Press Release

April 3, 2019

Non-Tenure Teaching Faculty Continue to See Higher Salary Increase Than Tenure-Track Faculty

Full-time faculty saw an overall median salary increase of 1.67% over the past year, with salary increases for tenure-track faculty (1.6 percent) trailing those for non-tenure teaching faculty (1.8 percent), according to the 2019 CUPA-HR Faculty in Higher Education Report released today.

The hottest discipline for new faculty hires, with 1,410 new assistant professors hired in the past year, is health professions, which is also the highest-paying discipline for non-tenure teaching faculty. Among the disciplines that saw the fastest growth rate in hires of new assistant professors, architecture (73 percent) and natural resources and conservation (72 percent) topped the list.

The report also provides an in-depth look at representation and pay equity for women and racial/ethnic minorities, which differ substantially by faculty discipline and decline with each increase in rank from new assistant professor to full professor. The highest levels of representation and pay equity for both women and racial/ethnic minorities are found in associate’s institutions.

Other findings:

  • Associate’s institutions have the largest percentage of part-time faculty (69 percent) compared to baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral institutions. Although doctoral institutions have the largest percentage of full-time faculty (68 percent), they also have the largest percentage of non-tenure teaching faculty (19 percent).
  • Faculty with doctorates or equivalent degrees make up about four-fifths of all full-time faculty across bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral institutions, and earn substantially higher salaries than faculty with master’s degrees. According to the data, nearly nine in 10 tenure-track faculty members have a doctorate. Only five in 10 non-tenure-track teaching faculty do.
  • Although women make up nearly half (47 percent) of faculty and minorities make up one-fifth (21 percent) of faculty, most academic department heads/chairs are male (58 percent) and White (85 percent).
  • Adjunct faculty at doctoral institutions earn the highest pay among adjuncts, at $1,312 per credit hour.

A total of 258,731 full-time faculty positions were reported for this year’s survey. In total, 847 institutions provided incumbent-level data for full-time faculty, and 295 of those institutions provided aggregate data for adjunct faculty. To learn more about the Faculty in Higher Education Survey, read the overview. Salaries, demographic comparisons and detailed trend information are available in the full report.


CUPA-HR is the recognized authority on compensation surveys for higher education, with its salary surveys designed by higher ed HR professionals for higher ed HR professionals and other campus leaders. CUPA-HR’s Faculty in Higher Education Survey is the only faculty survey that provides data for the current academic year, maintains institution anonymity, collects data by rank and specific discipline, and collects comprehensive demographic data. Learn more about CUPA-HR research.

CUPA-HR is higher ed HR. We serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serving over 31,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at more than 2,000 member institutions and organizations around the country and abroad, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information.

Contact Information
Erin Rosolina
Marketing Manager – Communications and Marketing