Appalachian’s average professor salary lower than peer institutions

Chelsey Fisher

On average, the university’s adjunct, assistant, associate and full professors make $68,207, which is at the 80th percentile, Provost Lori Gonzalez said.

The university’s peer institutions’ average salary for professors is $77,975, Gonzalez said.
Professors also work an average of 55 hours per week, Gonzalez said.

Increasing the salary is a goal, but “because of the times we’re in, we can’t change salaries,” which has been the same for the last four years, Tim Burwell, vice provost for Resource Management, said.

The General Assembly appropriated funds of up to $22,221,350 to support a 1.2 percent pay raise for faculty for the 2012-13 year, he said.

Some professors received an additional increase based on performance, breaking the four-year “dry spell” without pay raises, he said.

Leslie Cook, an associate professor in the English Department, said the pay raise was a potential tank of gas or a winter coat for her daughter.

As a single mother, the pay raise helped, especially when the cost of living in the high country is expensive, she said.

On average, Cook, who has worked at Appalachian for five years, said she works 40 to 50 hours a week.

“Forty to 50 hours is what you’re doing if you’re doing your writing and service and your teaching,” Cook said. “It’s more of a lifestyle as opposed to job.”

This semester, Cook is teaching four classes, while also being involved with service and scholarship as a tenured professor.

“I love my career, I love what I have chosen to do,” Cook said. “But yes, money is important because we have to live.”

Tenured professors, in addition to instruction, are required to be involved in scholarship, which includes expanding their knowledge in their field, and services activities, which provides their service in their discipline.

Mark Venable, a professor in the biology department said he usually works 50 to 60 hours a week.
Venable, who has worked at Appalachian for 17 years, teaches three courses this semester in addition to service and scholarship with the university.

When there were no pay raises, Venable’s son was in college, he said.

“And of course the price of everything was going up, and my salary is not going up,” Venable said.

This pay raises was “better than nothing,” he said.

This fall, Venable said his daughter just started college.

Without his salary increasing, Venable said it cuts down on his “ability to do personal things.”

“But I’m not going hungry,” he said. “We’re not missing mortgage payments or anything.”

Appalachian pays its professors based on data provided by College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, which is an organization that provides salary information to institutions, Burwell said.

Appalachian looks at what they think is a “competitive” salary based on what the university can and should provide compared to universities at, above and below our level, he said.

Professors are paid for their effort over the nine-month academic year over 12 months for benefit reasons, Burwell said.

Story: KELLI STRAKA, News Reporter