Faculty salaries below national average
Published: Friday, April 15, 2011
Updated: Thursday, April 21, 2011 15:04
Lyndon State College professor salaries are well below the national average in many cases, so why are so many choosing to stay here, despite the tough economic times?
For Janet Bennion, a social sciences professor at LSC, having the opportunity to be hands-on with her students' education is key.
"I can be active in helping create an innovative curriculum design," she said of working in Vermont, adding that working at Utah State University with its 38,000 students did not allow for that.
Bennion, who makes roughly $63,000 each year as a professor at LSC, said the low student-to-teacher ratio, rural environment, healthcare, progressive politics, and educational opportunities for her daughters were worth making less than in Utah.
"I took a $12,000 cut to come here from my Utah job," she said.
Currently, the average salary for social sciences professors at four-year colleges and universities nationwide is $89,133, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
"It was my intention to work at a comprehensive liberal arts college," Bennion said of her move from Utah to Vermont. "I really love helping students gain a great education."
Bennion also said that she comes from a family of teachers, and watching students go from ‘ignorant to enlightened' is important to her.
"I'm really hooked on that metamorphosis," she said.
Bennion is busy in the summers as well, researching and writing about her field of study. She is currently working on her fourth book, and says having time in the summer to work those types of things is an advantage.
"The career is excellent for that reason," she said. "I'm willing to take a lower salary for that."
Richard Moye, a professor in the English, philosophy, and film studies department, decided the research basis of Columbia University in New York didn't fit his style, so he came to LSC instead.
"That would not have been a lifetime job," he said. "I was looking to leave New York."
Moye knew coming to Vermont would mean a drastic change in pay compared to his time at Columbia.
"I knew I was going to make half of what I would elsewhere and work twice as hard," he said. "The idea that I could do something valuable was more important."
Despite Moye's $68,000 salary falling far under the national average of $80,545 for an English professor, he said his decision to come to LSC allowed him to teach instead of focus on research.
"I thought teaching at a place like Lyndon had more value," he said.
Both Bennion and Moye have PhDs.
At LSC, the top three highest paid professors include Catherine Deleo and John Deleo of the mountain recreation management department, earning $83,533.50 and $82,570.50 respectively. Ernest Broadwater, professor of education, earns $82,089 annually. These professors have all been teaching at LSC for decades.
The lowest paid include Meaghan Meachem, an assistant professor in the electronic journalism arts department earning $36,828 each year, Katie Bouley, an assistant professor of exercise science earning $37,179.50, and Werner Wintels, an assistant professor of atmospheric science, earning $38,600.14. These assistant professors have been at LSC for only a few years.
Every college varies, however, and not every salary is below average.
At Johnson, one professor, Andrea Johnson Perham of the English department since 1983 is making $83,885, $3340 more than the national average.
At the University of Vermont, professor of mathematics and statistics Dan Archdeacon earns $122,472, more than the Dean of Academic and Student Affairs Donna Dalton at LSC, who makes $116,654, while the national average for the same position is $84,942. Daisy McCoy, a professor of mathematics and computer science at LSC earns $67,644.
While professors at LSC could make far more money at other colleges and universities across the country, there are things that Vermont is able to offer that other places cannot.
The college's small-community feeling allows professors to interact with students in a way that larger schools lack. The Vermont landscape is far from urban, and the schools around the area are helpful to families. While the economy is making it more difficult to make ends meet, professors at LSC are still choosing the college because they are dedicated to the students.