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Posted on Thu, May 10, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Pay comparison: Full University of Michigan professors average $149K per academic year

By Kellie Woodhouse


Pay rates of full professors at the University of Michigan are in the 87th percentile of doctoral universities nationwide, according to an Association of American University Professors survey.

Steve Pepple |

The average full professor at the University of Michigan makes $148,800 per academic year, or roughly 31 percent more than the average pay earned by professors at other universities offering doctoral degrees.

An Association of American University Professors survey of 2011-12 pay rates shows U-M's full professor salaries are in the 87th percentile of doctoral universities nationwide.

U-M associate professors on average earn $98,200 per academic year and assistant professors earn $85,800. Non-tenured instructors earn $65,000.

The average full professor at Eastern Michigan University earns $93,200.

U-M faculty pay rates are above the national average. For example, the national average for a full professor salary is $113,200, the AAUP survey shows.

AAUP adjusted all rates to reflect a nine-month term for overall survey consistency; however many U-M professors work during the summer and earn full 12-month salaries. The average full-year salary for a full professor is slightly more than $200,000, according to U-M data. Additionally, medical school faculty are excluded from the AAUP data.

Screen shot 2012-05-10 at 12.02.42 PM.png

University of Michigan 9-month faculty pay averages.

Chart courtesy of U-M.

U-M Provost Phil Hanlon has said that keeping salaries on par with peer institutions is key to remaining competitive.

"The quality and reputation of the university depends on the strength of the faculty and staff. Maintaining competitive salaries is an important component of our ability to retain the best faculty and staff," he said in December.

U-M faculty have received an average $47,900 in pay raises since 2000, compared with the national average of $36,400. Faculty at public institutions averaged a 2.8 percent merit raise this year, according to AAUP data.

U-M is right on par with the national average in that regard. Faculty this year averaged a 2.8 percent increase, while administrators received 2.7 percent merit raises on average, and staff received a 2.2 percent increase, according the the university's salary report.

“There have been no decreases or furloughs” in recent years, said AAUP U-M Chapter President Dan Burns, a mathematics professor. “U-M hasn’t done that. There’s always been a little bit of a raise. Sometimes there’s been very good raises: 3 percent at a time when the rest of the country seems to be bleeding.”

AAUP data suggests a gender gap still exists in pay.

Fully tenured male professors at U-M make roughly $14,400 more per year on average than female professors, forming a 10.4 percent pay difference, which is on par with the national average. Female associate professors at U-M earn, on average, $5,500 less than their male counterparts and female assistant professors earn an average of $6,100 less than males in such positions.

"I think it's closing," U-M Law School professor and head of the faculty tenure committee Reuven Avi-Yonah said of the gender gap. "It's just a question of seniority. We have many more younger women faculty (than we used to)."

Out of the 1,251 colleges surveyed by AAUP, Harvard University offers the highest pay rate at an average of $198,400 per fully tenured professor. University of Chicago, the third-highest compensator, pays full professors $197,800.

According to the data, at $162,600 per year, the University of California at Los Angeles offers the highest full professor salary of any public university. University of California at Berkley full professors earn $154,000 on average.

Avi-Yonah, former Harvard faculty, said he's "not surprised" Harvard topped the list. "It's Harvard," he said, adding that often prominent scholars choose to work at a public school like U-M because "you feel you're at a place that is (accessable to the) public and you are helping the public."

Other universities U-M considers peers offer similar, but lower, full professor rates as the Ann Arbor school. The average rate at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is $144,000 and at University of Virginia is $141,600. Michigan State University pays full professors $128,600 per year on average.

Although U-M is in the top 40 universities as far as pay offerings, private institutions as a whole generally pay more than public schools, according to the AAUP data.

U-M employs 3,374 full time faculty and 815 part time faculty. Of the school's full time faculty, 1,427 are tenured, 419 are on the tenure track and 1,528 aren't on a tenure track, according to U.S. Department of Education reports.

