April 8, 2013
The University of Virginia pays its faculty the highest salary on average in Virginia, but not everyone at the university is satisfied.
"You need to think about it in a competitive and a market situation, where faculty members have lots of choices about where they'll be able to go," said George Cohen, a law professor and chair of the Faculty Senate.
The report from the American Association of University Professors says the average full-time faculty member earns $109,400 at UVa. That's almost $8,000 more than the next closest, Washington & Lee, where the average instructor salary is $101,800.
"When you're talking about an average, it's an average that can have a lot of highs and a lot of lows," Cohen said.
The average includes associate and assistant professors, as well as instructors. The average salary for a full professor at UVa. is $143,200, which is second on the list. On average, a full professor at the University of Richmond receives $144,000.
"We've been underinvesting in higher education for the last 10 to 15 years," said Del. David Toscano (D-57th District).
Toscano agreed with some faculty members to say the commonwealth must do more to retain and recruit top faculty members.
"If we're going to remain competitive as a state and we're going to have high-quality universities, we've got to pay our faculty more so they continue to stay here and do the kind of research and do the kind of teaching that makes us unique," Toscano said.
That's because professors on grounds don't just compare the school to others in the commonwealth, but other schools nationwide like Berkeley and the University of Michigan.
At Berkeley, the average instructor salary is $130,000. At Michigan, it's $110,000.
"We need to be able to maintain our position and enhance it to be competitive with those schools that we really compete, not only for faculty members but also for students, for alumni support and all those things," Cohen said.
President Teresa Sullivan and the Board of Visitors made improving faculty compensation a priority last summer. Cohen said while there may not be across-the-board raises for all instructors at the university, the goal would be to have all instructors at different schools within the university earn more equal pay.
"We're taking steps. They're trying to bring us back into the top group in terms of salaries which is very important now," Cohen said.