May 22, 2008By Nikhil Joshi
Recent data from the American Association of University Professors shows that the average salary of a full Stanford professor is $173,000, placing Stanford third in the nation behind Rockefeller University and Harvard.
But numbers from Stanford reveal that the average salary figure is brought up by high salaries at the professional schools. Furthermore, the average faculty salaries lag well behind coach and administrator salaries, though by a smaller margin than at other schools.
For the 35 assistant professors at Stanford in the humanities, compensation at the 33rd percentile is $68,000. Stanford does not disclose data on individual salaries, and instead provides data for the 33rd and 66th percentiles among various subsets of faculty.
“Anyone with a brain and a calculator can see that the pay is atrocious,” said Assistant Anthropology Prof. Michael Wilcox. “I would guess that many junior faculty have to borrow money to make ends meet here. For the amount of education that they have, they are horribly underpaid.”
While pay does increase as faculty move up the ranks, humanities professors still lag far behind the average for Stanford professors, and even farther behind administrators and coaches.
Two-thirds of humanities professors with over 21 years of experience earn less than $159,196.
But at least two-thirds of assistant professors at the Graduate School of Business make more than $131,500. Virtually all full business school professors make over $200,000.
The School of Medicine boasts some of Stanford’s highest salaries.
In its 990 filing with the IRS, the University must disclose the top five highest paid Stanford employees. The 2005 990 form lists Edward Manche, Director of Cornea and Refractive Surgery, as Stanford’s top earner, with a total cash compensation of $2,377,211. The fifth-ranked earner on the list is Michael Edwards, Director of Regional Pediatric Neurosurgery, at $863,450. All five listed are Medical School professors.
While Stanford’s top earners work in the School of Medicine, the top salaries at many universities go to athletic coaches. Although the average Stanford professor is paid significantly less than the football and basketball coaches and the University president, the gap between faculty and coach salaries at Stanford is far smaller than at other schools.
San Jose Mercury News sports writer Jon Wilner told The Daily last month that he estimates that new head men’s basketball coach Johnny Dawkins will earn between $800,000 and $900,000, while football coach Jim Harbaugh makes between $500,000 and $600,000.
The University’s 2005 tax filing — the latest provided to The Daily — indicates that President John Hennessy made $618,250 in total cash compensation in 2005. Chief Financial Officer Randall Livingston was the second-highest earning administrator that year, with $434,000 in total cash compensation.
Nonetheless, according to a 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal, Hennessy has made $43 million over the last five years through his many investments, most notably in Google.
At other schools, the gap between faculty salaries and administrator and coach salaries is far wider. For the 2007-2008 school year, football coaches made 10 times more than professors at Division IA schools. At Stanford, Harbaugh makes approximately 3.2 times more than the average professor.
This is the result of a long-standing unofficial Stanford policy of keeping coaches off the list of the University’s highest paid employees.
“Our institution has adopted a philosophy of not having our coaches be among the highest paid employees at the University,” Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby told The Daily last month.