Study Examines the Racial Wage Gap for Faculty at Public Universities

A new study by researchers at the University of Missouri examined the racial wage gap in six academic disciplines at 40 public universities across the United States. The six disciplines for which the authors collected wage data were biology, chemistry, economics, English, sociology and educational leadership and policy. In total, 4,047 faculty members were included in the study, 79 percent of whom were White. The mean annual salary was $120,194.70.

The authors found that Whites were overrepresented in all six departments included in the study. Whites made up 83.3 percent of biology faculty and 81.7 percent of chemistry faculty. Blacks made up more than 15 percent of faculty in departments of education leadership and policy department. In contrast only 0.7 percent of biology faculty were Black. The authors did discover greater gender diversity in assistant professor ranks than what was found in tenured positions.

Black faculty earned lower salaries, on average, compared to White faculty — approximately $10,000 to $15,000 less per year. The authors found that wage gaps were largely due to three factors: amount of work experience, research productivity and field of expertise.

The full study,”Representation and Salary Gaps by Race-Ethnicity and Gender at Selective Public Universities,” was published on the website of the journal Educational Researcher. It may be accessed here.

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