The upward trajectory of administrator salaries does not reflect Gallaudet’s declining enrollment or an ongoing state of financial emergency.
The Gallaudet AAUP chapter analyzed the salaries of top-earning administrators using publicly available data.1 Although mean faculty salaries have decreased since 2009, median salaries of top-earning administrators have continued to increase rapidly. The median salary of a top-earning administrator is now more than three times as much as the mean faculty salary. These findings reinforce that administrators are prioritizing paying themselves more each year even while claiming that the decline in student enrollment is depressing salaries and that Gallaudet has been in a state of financial emergency since 2009.
We urge the Gallaudet administration to correct the faculty salary shortfall immediately. Gallaudet needs competitive faculty salaries to recruit, retain, and motivate the bilingual faculty members who draw students to Gallaudet. Presently, faculty are leaving for jobs elsewhere. Without exemplary faculty and strong academic programs, students will not choose Gallaudet.
We encourage all faculty members to join the Gallaudet AAUP today. United, we have the collective power to protect shared governance and faculty interests. We believe that a strong faculty means a strong university, where students are best served. Currently, over 30% of Gallaudet faculty have become dues-paying AAUP members. Follow us on MyGU, on Facebook, subscribe to our public listserv, and/or join our monthly AAUP meetings held over Zoom.
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), with over 50,000 members and 500 local chapters, champions academic freedom, advances shared governance, and organizes to promote economic security for all academic professionals. Since 1915, the AAUP has shaped American higher education by developing standards that uphold quality education. In 2022, the AAUP merged with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second-largest education union in the United States, with 1.7 million members.
This letter was lightly revised for clarity on Apr 24.
1. Data were obtained from publicly available Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990 filings and the public Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. Institutions that participate in Title IV federal student financial aid programs report data to IPEDS annually. To calculate top administrator salaries from IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part II (B), we added (i) Base compensation, (ii) Bonus & incentive compensation, and (iii) Other reportable compensation, and we did not include (C) Retirement and other deferred compensation, or (D) Nontaxable benefits, so as to make administrator salaries directly comparable to faculty salaries before benefits. Salaries are rounded to the nearest $100. We compared the median salary of the eight top-earning administrators rather than the mean because the median is less affected by outliers, such as the president’s high salary ($421,145 in 2021). This was the conservative choice; if we had chosen to use the mean salary for top administrators, they would have more dramatically topped out at $300,282 in 2021. We chose to analyze the top eight administrators because this was the largest number of individuals where we could make a continuous comparison going back to 2002. Finally, the salaries shown are not corrected for inflation, which was 33.16% between January 2009 and January 2022.