Distressing here is not only the reduced purchasing power of full time faculty (how can I not be distressed?), but more to the poiunt are facts like this:
Long-term salary trends also indicate a widening differential between the average salaries of faculty members at private colleges and universities and the average salaries of their colleagues at public institutions. When public institutions struggle to attract (and keep) the best faculty, our nation faces the risk of creating separate but unequal systems of higher education. The salaries paid to head football coaches at Division I-A universities are ten times as high as the salaries of senior professors. What does this say about the priorities of these universities? The gap between faculty salaries and salaries paid to administrators continues to grow. What does that tell us about institutional priorities? This year’s report builds on previous discussions of presidents’ salaries by including data for other top administrators. Over three decades, employment patterns in colleges and universities have been radically transformed. While the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty has grown 17 percent, the ranks of contingent faculty (both part and full time) and full-time nonfaculty professionals have each tripled, and the count of administrators has doubled.
I have harped on this here and elsewhere, but this is more evidence about the deleterious effects of the corporatization of the university: growing labor exploitation, an increasing gap between the wealthiest employees (Football coaches? Hello?) and the poorest (and I'm not even talking about junior TT faculty, who even in the worst situations are above the poverty line (see contingent faculty)), and growing emphasis on middle management.
The title of the report asks where the priorities are for American Higher ed, and given that faculty employment info tells us much about what happens in the classroom, the priorities are the bottom line over quality education. Why else put over-worked, underpaid contingent faculty and graduate teachers in front of over overpopulated classrooms?
I know! Football coaches are not working in the off-season! Let's let THEM teach 4 sections of comp! Basketball staff can do some summer sessions at 3k a pop and see how happy they are.
Let's see what happens when highly-paid administrators find themselves back in the classroom. Sadly, there's a lot more stuff to be said here that has to pertain to my own institution, but I'm not in a position to blog about it now. Suffice it to say we've got our own problems with highly-paid, high-ranking administrators not worried about how their priorities reflect on the classrooms they purportedly oversee.