The University has the highest paid professors in the state of Michigan, according to a recent report by the American Association of University Professors.
The AAUP’s annual report, released Friday, outlines compensation trends in higher-education institutions across the country. In 2012, University professors earned an average of $110,200 and an additional $27,500 in benefits.
Salaries varied significantly between professorial positions, with full professors making an average of $148,700, associate professors at an average of $101,100, assistant professors at an average of $88,600 and general instructors at an average of $66,100. In February, the University projected slightly different numbers for 2012 to 2013.
Faculty in each category also received tens of thousands of dollars worth of benefits as a part of their total compensation package.
University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said it’s important for the University to maintain competitive salaries since faculty members also consider salary as an important factor in choosing potential institutions.
“We must be competitive if we are going to attract the very best faculty members to the University,” Fitzgerald said in an e-mail interview. “It’s also important to note that U-M recruits faculty members nationally, so faculty salaries must be competitive with our peer institutions across the nation.”
Fitzgerald said the University often competes with several other institutions when recruiting and retaining faculty members, including Harvard University; the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; the University of Chicago and the University of Texas.
On average, Faculty here at the University earn less than their peers at private institutions. U.S. Department of Education statistics from 2011 show the average professor salary at Harvard is making $203,699, or $197,788 at University of Chicago.
According to a presentation used in University Provost Phil Hanlon and Vice Provost Martha Pollack’s class on the University budget, 510 professors were offered jobs at other institutions over the past seven years, and 60 percent choose to stay. Over that same period, 650 professors were recruited to work at the University from other institutions.
Fitzgerald said the University has had success in retaining professors by implementing modest but steady pay increases. He added that avoiding unpredictable changes in pay has helped the University retain quality faculty members. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, many public universities across the country have been forced to furlough faculty or reduce their salaries in the face of shrinking state appropriations — something the University has not yet been forced to do.
And while the University has cut $235 million in recurring costs — with another $120 million planned by 2017 — funds for retaining quality professors remain largely intact.
“One of the keys to U-M’s success during this past decade of difficult financial times in the state of Michigan has been the development of financial discipline that has allowed the university to trim costs on the operational side to maintain funding for our core missions of teaching, research, community service and patient care,” Fitzgerald wrote.
The University joins Michigan State University, Wayne State University, UM-Dearborn and Michigan Technological University as the five highest paying institutions in the state of Michigan. Michigan State University’s average professor salary is $94,600.
Outside of the state, the University’s average professor salary is comparable to other Big Ten schools. The Ohio State University, for example, has an average professorial salary of slightly less than the University at $136,900.
In the Midwest, including institutions in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, the average salary for professors at four-year institutions is $94,000.
The report also illustrates a gender gap between the salaries of male and female professors. Male professors earn an average salary of $155,300 compared to $130,400 for females. Fitzgerald said there are a higher percentage of male faculty members that are full professors at the University, earning more than associate or assistant professors.