Nationwide, the median base salary of a president of a public university offering doctoral degrees is $390,321. The median for such private institutions is $582,700, according to AAUP data. At U-M, President Mary Sue Coleman's base pay is $585,783 and her total compensation package is $910,700 per year.

This article has been revised to note that $113,200 is the national average salary for full professors. Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Fri, May 11, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

This statistic includes all full professors, including those in medical and technical field whose salaries must and should be competitive with salaries in comparable private sectors... profs in the humanities are paid much less. Also UM---unlike many other institutions ,where kids go the parent's school for free,--- does NOT give tuition breaks to children of profs attending the UM. some schools even subsidize prof's kids tuition at schools other than that where the parent teaches... so those in a dither over these figures can unknot their shorts.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Thank you for trying to clarify the headline, but it should read "U of M Full Professors..." NOT "Full U of M Professors".


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Mike, the faculty at the U wasn't any less "elite" prior to the rush in popularity of the federally subsidized student loan, was it? Did the generations of people, into the late 1980's, get an education that was any less elite simply because tuition was more affordable? The implication is that they must be paid this much because they are the best? Were they any less "the best" before? Tuition has been artificially inflated, and this is a public school, not a private one.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 11:34 a.m.

As long as people are willing to put themselves in debt and earn degrees which will make it hard to pay back the loans they'll get their raises and you'll just need to sacrifice a little more. If you want to be instructed by the elite then you need to be prepared to pay.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 11 a.m.

The % pay discrepancy could be measured by where females are teaching. Traditional powerhouses like business, engineering, and law are often dominated by male faculty, which weights the salary scale in their favor. It would be best to do comparison department by department, and then get the difference. U-M is one of the premier institutions. Just like working for a premier company, you get what you pay for. Just look around the city at solutions that are a result of the U, Merit, Health Media, Arbor Networks, Cielo, to name a few. If you want U-M to continue to be a premier school, you have to compete with UNC, Berkley, Penn State, Purdue, Stanford, and the likes of Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Brown, and others. I'd like to see a comparison to those institutions, verses the other 15 state institutions in Michigan.

Monica R-W

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 6:02 a.m.

WOW!! That's a lot of money and benefits for U of M President Coleman. No wonder U of M tuition is too high for the average student.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 5:29 a.m.

Here is the reason why U of M professors are (and should be) paid more - they generated $1.24B in competitive research grants. This is more than any other university in the country and significantly more than any other university in Michigan. I do not disagree that other universities may have exceptional professors that students love. I also had exceptional professors at U of M that I loved. But, in addition to being great professors, they were also conducting leading research in their field and bringing in massive amounts of research dollars to the university, which benefits not only the university and its students, but also have significant economic multiplier effects on the region. A number of reports have shown what an impact our research universities have on our economy and U of M accounts for over 70% of research dollars of the big 3. I am surprised they are not paid more and I am grateful we have a leading research institution in the region.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 5:09 a.m.

Where is the outcry about the salary of a professional athlete who works in a tax payer funded stadium (Comerica, Ford Field). You do realize that even if you never set foot in either of those facilities YOU paid for them. The increase value of the team allows players to receive multi million dollar contracts. I much prefer a University paying top-notch professors in doctoral pursuits a higher rate, because the EXPECTATIOn (research, getting published) is much higher than at EMU, or other 'directional" schools.

Basic Bob

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 10:44 a.m.

And I also help pay the salaries at the U who work in buildings I will never step foot in with property and income taxes.

Michael K.

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 4 a.m.

To dotdash's point about average and median: He/she actually read your post accurately. You need to immediately figure out exactly where you are talking about "averages" and where "median" (half above and half below.) Those are two very, very different numbers! If you aren't sure you should probably pull this article until you are. The question is based on this sentence, where you call the same numbers both "median" and "average" in the same paragraph. This needs to be fixed now! "U-M faculty pay rates are above the national median. For example, the national average for a full professor salary is $113,200, the AAUP survey shows."

