Are We Paying Our College Faculty Enough?

Everybody knows, or thinks they know, that Virginia doesn’t pay its school teachers enough. But how about college faculty? The higher up the economic food chain you go, the more competitive the salaries are. Do our public colleges and universities pay enough to attract and retain the bright stars of academe?

The House of Delegates has concerns, and has directed the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to look into them. The logic goes like this: “a college education is essential in a knowledge based global economy, and … increased knowledge and skills result in enhanced employability, higher earning power, career advancement, and a better quality of life. … Faculty expertise enables college graduates to become productive, tax paying employees for thousands of employers across the Commonwealth, region and nation.”

Citing a $350 million “base budget funding gap” in higher ed, the House resolution directs SCHEV to compare salaries and benefits by academic discipline and academic rank, identify best practices for recruiting and retaining high-quality facilty, and develop recommendations for Virginia’s public colleges and universities.

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11 responses to “Are We Paying Our College Faculty Enough?”

  1. I once heard that some insanely high percentage of W&M professors had applications in at other schools…

  2. I do believe we are paying our college faculty enough.

    This sounds alot like the continued banging of the drums for K-12 teachers. Gives us more money…but we cannot agree to making any improvements in the school.

    A college teacher should be like other professionals. If you want the higher pay that is offer in another location, then apply for the job.

    Let me take a stab at the up coming results

    1. Faculty needs a pay raise to reach the national average (or linked to some other obscure number).
    2. More attention to diversity.
    3. Better benefits.
    4. Better retirement
    5. More attention to dual career families.
    6. On site day care

    I interested, I will send you a copy of a letter I sent to the president of Virginia Tech addressing these issues.


  3. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Al, by all means, shoot me a copy of the letter at

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Higher ed faculty raises have been averaging seven percent a year recently. Other state employees have been getting around three percent a year.

  5. nova_middle_man Avatar

    I can only speak for JMU but faculty rates were frozen for several years and just increased at about 3% the past two years.

    I think the ultimate problem is that college budgets across the board are incresing at rates of 10+ percent a year. Virginia colleges can hide behind the fact that other colleges are increasing their budgets. However, if other colleges are increaing pay then Virginia does not really have a choice if they want to retain faculty.

  6. Richmond Independent Avatar
    Richmond Independent

    According to U.S. News and World Report (print edition, no link sorry)

    University of Virginia
    Overall Ranking – 23rd
    Faculty Resources Ranking – 36th
    Financial Resources Ranking – 55th
    Selectivity Rank – 25th
    Alumni Giving Rank – 30th

    College of William and Mary
    Overall Ranking – 31st
    Faculty Resources Ranking – 49th
    Financial Resources Ranking – 115th
    Selectivity Rank – 27th
    Alumni Giving Rank – 34th

    William and Mary is grossly underfunded. And it’s not because the alumni don’t give enough.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Financial Resources Ranking includes endowments and other private monies. W&M bigest issue is that its alums don’t give enough.

    May be some reason for that. UVA has a $2B endowment…how’d that happen?

  8. Richmond Independent Avatar
    Richmond Independent

    Are you saying that the ranking of 34th in Alumni Giving for W&M is innaccurate?

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    My Virginia university posts some of this data online when professors come on as salaried associate professors (as opposed to just adjunct). I came across a few of these memos from about 2 years ago. The professors were being hired with PhDs at $40,000 per year to teach a full course load. I was surprised to see that it was so little $$$.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Richmond Independent – I am not arguing with the giving rate at all…that can be achieved with $1 annual gift from enough alumni. CWM is twice as old as UVa…but UVa is more highly rated and (I believe) has seven times the endowment. Yes, UVa is bigger…but that reflects choices made by both institutions. UVa’s growth though is a relatively recent phenomenon. Clearly though UVa has been more effective in raising and saving money.

  11. Anonymous Avatar


    I managed to get a full athletic scholarship with advice from this book.

    Winning a Sports Scholarship

    I highly recommend reading the book and following his advice.

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