slides: Oregon Professors Are Among Lowest Paid in U.S.
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
Many schools in Oregon are replacing tenured staff with part-time or associate professors, according to Jose Padin, sociology professor at Portland State University and President of the Oregon American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Padin said lack of full-time professors is damaging the quality of education.
The average tenured professor in Oregon was paid $89,163 during the 2013-2014 school year, which is not only $30,000 below the national average, but $100,000 less than professor salaries at some of the nation’s highest paying universities.
Of the eleven universities in Oregon that reported their salaries in an AAUP survey, Willamette University paid the most for full professors, an average of $115,000 a year. In contrast, Columbia University and Stanford University pay full time professors approximately $215,000 annually. The national average salary for a full professor is $119,282.
Funding for Education
According to Education Week, the state ranks 46th in the nation for educational funding. As schools struggle to prioritize budgets, staff salaries are often hit hardest with cuts.
“Students only get dedicated mentors part of them and for the remaining core of full-time faculty, the student workload increases,” Padin said. “In education, you don’t have the perspective to know you’re being shortchanged as a new student. It’s not how it used to be.”
Across the United States, two-thirds of college teaching is done by part time faculty, often without job security. Padin said part-time professors often have to take several teaching positions with other institutions.
This shift of staffing is changing the face of Oregon universities. Padin said as instructor quality suffers, intuitions will focus on other selling points to create a brand name. Schools will often highlight things such as new recreational centers to attract new students, according to Padin.
While schools are cutting full-time positions, Padin said the Oregon AAUP is concerned about how much university administrators get paid.
“Portland State University salaries are in the bottom 10 percent for comparable intuitions nationally. PSU top executives are in the top one third for compensation,” Padin said. “Those are the facts, reach your own conclusions.”
“It’s important to recognize of a lot of services that used to be performed by the faculty are now being performed by the administrators,” Torgerson said. “We also have a lot of services colleges weren’t responsible for but are now.”
Willamette had the highest salaries for tenured professors in Oregon, and some of the top salaries for associate and assistant professors. Torgerson said high salaries are crucial for attracting the high-quality faculty.
“We are paying for talented professionals, who are in increasingly high demand. It’s how you compete with big industries,” Torgerson said.
Costs for Students
Oregon, and the rest of the nation, is searching for a way to pay for higher education without shifting the costs to students. A bill that is being discussed in Oregon’s 2015 legislative session looks to provide free tuition for community colleges.
Tracy Gibbs is one of the PSU students who worked on the “Pay it Forward” initiative, which would allow students pay tuition costs after graduation. Gibbs said programs like “Pay it Forward” may not be perfect or solve all the problems for funding college, but that the state needs to start doing something.
“We are burdened. Too much is on parents and students for paying for schools,” Gibbs said. “And where is the money going? That’s the question that needs to be answered.”
Related Slideshow: What 11 Oregon Colleges Pay Their Professors
How much do professors at Oregon colleges and universities make? Here are the the 2013-2014 school year average salaries for full time, assistant and associate professors from schools who participated in the American Association of University Professors Survey.