Michael K.

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 4:44 a.m.

Thanks for the quick reply Kellie! That is a valid point, and in that light really just a small matter then. I know this type of slog through a dense thicket of numbers is almost impossible to write about! You've done a great job here! I have the equivalent of a degree in statistics (MBA & a 6 Sigma Black Belt certification) and I don't think I could begin to make something like this interesting. Plus I wouldn't want to deal with the comments here. Cheers! Thanks for keeping a level head and having the guts to be in the public eye. Michael

Kellie Woodhouse

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 4:10 a.m.

This is a legitimate point. The U-M rate is above both the national average and median. Still, I've shifted the wording to be clear that the example I am giving is the average pay.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 3:43 a.m.

Interesting comparisons to Harvard, U of Chicago, UCLA, Berkley, where the cost of living is at least twice that of Ann Arbor. So that $148K goes a lot farther in Ann Arbor than it does in Boston, Chicago, LA and Palo Alto, where you can't even buy a house for under $500K. Pretty cushy job, 9 months a year, flexible hours.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 10:40 a.m.

No one gets to be a full professor working just 9 months a year. You can't get tenure, publications, or national grants that way. I'm only an assistant prof but I work at least 60 hours a week and sometimes up to 80. People don't go into academia for the cushy lifestyle.

Monica R-W

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 6:13 a.m.

Maybe brb11, he Dave Cj thinks U of M doesn't have Spring/Summer classes who need instructors to teach them? IDK but I assume he's thinking about the K-12 system, not 13+.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 5:50 a.m.

9 months a year? What in the world are you talking about?


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

You want to talk about what GM or Ford Execs make? Or the bonus pay outs and perks from industry? The U-M generates more money for the state of Michigan than any other school. You want a national reputation or a mediocre school that does nothing for the state.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 3:55 a.m.

Yes, GM Execs getting big money, as they should for getting tax payers to give them free money.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 12:39 a.m.

So is going to publish its salaries? Really would like to see what they pay Laurel and Tony for producing such large profits.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 3:11 a.m.

Hah. That would be rich. Laurel of the failed Ann Arbor News. Tony of the esteemed Flint Journal. How do you spell corporate welfare? L-A-U-R-E-L and T-O-N-Y


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

I don't get all the Republicans here complaining these salaries are too high. Would you prefer that everyone makes the median amount?


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

They are comparing the AVERAGE U of M salary, I believe, to the MEDIAN salary in the rest of the country, if I've got this right. If that is true, the comparison is worthless. Means tend to be higher than medians just because there are always a few values at the very high end. Please provide apples to apples if you are going to make a comparison.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

This is a very sorry bl;g positing that reflects lazy reporting. Please expend some minor effort to break down the numbers. A) take out the professional schools where salaries are geared to work outside the academy, which can hardly be questioned, and B) consider the competitive ranking of the rest of the faculty compared with other universities of comparable status and factor in the cost of living in each community. I may be wrong, but I would predict that given the amount of effort it takes to become and maintain a certain level of professional knowledge, UM is a bargain!

Laura Jones

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

Why make such an issue about he salaries of the people who actually teach? They are worth it - these are not huge salaries for the qualifications necessary. Now if you you wan to discuss the Dean salaries, we have something to talk about.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Laura -- it seems that you assume that the full professors actually do teach. Some do, and very well. Others do not, or teach only one graduate seminar a year. The burden of undergraduate instruction falls paradoxically to the junior faculty, lecturers, and graduate students.

Dog Guy

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

Less pay AND BENEFITS than these tweedsters believe they deserve. And how is Professor Hieftje, Wh.D. (Wheeler Dealer), doing?


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

But Professor Hieftje is in a position to do favors for UM. That is the kind of bargain UM is happy to pay for at AA taxpayers expense.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.

Good to know that this huge university with huge finances has a huge payroll for the positions that attract people to spend huge money on tuition, who'd have thunk it?!

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10:24 p.m.

