March 09, 2010
By Robert B. Townsend
Average faculty salaries in history were essentially unchanged from the previous year, as average salaries for regular full-time faculty at most ranks grew by less than one percent. This represents the smallest average increase in salaries for historians in 15 years.
The findings are included in the results of the 2009–10 salary survey from the College and University Personnel Association—HR (CUPA—HR). The report shows an increase of 0.5 percent in the average salary for full professors in history (to $82,354), a 0.8 percent increase for associate professors (to $62,630), and a 0.6 percent increase for assistant professors (to $51,733).
Contrary to what one might expect, given the problems on the current job market for new history PhDs, the one area to show appreciable growth was in the average salary for newly hired assistant professors. The survey found an increase of 2.3 percent (to $50,649) in the average salary paid to new junior faculty in the discipline.
The staff at CUPA—HR note that any upward growth can be seen as positive at a time when the Consumer Price Index for the past year was negative (indicating the costs of goods and services fell by 0.4 percent). But many historians are undoubtedly wondering where these gains are occurring in the midst of widespread salary freezes and furloughs. Their survey confirms that almost one-third of all faculty members in continuing positions saw a decline in their salaries, though they do not provide a specific estimate for historians.
The results of the survey, including the differences between public and private institutions and the evidence of underlying hiring trends, will be discussed in greater detail in the next issue of Perspectives on History.