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Overpaid Staff; Underpaid Faculty

Talking about cutting bone to save fat. If you are ever looking for evidence that the College had its priorities all messed up, and that, in fact, Dartmouth is run for the staff and not for students, check out faculty salaries. Students come to Hanover to work with good professors, not with overpaid cook helpers or special assistant associate deans, so you would think that the administration would try hard to attract the best people possible. You’d be wrong.

Even though faculty salaries are only 10% of the total College budget, the administration has chosen to save money in this area. What this 10% number means is that we could increase faculty pay by 20%, and only increase the total budget by 2%. But no, there’s no money available for an intelligent investment like that (just as there is no dough for need-blind adissions for international students, kosher dining, the renovation of crummy dorms, relief from the second-highest tuition in the Ivies, and on and on).

As the old saying goes, if you pay less than your competitors, you will be less than your competitors. Take a look at the Department of Education’s IPEDS data (gathered from the schools themselves; this is not a sampling or some kind of study; colleges and universities are obliged by law to furnish this information to the federal government). Here’s what we pay our full professors, people who earned tenure long ago and then were promoted again after compiling a consistent record over time of fine scholarship and teaching:

Dartmouth Faculty Salaries Full Professors.jpg

We are not the worst in the Ivies, but we certainly show no ambition to be in the top tier.

Then there are the College’s associate professors, faculty who were granted tenure recently or not so recently (in the case of “stuck” associates, but that’s a story for another day). Does the administration really care to try to keep our rising stars? The numbers say negatory:

Dartmouth Faculty Salaries Associate Professors.jpg

What about junior faculty, our assistant professors, the seed corn trying to earn tenure. They are the future of the College. How hard do we try to attract the best people to Hanover — the same people that the other Ivies are trying to woo? Not very (Penn is trying hard):

Dartmouth Faculty Salaries Assistant Professors.jpg

Finally, lecturers are the folks who do the heavy lifting. They are not on a tenure track; all the people here are in the category of adjunct faculty. By some estimates, though the College does not reveal this figure, they teach almost half of all courses. Once again, we pay less than the other Ivies, and by a good ways. What does that tell you?

Dartmouth Faculty Salaries Lecturers.jpg

Such poor performance is particularly galling given how wealthy the College is. We have far more endowment per student than Penn, Brown, Columbia and Cornell (more that double all of these schools except for Penn), yet they pay their faculty members much more than we do.

Unlike in the Bible, the last shall be last.

Addendum: These figures were drawn from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s on-line database, where the basic data come from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS). Here’s a portion of Dartmouth’s page:

AAUP Salaries Dartmouth Comp.jpg

Addendum: While we report above on the underpayment of the College’s faculty, The D notes that our faculty is less diverse that others. Priorities, priorities. The two subjects are linked, in fact: minority faculty members and administrators are better paid than persons of non-color, such is the competition among schools to show their diversity.


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