Thanks, everyone, for reading. We've added the word 'full' to the headline to decrease confusion. The article states several times that the $149K rate applies to professors who have reached top rank and also states the rates of associate professors and assistant professors. Thanks again for reading.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

@ Ypsi: The article is filled with facts. It's the context that is troublesome. Not just the misleading headline that was changed only after multiple readers pointed out it was wrong. Even now, having the headline emphasize the most senior faculty members who are at the top of the scale creates an inflated impression as to what profs earn. The first sentence continues the deceptive context: "... 31 percent more than the average pay earned by professors at other universities offering doctoral degrees." UM shouldn't be compared to Ferris State. No offense towards the Bulldogs but UM is a much better school. UM is a top national school, so comparing it to all others that offer doctoral degrees isn't sound.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

You say, "thanks again for reading." However, your comments indicate that you think many people didn't read your article. By the way, I didn't ready your article, nor do I intend to. I guess I assumed that a highly competitive University would have higher wages.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

Northside, personally, I don't begrudge them their salaries. My problem is the "woe is us" attitude of the university administration, which has been even more offensive than usual recently. The shrill and consistent complaining about levels of state funding, especially in light of the dire straits of many families and communities in the state, doesn't help, either.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

Kellie -- the headline should read "University of Michigan Full Professors..." rather than "Full University of Michigan Professors...". The latter implies that they have just eaten a large supper.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Northside, the article relays the the information as reported by the American Association of University Professors...a group we all have to assume is pretty well-acquainted with the intricacies of situation. The paper didn't do the research, they're just reporting it. Assistant and Associate salaries are also reported. The survey compared "full professors," as well as other categories, so the headline, with "full' in it, is pretty representative of the rest of the info.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.

If this was the first time had done such a thing, I'd consider it is mistake and no big deal. But it has happened before with reporting on UM and also EMU salaries. You'll have to excuse some of us for thinking that it is an attempt to stir up animosity toward faculty salaries, rather than a simple error. Also, why put the full professor salaries in the headline, rather than the overall faculty average? Why has there never been an headline that emphasizes the assistant or associate salaries? There are numerous places where the article lacks context. Saying that UM full professors make 31% more than those at other institutions with doctoral degrees means you're comparing it with places such as WMU and CMU. Nothing against those schools, but getting hired/tenured/promoted at UM is far more difficult. One final comment: the article assumes that readers understand the different professor categories. Do all your readers know what it means to be a full professor? That it typically takes seven years to get tenured? That not all faculty make full professor, or that the category is based on a lengthy track record of high performance?


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

I'm a retired full professor (emeritus) from a second ranked university and made 10 to 15 percent less than a U of M full professor. However, I did not have the academic reputation to be a professor at Michigan nor the ability to bring in research funding at the incredibly successful rate that Michigan faculty do. In addition, I worked a 35 to 45 hour week, which is likely much less than U of M requires to be successful in moving up the academic ranks. If we have respect for the outstanding university in AA, we need to reward the people that make it world-class.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 10:34 a.m.

Very thoughtful comments, Roncanada.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

Look at the Mathematics Dept as an example of more "typical" data: 49 full professors earn a median $132K/yr. Nine associates earn $99K median. 47 assistant professors earn $54K median. This paints a little of a different picture than the headline!

Michigan Man

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

U of M Professors pushing hard for that 1% status at the expense of the 99% who are considered losers by the 1% academic elite.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

The middle rung (associate) prof position at UM averages 98K. Good money, for sure, but you'd have to quadruple it to reach the $370,000 required to be in the top 1%.

Basic Bob

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 10:40 a.m.

Yachts and private jets are a bit of a stretch, but I can imagine there is a lot of high living during summer office hours and breaks. Full professors only teach, what, 32 weeks a year?

