Magazine article Academe

The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2014-15

Magazine article Academe

The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2014-15

Article excerpt

INSTITUTIONS OF hIghER EDUCATION, as has been noted previously in Academe, are facing unprecedented challenges from "shrinking public resources, administrators' random introduction of 'creative disruption' agendas, and the increasing possibility that state legislators will push for more right-towork legislation." Faculty members need to reclaim the public narrative about higher education and address the widespread misperceptions about faculty salaries and benefits, state support for public colleges and universities, and competition within higher education. Rebutting these misperceptions can aid in organizing to achieve economic security for all faculty members-full time and part time, on and off the tenure track.

This year's report on the economic status of the profession explores myths about higher education and presents data from a variety of sources, including the AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey, to bust them. It focuses on four common misperceptions: that faculty are to blame for higher tuition prices; that faculty are "ridiculously overpaid" compared to professionals working in "the real world"; that responding to "disruptive innovations" such as online and for-profit education requires reducing the number of tenure-track faculty; and, finally, that if institutions of higher education could get faculty benefits under control, they would be better places for faculty and students. In contrast to these misperceptions, this report shows that the erosion of private endowments and the decline of state appropriations, not faculty salaries, have pushed average net price tuition upward. …

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