struggle with this reflects my unease with capitalism – I don’t want my “worth” to be reduced to a salary figure, and yet my employer only sees me in those terms, thus I must fight for more to keep myself and others from being exploited and de-valued.

    I thought it was brave of TR to name her salary, especially considering how relatively high it is. I too didn’t see her as complaining about it. At my old uni many full professors were still making in the $70s, so now I look at the fulls in my current dept, the few who make over $100k & are close to retirement and I think, why *shouldn’t* ze make that much?

  16. zek on 26 Oct 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    She’s complaining about making $107k. That is more than my Dean makes. I teach in the arts at a small school, I’ve been here 10 years, and I overload every summer yet I make 1/3 less than she does. Maybe she should be happy with what she has.

  17. Deborah Judge on 26 Oct 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    The state college I (mercifully) left last year was at the center of a minor regional scandal when the local paper broke the scandalous news that full professors at the end of their careers were making as much as $70,000/yr. (Teaching load 4/5, high research expectation, in a not-cheap part of the country.) There was much outrage at this horrific waste of state money.

    Of course part of it was that they didn’t understand the term ‘full professor’ so reported that as the salary that *full-time* professors were making, as if that were the starting salary out of graduate school.

  18. squadratomagico on 26 Oct 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    I think point TR closes with is a very important one, though: if there is no incentive for a raise, then one is freed up, in some ways, to make decisions about what kinds of work one is willing to do. A fair amount of academic labor is negotiable: one can say no to committee work above-and-beyond a certain level; one can slow one’s publishing pace (that is, if one’s only reason for doing so is financial remuneration, which I think is actually kind of rare); one can say no to extra student tutorials and offloads, etc. If one wants only to work to the exact degree that one feels one’s salary merits, it is not so hard to do.
    However, making this choice is difficult to do while still remaining a good citizen. One doesn’t want to be exploited, as Perpetua suggests, but one doesn’t want to be an asshole either. The reason why so few of us DO say no to extra responsibilities is a sense of ethical engagement with our colleagues and students: if we refuse, someone else is burdened or loses out.
    I think about these issues a lot, because I have very few satisfactions in my job. As a result, I avoid being a model citizen: I do what I’m asked but don’t volunteer for more. And I have a very rich off-campus life.

  19. Historiann on 26 Oct 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    zek writes: “I’ve been here 10 years, and I overload every summer yet I make 1/3 less than she does.” Uh, I make less money than you, dude (only 56% percent of TR’s salary, not 66.6% of her salary) and I’ve got 13 years’ experience. See, everyone can find someone making more money than hir, and everyone can find someone making less. I don’t think it’s productive to say that people only below a certain salary are allowed to question institutional priorities and the effect of salary freezes on faculty morale and the life of the university.

    As Squadratomagico notes, it makes you think differently about your work. This could be seen as a positive, as people like Squadrato (and possibly TR) look outside of their work lives for creative and intellectual fulfillment. But, as I hoped to say, it also poses a real risk for diminishing the quality of American unis.

    “What, us bother?”

  20. Feminist Avatar on 26 Oct 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    The thing I think is problematic is the way that staff are expected to up their game for no more reward. My particular bugbear is the way that research expenses (like purchasing books and library budgets as well as travel or photocopying) and conference attendance expenses have just dried up, but the expectation that you create and disseminate your research hasn’t went away- even if it is not contractually obligated. Certainly, it is expected that teaching and research continue to be of a high standard without recognising that conference attendance, which is vital for networking and creating research relationships, is a necessary part of both of these things. Similarly, there is less and less money to support the societies that run conferences and journals- so no more using university postage to support the administration of academic journals, or getting cheap or subsidised conference facilities to help keep down the costs of conferences (which all increase the price of conference fees and subscriptions to journals). And, all of these costs then have to come out of your wages- and this is more pressing for those without permanent jobs, who need to be publishing and disseminating to ensure future employment.

    At the same time, we are put under huge pressure not to let these cuts effect the ‘service’ we provide to our students. And, of course, we don’t want to let it affect the service, because we believe in what we do and we want our students to get a quality education, so we don’t fuck up their lives. But, the mean part of me thinks that students should also start to feel the pinch (and not by forcing them to pay more). We should demonstrate that the we cannot have excellence without money, by lowering our standards, or working to rule, or some similar sort of protest action. I think part of this problem is also that given that most academics believe in the importance of education for all, or at least many, that we are hesitant to engage in behaviours that will make education more expensive and ultimately more exclusive (especially given that so many of us are not from well-off backgrounds). So, it puts us in a situation where we then feel guilty about complaining about our ever reducing wages and we feel powerless to act out against this. And, yet we feel a great unfairness in this whole situation, but can’t see an out that doesn’t penalise somebody else that can’t really afford it.

    Unfortunately, the answer, if there is one, is probably particularly unpalatable to an American audience, cause it’s likely going to involve greater taxes, if not a complete rethinking of a free market economic model.

  21. zek on 26 Oct 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Historiann, if I didn’t teach all summer I would make less than you. However, I choose to overload and make some extra money. And we have had 1 raise in the last 5 years.