Angry Moderate

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

Yeah, I'm sure professors are living the high life on their yachts and private jets with that $149k salary.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

If this is the "going rate" for talented instructors that's one thing. Having Mary Sue Coleman plead "lack of support" from the taxpayers of the state is quite another. U of M is a business that needs to sink or swim on the merits and not on subsidies. Preaching about lack of funding AND raising tuition at the same time might just mean her costs are out of control. ...but they'd never consider that.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Clearly a useless article without the corresponding comparison of average research dollars generated by professors at the same schools.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 10:32 a.m.

Very good point.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Articles like this are why I'm glad I canceled my print subscription to the Ann Arbor News years ago and will NEVER pay a cent for a copy of From the headline on down numbers are presented without any context and with the clear intent of stirring up animosity to those who work in the public sector. UM professors do not average 149K per year, only FULL professors, which are the people who have been at the institution the longest and jumped through many hoops to achieve the highest faculty rank. And nowhere does the article mention that UM is one of the nation's top universities, public or private. This is shameful and dishonest journalism.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

I don't think a reasonable person would think that the information in this article applies to most people at the university. I think it is clear that the info applies to a specific group or groups, and is not representative of the average university employee.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

Yeah. I remember the top UM execs/deans articles a while back, but I don't recall articles "wrongly identifying the average for full professors as the average for all faculty" and a quick search didn't render any.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

@ markd: it has been some time (a year?) since ran these articles, but there was a stretch where they did a lot of 'Top 10 salaries' type of stories. The articles gave an inaccurate sense of what most people at the institutions made and drummed up a lot of anti-public sector sentiment.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

@northside I dont recall hardly any articles on professor salary. Which one(s) are you talking about?


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

I feel you northside....they do the same thing with police and fire pensions...cherry-pick a handful of people making way more than most, and spotlight them. I'm not so sympathetic here, though, because while the headline is misleading, the rest of the article emphasizes these are "average" and/or "median" figures, which are then compared with the same figures for comparable schools. It's not like the picked the top-paid 10 or 20 people and tried to make them representative of everyone.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10:23 p.m.

Ypsi as of 6:20 p.m. the headline still reads, "Pay comparison: University of Michigan professors average $149K per academic year." The article was posted at 2:55, so over three hours have passed and several comments have noted the inaccuracy, yet no change has been made. You're right that the first sentence notes that it is full professors that average but why is the average for all faculty never presented? Emphasizing those at the top of the pay scale - along with the deceptive headline - creates a false impression as to what UM faculty make. As I noted elsewhere, this isn't the first time has done this. They've run similar articles on UM & EMU salaries, wrongly identifying the average for full professors as the average for all faculty.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

Either this article has been completely changed from when it was first posted, or you missed the first sentence, which reads: "The average *full* professor [emphasis added] at the University of Michigan makes $148,800 per academic year, or roughly 31 percent more than the average pay earned by professors at other universities offering doctoral degrees."

Tina Bissell

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

This is a useless piece of data. The average is impacted by the relatively small number of faculty in the Medical, Law and Business Schools. The people teaching English or History or History of Art are not making nearly as much. How about showing us the averages of full and associate faculty *without* including the professional schools?


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:21 p.m.

The professional schools offer doctorates, although it is somewhat absurd to offer of Doctor of Philosophy in business. I have nothing against business, but unlike the current disaster of a president of UM, I do not consider it an intellectual proposition.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.

Wow, didn't anyone read the article? It expressly states that medical school faculty were omitted from the calculations, and only schools offering doctoral programs were included in the survey.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

