Back in April, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released an extensive report detailing the economic situation of the country’s professoriate. Inside Higher Education nicely summarized the findings.
Among the many impressive charts and graphs are listings of the various public and private schools which employ the highest-paid full and assistant professors.
Full professors at Columbia University bring home the highest salaries in the industry on average ($212,300). At Harvard, the average figure is $203,000. At Caltech, it’s $179,200. You could argue that these numbers are too high or too low, but it’s hard to argue that these schools shouldn’t be among the ones paying professors the most.
Other schools, not so much. Some colleges and universities that pay their professors a ton of money relative to the rest of the industry are real head-scratchers. These nine schools simply do not belong among the schools paying top dollar for their faculties.
New York University is a fine school for privileged kids who want to spend four years and drop a ton of cash in the heart of a glorious city. Also, the Big Apple is nothing if not expensive, so it makes intuitive sense that all salaries would reflect the high cost of living. At the same time, NYU is nowhere near the Ivy League, now is it? The average full professor’s salary of $187,600 (more than at Yale, more than at Penn) seems excessive.
The vaunted U.S. News rankings — the last word on the quality of American colleges for some reason — places the New Jersey Institute of Technology #139 on its list of national universities. That’s a whopping 56 spots behind the University of Tulsa (but a few spots ahead of St. John Fisher College). Why do full professors at the public school average $166,700 per year, which is considerably more than full profs make at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor? For the record, the cost of living in NJIT’s hometown of Newark is roughly comparable to the cost in San Diego, according to Infoplease.com.