  22. truffula on 26 Oct 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Chiming in to echo Jonathan Rees: Union Yes!

    I’ve written here before that it strikes me as problematic for faculty to view themselves as something other than labor. Our union struggles mightily to keep adjuncts afloat (salary steps, a real review process and possibility of multi-year contracts, and the like) and I don’t know a single full share union member who disagrees with this. Solidarity is the best tool we have for pushing back against administrative excesses (as TR showed with her committee example).

  23. zek on 26 Oct 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    We do not have a U and I have mixed feelings about that.

  24. Tenured Radical on 26 Oct 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    Glad to follow the thread over here. I am on record as saying union yes as well: would *happily* trade tenure for a union, any day, any time. But you know what? Faculty actually really believe in individualism, and it bites us in the ass every time. I also think this question of salary rips off the cove of what we are sold in graduate school (particularly by Ivy League mentors who, my friends, make 2-4x as much as I do) that all of us, when we leave graduate school, are really the same. We are not: we get sorted into the masses and the classes. Have you noticed that we haven’t heard a peep from any big-time RI people coming clean on what *they* make?

    Take a look at the AAUP #’s: for my category of school, I am underpaid. I think many of you are *vastly* underpaid, and I find it staggering that we have a generation of scholars who will not be able to send their own children to college without taking out loans because tuitions keep rising but their own salaries don’t keep up with the cost of living over the long term.

    I think the other organizing problem is this: because I am better off than many of you, your attitude is that I *should* be happy and I must be whinging because all my upper class friends from college are coining it. We aren’t going to get a thing done about any of this until some of you stand up and say, “Crap! I’m getting screwed! Royally screwed!” Don’t buy the “I’m so lucky to be teaching” crap, or “I’m from a working class background and I could be homeless how but instead I get to teach:” kindergarten teachers in the northeast make more than many of you guys do.

    I say this sincerely: love you guys, but this is wrong, and you have to stand up for yourselves. You should all be making at least as much as me, and many of you should be making more than me.

  25. Historiann on 26 Oct 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    Thanks, TR. Well said.

  26. ej on 26 Oct 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    I’m curious. What exactly would “standing up for ourselves” look like? What leverage do we have? Threatening to quit? Leaving for a different university that pays better? I’ve had two t/t jobs in my career, both in states that don’t allow unions, so that really isn’t an option.

    And my tone here is genuine. I’m not being sarcastic, just curious as to how one fixes this predicament.

  27. Matt L on 26 Oct 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    I used to work in theater as a technician and carpenter. The administrators of regional theaters are very adept at gaming the “Your lucky to be working in such a creative profession” line in order to keep salaries down and unions out of the shop. Art is non-profit, artists are poor, therefore, if you work professionally in theater, you are not just poorly paid, but fortunate to be working at all.

    Now, when these same managers go to the board, they say that they need six figure salaries, an expense account, a car allowance and subsidized rent for a fancy house. The reasoning goes, “Well, we need to fund-raise for the theater and the foundation. To fund-raise effectively, we have to rub shoulders with the well-heeled. The have to come to our parties and we have to go to theirs. These people will be more likely to give us money if they see us peers. Please pay us accordingly.” You know what, the board gives them the six figure salary with perks, every time. So think about that the next time you sit yourself down in the house of the Guthrie, the Yale Rep, or ACT.

    Now, this brings us to EJs question. I am not sure there is an answer, but the place to start might be the New Yorker article a couple of weeks ago. It was called “the Rise of Talent” or something like that. The author made a few interesting points about the way baseball players and executives were able to game a system with entrenched interests and get larger salaries.

  28. Maggie on 26 Oct 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    The heck with lack of merit raises; I am so jealous of anyone who has ever gotten a COLA raise! My salary has been depreciating for several years now. I’ve got a blog post in the works where I complain about a talk I recently went to where the speaker claimed that women really want satisfaction, work-life balance, flexible schedules, and social support at work. Well all that is nice, but I want MORE MONEY! Flextime doesn’t fund my retirement, baby. Feminists need to agitate for raises. Cripes. Even travel funds would be nice, given tenure expectations.

  29. Tenured Radical on 26 Oct 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    Yep, I’m with you Maggie — because actually we live in a country where how you are valued correlates almost exactly with how you are paid: mothers figured this out back in the 1960′s. And Matt L, I think the comparison is good, and we need to think of what strategies would improve things. Cripes, many of the comments here and at TR basically argue that it is wrong and stupid to even complain.

    When academics embrace their powerlessness in these matters, you know who ultimately suffers? The students. Because eventually someone who has a flat salary ant tenure is going to start paying hirself by doing as little work as possible. Go back to Tenured Radical for more on this topic……

  30. Less work for the same pay « Memoirs of a SLACer on 26 Oct 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    [...] but is still sobering when contextualized.  A post today continues this discussion and responds to Historiann’s discussion of TR’s changing opinion on salary freezes over the past few years (thankfully, academics are [...]