In 1980, the median household income was $17,170. In-state tuition at the University of Michigan was $2008. This amount would have represented about 11.7% of the median family's income. By 1993-94, in-state tuition at said school was $12,476; the median household income in the U.S. for 1993 was listed as $31,241. Tuition at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor represented 39.9 percent of a median household income in 1993. For the 2007-08 school year, in-state tuition at the same school was $38,069; the median household income, for the year 2007, was listed at $50,233. In-state tuition at this school would have devoured 75.8% of the median household's income in 2007. As you can see from these documents, tuition at Michigan's law school has spiraled out of control. The school is currently ranked 9th by the magnanimous US News & World Report. However, it is an undeniable fact that in the span of roughly 27 years, law school tuition at this public university went from representing 11.7 percent of the median household income to consuming more than 75% of the median household income. Thus, in-state tuition at the University of Michigan's law school has increased nearly 6.5 times faster than the median U.S. household income. How in the hell can anyone support such a system?!? How can anyone argue that this is the "free market at work"? Especially, when the demand has been brought about largely by public financing, i.e. federally-backed student loans?! For those of you who want to see a comparison using the rate of inflation, $2008 in 1980 would have equaled $4991.56 in 2007. This means that in-state tuition at Michigan Law is currently 7.62 times higher than it would be, had it grown at the rate of inflation, i.e. $38,069/$4991.56.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

"Umm, you do understand that those student loans get paid back? They are federally guaranteed." So what, my point is that the "Fed backed" student loans provided a river of cash, allowing the schools to increase tuition so much. I know the money must be paid back, but these institutions have escalated tuition, at the expense of students who now graduate with tens of thousands in debt, financially encumbering them for years. Its still easy money at the time it is borrowed. I just think there is no excuse for the escalation in tuition.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

@Dagny, did you read my post, this is for LAW SCHOOL tuition, which for 2011/12 year is $23k per semester = $46k per year. Your figures are way off. I used the law school analysis, but it could have been business school, LSA, etc. it would show the same tuition increase metric. P.S. you link did not work.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Andys, in-state tuition in 2011-12 was $14,240, and the total cost of attendance including room and board was $26,810. See the link here. So how did you get $38, 069 for 2007-8? Your numbers are way off.

Monica R-W

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 6:06 a.m.

Thank Andys. Interesting information indeed!


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 5:05 a.m.

"Especially, when the demand has been brought about largely by public financing, i.e. federally-backed student loans?!" Umm, you do understand that those student loans get paid back? They are federally guaranteed. The current administration has decided to take the profit motive away and make the loans DIRECT, instead of federally backed with bankers making the lions share of the profit with ZERO risk.

Angry Moderate

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

Unfortunately, part of the US News law school ranking is the amount of money spent per student. Schools need to blow $$ to keep their ranking up, whether the spending is wise or not.

say it plain

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

Yes, nice info and arguments @andys!


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Why is this news? U of M pays that because they want the best. If only our public school system did the same!


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

Yes on the tax payers dime. Don't you understand if the public school system paid that kind of money your taxes would be tripled. Its bad enough an education at U of M is going to cost about $200,000 and now you want to put that burden on grades schools. Would you be willing to triple you taxes. I wouldn't


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

And where do you expect public schools to get this money? Universities charge tuition. Public schools have to work with the money the state gives them. Big difference there between public schools and universities.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

One of the basic rules of statistics is that the mean, or average, is often misleading. A few extreme values, such as salaries for professors in medicine or law, can skew the whole thing. The median, the figure where you have half above and half below that figure, is generally considered more useful and gives a better sense of what a "typical" salary would be. Unfortunately, that isn't provided here except for university president's salaries.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Ordmad, Brimble, et al - medical school faculty are explicitly excluded from this data. See


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

Because the Fed Student Loan program provided a river of cash, universities were able to raise tuition higher than the rate of inflation over the past few decades. Now we have unafforadable tuition and $1 trillion in student loan debt outstanding, and unemployed graduates with back breaking debt. "I'm from the govt and I'm here to help you."


