A blog about Politics, Texas, and Academia

Should Assistant College Professors Get Paid More Than Tenured Professors?

In Academia, College, Education on September 7, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Here’s the question: Should assistant professors be paid more than tenured ones? James Miller of Inside Higher Ed defends this argument and examines how this concept may benefit colleges (while ticking off a whole bunch of tenured profs!):

Assistant professors in many ways have harder jobs than tenured professors do. They have more pressure to publish. They usually spend more time on class preparation because they have taught their classes relatively few times. And, keeping in mind their looming tenure bids, they often feel compelled to be more deferential to their senior colleagues than they would prefer. Those who care about economic fairness consequently should support the idea of assistant professors making more than tenured professors. And those who care about markets should understand that the less pleasant the job, the higher salary you must pay to attract top talent.

Job security is a large part of tenured professors’ compensation. So even if a tenured professor has a somewhat lower monetary salary than an assistant professor does, he probably, over all, receives more total compensation than his non-tenured colleagues. After all, I suspect few tenured professors who are not superstars or close to retirement would agree to exchange, say, $3,000 in extra salary in return for abandoning tenure.

I can see the whole logic behind the busyness of assistant professors but hmmm… I know a few tenured professors that work just as hard, but also know of several that are nothing but slugs. Besides, isn’t part of the reward of being tenured is that you’ve already worked your tail off to get there?

This discussion leaves me wondering what UST professors think…

Read the rest of his article here.

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