  31. KC on 26 Oct 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    The abuse and exploitation of adjuncts is the real scandal at universities. I’ve seen it up close and it’s not pretty.

  32. rustonite on 26 Oct 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    I said it over at TR’s place, but I’ll repeat it: co-op or collective is the answer. Sadly, I’m too busy finishing my PhD and sacrificing chickens to the god of tenure track jobs to do anything with the idea.

  33. truffula on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    It seems a good time to quote one of the first songs I sang with my kids:

    And standing there as big as life
    and smiling with his eyes.
    Says Joe “What they can never kill
    went on to organize,
    went on to organize”

  34. Perpetua on 26 Oct 2010 at 11:28 pm #

    It’s important to note that schools *can* unionize. SOmetimes we act as though whether or not we have a union has nothing to do with us, and can’t change. My partner’s uni is in the process of unionizing. It isn’t easy (so many people perfectly happy to be exploited!) but it IS possible. So that’s one big thing we can do.

    I don’t know what schools make the list of R1, but mine is a top 15 though sliding down kind of place – public, so not anywhere near the privilege (in terms of $$) of Yale, but definitely in the top tier of state schools. I’ve seen my colleagues’ salaries and they’re pretty low, actually. A handful make over $100k (but not every full professor does), as I’ve mentioned, but these are all people in their 60s and 70s, many of whom have endowed chairs and are Names in Their Field. The highest paid person in our department currently is a Name, but he’s 1) 70 yrs old and 2) used to be a high ranking administrator. In almost every department the highest paid people are those who have acted as dean or department chair (or occasionally someone who’s managed to jack up their salary from a series of external offers). My point is – one of the main avenues to extra cash even in some R1 kind of places is through *extra work*.

    I completely agree with TR and H’ann that turning on each other about “how dare ze complain how hir salary” is counterproductive. (Plus she wasn’t even complaining.) All the data points at TR’s threat are, IMO, very helpful in allowing us to see the broad spectrum and how much needs to be changed.

  35. It’s the Money, Stupid: Funding Higher Education in the 21st Century « Reassigned Time 2.0 on 27 Oct 2010 at 6:34 am #

    [...] sort of inspired.  Between these two posts over at Tenured Radical’s, and Historiann’s post over at her place, people are talking all about the [...]

  36. Another Damned Medievalist on 27 Oct 2010 at 9:33 am #

    I will read this more carefully later, but my immediate reaction, honestly, was: “Holy $hi7!! TR makes more than double what I do. And I’m 48. (ok, she’s been doing it longer, but that’s more than any A&S professor makes at SLAC).

    Not that I probably won’t sympathize more after I read everything, but …

  37. squadratomagico » Blog Archive » reasons why I won’t fight on 27 Oct 2010 at 11:23 am #

    [...] this is related to conversations over at Historiann’s and Tenured Radical’s (and TR’s newest post, here). In brief, the questions are these: [...]

  38. Comrade PhysioProf on 27 Oct 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    This is the same phenomenon as is going on in the economy at large: a very small number of elites are getting richer and richer and richer while everyone else gets poorer and poorer and poorer. By the standards of academia, someone in Tenured Radical’s position at an institution like hers is right around the inflection point, and thus sees many of those whom she considers her peers galloping off into the distance, while many of the commenters there and here see someone like that a few lengths in front of them and wonder what the fucke they are complaining about.

    In relation to administrators, while there may be some bloat, faculty *grossly* underestimate the number, magnitude, and scope of the tasks that have to be undertaken by administrators to allow the work of a university to proceed.

  39. Janice on 28 Oct 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    I make more than TR. Of course, those are Canadian dollars, but, right now, those are running close to par.

    I also am in a union. I’ve been in a union since grad school (when I walked the picket lines, twice).

    Yes, those factors correlate. Things aren’t perfect. We’ve lost positions with no sign of their being filled with either full-time or sessional instructors. Cue increased workloads on everyone, especially as more students are recruited.

    I struggle under the metric whackload of students I’m expected to teach (this year my wonderful department chair capped my 1st and 2nd year courses or I’d have drowned in the marking). I do field those annoying “What do you do all summer?” to which I’ve started to reply “Research and write the history that makes my teaching come alive and fills the bookstores.” But I can’t complain about my salary thanks to the union and a somewhat different cultural attitude toward higher ed, I suspect.

  40. On Being Grateful « Shitty First Drafts on 28 Oct 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    [...] the economics of professorial salaries going right now, and the conversation has lapped over onto Historiann.  If you are currently seeking a distraction from grading and/or writing, you could do worse than [...]

  41. Gimmie sum link love « Grumpy rumblings of the untenured on 30 Oct 2010 at 1:16 am #

    [...] week the academic blogosphere has been abuzz with our annoyance at salary freezes and how they disincentivize effort, especially in service and teaching if there’s no [...]

  42. Faculty Salaries, to complain or not to complain… « Sleeping in the Forest on 14 Nov 2010 at 1:25 am #

    [...] themselves don’t feel the need or the right to complain. You can read a few different views: Historiann,  Dr Crazy, another post by TR, Squadratomagico, and [...]

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