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Top faculty = high pay= more researchers = more GSI's teaching UG courses = artificial high ranking = unsuspecting top students paying top dollar for an overpriced education at a Brand Named School.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

What's happened to the cost of higher education over the last few decades is unsustainable. It's a bubble about to burst. In early 80's in a certain field you graduated UofM having paid about $5,000 in tuition over the previous 4 years, and stepped into a nice job in that field paying about $15,000. Today you'd pay about $80,000 in tuition for a starting salary in that same profession earning a starting salary of about $55,000. You see they have flipped it around!!! You're not getting anything more today - pretty much the same degree, not a lot of technological advances, just prettier buildings probably. But the value is not the same. This is price gouging, and the big universities are screwing students.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

This article's headline is quite misleading. Full professors are not the lion's share of faculty, and only that subset averages the stated $149K. The data is far more complicated than the article implies; any university which includes medical, business, law and engineering schools will have higher average salaries than a university which offers only some among those four disciplines. The other important detail is the breakdown of what percentage of all faculty are full professors, versus associate, assistant, or non-tenure-track contract lecturers. What percentage of each of those categories are represented by men versus women, and what are the gender pay gaps in each of those categories? What is the student load associated with each of those groups on an annual basis?


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

The misleading headline isn't's first. There have been other articles on faculty salaries that have included the pay for full professors as being the average for all faculty in the headline. The desire to stir up animosity towards public employee salaries is clear.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

Why do people care so much about the best people in the college profession making $150,000 per year, but there is no outcry for the CEOs of major corporations making hundreds of millions of dollars a year?


Mon, May 14, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Because U of M is a public school, supported by everyone's tax dollars. Whht the CEO of a private corporation makes is determined by the free market and the company's shareholders. A world of difference. I agree with you that CEO salary seems far excessive, but it really isn't our say. Public schools are fair game to criticize.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

Because it is public money not stock holder money. There is a difference.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

I have no right to complain about how much the business owner down the street from me pays herself. As a stockholder, I have some right to complain about how much the CEO at Apple pays himself (I have no complaints, as he's doubled the value of my stock). As a taxpayer, I have every right to complain about overpayment in the public sector.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 11:07 a.m.

Because public employees salary and expenditures are public information. If you saw how private companies squandered money, it would make the $100 hammer look cheap. Look into your own organization, if you are a large company I bet you have some computer equipment sitting in a box untouched that compares to your yearly salary, or purchased some million dollar software solution 5 years ago that is still not fully implemented. Keep in mind, you did also in a sense end up paying for this - in your lost raise potential .

Angry Moderate

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

YpsiVeteran: the market rate is an average. The average university doesn't have a highly ranked law school and a highly ranked business school, where professors are rightfully paid more.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

"You want a world-class university in your state, you pay elite professors the market rate." Or, as in this case, 31% above the average market rate.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

Andys, the pay rate for top professors, however, is not 3-to-5 times as much as it was 30 years ago. You want a world-class university in your state, you pay elite professors the market rate.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

I'm not sure what news and media you're consuming, but I regularly see complaints of CEOs being overpaid. And as I type this reply, the news on TV is complaining about Detroit's new CFO being overpaid...


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

Because a college education costs 3 to 5 times as much as it did 30 years ago, after adjusting for inflation. An average family can no longer afford it. That's why people think its too high.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

The mean rates are driven up by folks teaching in the law, business and medical schools. In each of these instances you have to compete somewhat with what these folks could make in the private market. Trying finding a truly *top notch* doctor, lawyer or business executive willing to work for $95,000 a year. They don't exist. And, remember, that these folks competed and worked hard to earn their credentials and, in most cases, incurred significant debt in doing so. We could employ less than "top notch folks," but then all the haters would mock the University for falling in the ranks. As Forever27 put it, you get what you pay for. And as for the "taxpayer shakedown" comment, do your homework: only 17% of the University's annual budget comes from the State.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

"Additionally, medical school faculty are excluded from the AAUP data. "


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

"Those who can, do; those who can't, teach"


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

Top faculty = high pay = high quality = high ranking = attracting top students paying top dollar.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Do have evidence to support your opinion? Lots of average local kids attending U of M because they have a good football team.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

I think one would not find much of a difference in the quality of professor between EMU and UM.....


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 11:04 a.m.

