September 26, 2002

Salaries for Professors, Administration Increase

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Following a nationwide trend, the American Association of University Professors and The Chronicle for Higher Education have reported increases in salaries for both university administration as well as university professors.

President Hunter R. Rawlings’ III salary increase mirrors the increase in salaries of other Ivy League presidents.

Some speculate that the increase is recognition of the changing role of a university president.

Prof. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, economics and industrial and labor relations, likened the changes in universities to changes in the corporate world.

An article in The Daily Pennsylvanian made the same comparison, as it pointed out to a change in the university presidents job description. The article said presidents are moving, “into more dynamic roles in which they are expected to act as both academic authorities and corporate executives.”

Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations, agreed.

He said the role of serving as president, “is a very big task indeed — a very complex task.” He added that the University’s Board of Trustees is now recognizing the intensity of the job, which has caused the increase in salary.

The increase in pay is also seen with Cornell professors, especially those in the endowed colleges.

As reported in the Chronicle for Higher Education, average salaries for professors have gone from $97,900 to $110,600 in the endowed colleges and $78,200 to $92,200 in the statutory colleges.

Dullea said Rawlings has kept up-to-date on national professor salary data and works to, “recruit the best possible people for Cornell.”

According to Ehrenberg, hiring for professors is a, “competitive market. There are a lot of fields of employers out there, there’s almost a market price we have to meet.”

Other factors do exist that also help draw potential professor candidates to Cornell.

“Salaries are a part but it’s not the whole picture,” Ehrenberg said.

He mentioned factors such as the quality of life, the faculty and the research abilities are also draws to join University staff.

Prof. Andrew M. Novakovic, chair of applied economics and management, also pointed to several of these factors as reasons for professor retention.

“When faculty talk about what keeps them at Cornell, salary is one of those things but it’s only one,” he said. “You want to be around quality people [and] people like to work in facilities that allow them to do their best work.”

Though appreciating these other aspects, salary does play an important role.

Novakovic said salary levels contribute to faculty morale, as well as their sense of validation, achievement and reward.

Rawlings hopes to continue the trend of recognition, as he proposed eight percent salary increases for professors in all colleges, which should continue over the next few years.

Archived article by Rachel Brenner