Dartmouth profs earn less than profs earn elsewhere

by Nicholas Ostrow | 10/31/01 6:00am

Dartmouth professors beat out the national average for faculty compensation, but their paychecks routinely fell short of those offered to instructors at some of the College's peer institutions.

Full-time professors at Dartmouth make an average of $101,500, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. The national average salary for all doctoral institutions for full time professors in America is $89,848.

Professors at private institutions, however, make an average of $107,633 -- slightly more than the Dartmouth average.

Within the Ivy League, members of Dartmouth faculty earn significantly less, on average, than professors from other schools.

At Harvard, full-time professors make $135,200, while at Columbia, full-time professors make an average of $120,200.

Salaries for college presidents are generally much higher than those of professors. College President James Wright, for example, earned $363,532 during 1998-1999, which was his first academic year at Dartmouth.

That same year, former College President James Freedman received $920,909 compensation after he retired from his position. The College credited $474,528 of that sum to severance benefits.

Although salaries are calculated differently for faculty and administration, the job market plays a major role in determining both.

New employees sign a nine-month contract in which starting salaries are based upon competitive market conditions.

Skills in higher demand are valued more, just as they would be by any other employer. While salaries start in the lower end, employees are able to move up based on performance and tenure.

Administration salaries, on the other hand, are determined using a more clearly-defined scale. When an administration position is created, it is audited and evaluated according to its market value.

Each position is given a grade that corresponds to this value. New administrators are evaluated according to particular ability and then they are put in the appropriate range within the grade structure.

Win Johnson, College vice president and treasurer, told The Dartmouth he was unable to divulge the current average salaries of department heads and administrators because of the "private nature of the information."

He warned, though, that salary is not the only thing to consider when assessing compensation for College employees.

"Compensation and fringe benefits for faculty and non-faculty employees are also an important factor," said Johnson.

Dartmouth's benefits program is based on a credit system that provides faculty and administrators with flexible health-care options and leave time.

The College conducts a survey every year in order to compare Dartmouth's payroll and programs to those of peer institutions. This survey is based upon local and national market conditions.