MSU ranked relatively low in terms of average faculty salary compared to other Big Ten universities, according to the 2013 American Association of University Professors Faculty Salary Survey. MSU offices attributed the ranking to various factors.
Overall, MSU ranked 11th among Big Ten university faculty salaries, and seventh in terms of salaries and other benefit compensations. MSU is under the median salary level by $5,000. Within each university evaluation, the report splits the faculty up into four categories: full professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and instructors.
David Byelich, assistant vice president and director of the Office of Planning and Budgets, said the office keeps a close watch on these numbers to stay close to other Big Ten universities.
“Each year we try to keep up with other Big Ten institutions and make sure we are able to attract the very best faculty in the country,” Byelich said. “We believe we do that.”
In regards to the salaries for assistant professors ranking low, Byelich said how MSU categorizes faculty members might be a reason why the ranking is so drastic.
“At MSU, we have a wide variety of faculty included in the assistant professor area,” Byelich said. “A fair number of people reported as assistant professors at MSU are different than other institutions because they would also be considered lecturers.”
After hearing the results from the report, psychology freshman Lauren Plotzke said MSU faculty need to be paid more to reward their hard work.
“We are expected to be a high-quality and high-education university, and we need those professors to get rewarded for their good work,” Plotzke said. “A higher salary would attract those good professors who can communicate well, especially in big lecture halls.”
Scott Imberman, assistant professor of economics and education, said the reason for MSU getting ranked low in the Big Ten is because the university does not have the money like other universities, such as the University of Michigan and Northwestern University. He also said student appropriations have been cut.
“Because we don’t have as much money, Michigan State has to rely on student appropriations more than other schools,” Imberman said. “These appropriations have been cut quite a bit in the past 10 years, so we hurt more than other Big Ten schools.”
Imberman also said he is not surprised to see salary rankings for full professors and associate professors in the middle of the pack, however, the fact MSU is ranked last in terms of salaries of assistant professors and instructors is alarming.
“We want to build the institution for the future and have high-quality faculty, and the assistant professors is where we get that from,” Imberman said.
“We need to pay more to those young faculty members to maintain the health of the university.”