by AAUP National
July 16, 2021
The AAUP released today the Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2020–21, which outlines how years of unstable funding, combined with the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic, have created an existential threat to shared governance and academic freedom in higher education that severely weakens our nation’s ability to effectively educate our communities.
The long-standing economic crises described in the report—declining fiscal support, over-reliance on contingent faculty, growth of administrations, and spiraling institutional debt—highlight the need for a New Deal for Higher Education, as called for by the AAUP, the American Federation of Teachers, and other allies. “Decades of divestment and chronic underfunding at the state and federal level have brought higher education to a precarious tipping point,” said AAUP president Irene Mulvey. The report concludes with an urgent call for governing boards, legislators, and other policy makers to provide funds for a substantial readjustment of academic salary levels to avoid irreparable harm to the US higher education system.
The report presents findings from three related studies conducted by the AAUP Research Department: the AAUP’s annual Faculty Compensation Survey, a follow-up COVID-19 survey, and secondary data analyses of faculty and staff employment and institutional finance data.