There is a different kind of instructor at U-M than at Emich. Emich is more about the student, and the professors there tend to want to teach and instruct more than do research and break new ground. Of course, this is a generalization so I'm sure I'll get voted down for this. Eastern has a great research sections for coatings for example that makes anything at U-M look like a joke, however a student is given a different learning experience at Eastern that at U-M. It's kind of cool actually, you can choose do I want highly competitive and exposure to smart people, or do I want less competition, more collaboration, and more attention to learning. Pick your preference.

Angry Moderate

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

Most of my "professors" at EMU were guest lecturers who don't even have a PhD.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

The research and publishing expectations at UM are higher. It is more difficult to get hired/tenured/promoted at UM, the main reason for the salary difference.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

My professor at EMU had a PhD from Yale, so yes I would agree.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

Well, I guess that explains why college kids are graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Looks to me a easy place to start cutting the budget instead of asking the taxpayers to kick even more for these overpaid/overrated pampas/self important types. This is probably 5 to 6 times what the grads make IF they can find a job.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

These numbers are sickening...... Just another shakedown from the public sector.....


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

This is an outrage.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

Ten of the top twelve faculty salaries are for lecturers in the Law School. Most of them part timers. Mark D Rosenbaum Leo Lecturer Ii Law School $805,092 Karl E Lutz Leo Intermittent Lecturer Law School $774,671 Alison E Hirschel Leo Intermittent Lecturer Law School $738,420 Ora H Pescovitz Exec Vpma $721,000 Timothy L Dickinson Leo Intermittent Lecturer Law School $713,498 John Marvin Niehuss Leo Intermittent Lecturer Law School $603,028 Douglas L Strong Ceo System Hospital $600,000 Stephen S Sanders Leo Lecturer I Law School $594,289 Daniel R Hurley Leo Lecturer I Law School $594,289 Raymond Kethledge Leo Intermittent Lecturer Law School $594,288 Howard Hertz Leo Intermittent Lecturer Law School $591,204 Leonard M Wicks Leo Intermittent Lecturer Law School $582,636 Are these people really worth that kind of money? One of the most telling statistics with regard to the UM becoming a school mostly for the rich is that the average family income for a student at UM is $180,000/yr.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 3:01 a.m.

Disgusting! Look at the UM Law School's placements in the past few years. You can't get a job graduating from law school in this country-even a top 10 ranked one like UM's . All that time and money in law school is wasted these days (and probably in the future!) To have the law professors as the top earners is ridiculous and not to be continued into the future-guaranteed.

Angry Moderate

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

Yes, they are worth that much. The law school needs the best professors to keep up its ranking (which has been slipping lately), which in turn helps students get high paying jobs. These professors are in demand--they could be making huge salaries at law firms, so schools have to pay a lot to compete for them. Many of them are endowed chairs, and the law school gets very little tax money anyway.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

So they get $200,000 for 4 months of part time work. That sounds much better. Note that one of them is the husband of our US Attorney for SE Michigan.

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

Just a clarification on some of these lecturer salaries. They're not necessarily paid the full-year rate noted on U-M's Salary Search, but a prorated portion of that, which usually means a four-month semester's worth. Also AAUP doesn't include lecturers in their full professor averages, which I am sure is obvious but I'd like to make clear. Thanks for reading.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10 p.m.

Look closely. Most if not all of the law school people you list aren't full time. You're seeing their "FTE," not what they actually get paid.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

this is a significant reason why we continuously get ranked at the top of the pack as a university. You want the best faculty? you have to pay for it.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

It's too bad many students who attend never set eyes on the "best faculty," let alone benefit from them in a classroom. I think the "you" in the "You want the best faculty" question applies more to those within the university than it does to most Michigan residents, who would probably be ok with "excellent" faculty, or even "great" faculty. Especially if more of them actually taught a class.

Former A2 Resident

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.



Fri, May 11, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

Zeeba Undereducated??? That makes no sense at all. To become a professor it takes many many years of school and quite likely job experience. Why would say any professor is uneducated.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.