Harvard Faculty Some of Best Paid in Academia

Harvard pays its best-and-brightest faculty some of the best salaries in the nation, according to a recent study by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

And hefty salary increases last year assured that they would remain among the highest paid. Harvard increased senior faculty salaries 4.8 percent during the last academic year, 1.8 percent above the national average and 1.5 percent above the rate of inflation, the annual report said.

The AAUP's study, "Not So Good: The Economic Status of the Profession," alarmed many in academia because inflation, at 3.3 percent, out paced the average salary increase for full-time faculty across the nation, a meager three percent for the last academic year.

Senior faculty across Harvard's nine school made $112,200 on average for the '96-'97 school year, the report said. Only one doctoral institution, Rockfellar University in New York, paid its senior faculty more: $113,300 on average.

Average pay for Harvard's associate professors was $60,600 and $56,900 for assistant professors, according to the report.

"Not only do Harvard professors earn more in their category; their salaries increased faster than the average," said Linda A. Bell, a Haverford College economist who wrote the report.

At doctoral-level universities across the country, senior professors earned $76,326, associated received $53,534 and assistants were paid $44,956 on average.

Though Harvard professors are faring well, many academics worry about the growing disparity between rich universities and their less well-off competitors.

"There is a widening gap between haves and have-nots-both in the world of university faculties and in the larger world," said Theda Skocpol, professor of government and of sociology. "Both gaps worry me."

Bell said that over the past several years the survey has found increasing variation in the salary data, deviation that she believes attributable to rich universities faring increasingly better while poor institutions are becoming worse off.

"I think the data tails are moving apart which means the Harvards, the relatively high paying institutions, are varying particularly well," Bell said.

Bell credits the problem to the inherent quality of capitalism-competition.

"To me it reflects increased competition for the stars," she said. "Institutions that have a history in terms of seeking the best in their fields and have the ability to pay are now using that in the standard competitive way exactly as we would predict."

The report again found discrepancies in how much male and female faculty members are paid, an female faculty members are paid, an inequality that is ture at Harvard as well.

Male members of the senior faculty across the Universty made on average $13,00 more than female members of the senior faculty. Discrepancies persisted in the lower levels of the faculty as well, with male associate professors making $2,400 more than their female counterparts per year and male assistant professor leading by $2,100 yearly.

University officals said that the difference was due to an age gap.