June 06, 2007

Professors are fleeing the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They are doing it for morte pay at other peer institutions.
Several thoughts on this:

"University of Wisconsin-Madison has long been an attractive target for elite schools like Harvard and Stanford looking for top academics. But now other public universities are among the faculty poachers, and school administrators are worried."

1. Obviously it is a problem that lesser schools are pulling talent away from UW with higher offers, and clearly the state is not ponying up enough funds for the University, as they froze pay and cut the budget in 2003.

2. The university had made some boneheaded moves a few years ago that helped to create that financial situation when the agitated the legislature by revealing how little some people work for so much money. But it is still a bad sign when this state, one of the most supportive of higher ed, is experiencing this kind of problem.

3. The libraries in particular have been woefully underfunded for many years, and the infrastructure has been allowed to slide.

4. Yet it is awful hard to feel bad for these professors, earning as much as they do. The real story is that they are paid so much at the big universities and so little in the rest of the country. The UW average for full professors i $103,000, which means most pull in far more. It is amazing, though, that the Big 10 average is $117,000. I can speak from firsthand experience as a TA at UW for 8 years that many full professors simply do not do a lick of work. They have TAs who teach the sections, they use ancient lecture notes, and they have graders who grade the papers and tests. If they research, they have have research assistants who do the bulk of the heavy lifting shit work, and of course the professors get raises and accolades when they publish. They also get The article quotes one political science professor earning $90,000 who is going to Minnesota, which is raising his salary by 50%. $90,000 in Madison is a huge sum no matter how you slice it. Even with prices going up and a relatively high cost of living (compared to dirt cheap Wisconsin outside of Madison) that is a decent living. The fact that Minnesota is paying that much is, I can say on the bottom of the food chain, really quite insane. yes it is cold as hell up in Minneapolis and you would have to be insane to live there, but that is a large pile of money if not actually a shitpile.

The AP should write a story about how poorly paid professors are out in the provinces!

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