Income Inequality in Higher Ed

POSTED BY MARTIN KICH

This chart has been provided as part of an article by Emily Peck on the factors driving income inequality:

CEO's and Avg Worker's Compensation

In response to my posts on administrative bloat, I have sometimes received complaints that my emphasis on high administrative salaries is beside the point because relatively few upper administrators receive those salaries and those salaries do not constitute a high percentage of almost any institutional budgets.

Granted, at most institutions, the salaries of presidents are not 275 times the average faculty salary. But it is just as obvious that the disproportion between presidents’ income, which now typically includes sizable taxable and deferred compensation beyond the base salaries, and faculty salaries has been increasing dramatically—at a rate that would also be need to be represented as a steep line on a graph. And as the incomes of presidents have risen, the incomes of their immediate subordinates and of third- and fourth-tier administrators have also risen—and at a much faster rate than faculty salaries have increased, if they have increased at all. To a great extent, this widening income gap accounts for the increasing “cultural” divide between administrators and faculty.

And, if one compares the incomes of adjunct faculty, who represent an increasing percentage of the total faculty both in terms of raw headcount and in terms of the percentage of courses that they teach, the corporatization of higher education is all the more obvious. At my own institution, the president’s total taxable compensation in 2015 was $1.08 million. The average adjunct faculty member received about $2,500 per course and the teaching loads have been capped at three courses per semester to avoid having to provide those faculty members with health insurance. So, in 2015, our president’s income was 72 times that of an adjunct faculty member “lucky enough” to be assigned three courses per semester.

 

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