Losing Focus: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2013-14 — from the American Association of University Professors

Excerpt from 4/7/14 announcement:

 Washington, DC—Developments in recent decades—diversion of resources to administration, ballooning of contingent positions, and runaway spending on athletics—signal that our colleges and universities are losing focus on their academic missions. Losing Focus: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2013–14, released today by the AAUP. The AAUP’s annual report has been an authoritative source of data on faculty salaries and compensation for decades.


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As is traditional in this annual report, we begin with an overview of full-time faculty compensation. For those who are interested, the report is supplemented with numerous detailed tables covering all aspects of pay, benefits, and employment status for full-time faculty members. Following the introductory section, we examine trends in the employment of administrators and in spending on administrative positions of various kinds. Administrative spending is a perennial topic, and the data reviewed here indicate that it deserves continuing attention, especially when we contrast it with declining expenditures on instruction. The final section analyzes another frequent concern of this report, the “irrational exuberance” (to borrow an apt phrase from another context) surrounding intercollegiate athletics. When we tally up the score on the economics of college sports, we find it hard to avoid the conclusion that current practices are harming our academic programs.

We offer this report as a step toward helping all of us who are dedicated to academic freedom and high-quality higher education to regain our focus.