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The American Association of University Professors American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released its 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, in their words, an existential threat to shared governance and academic freedom in higher education that severely weakens the nation’s ability to effectively educate all communities.
The long-standing economic crises described in the report indicates declining fiscal support, over-reliance on contingent faculty, growth of administrations, and spiralling institutional debt. This highlights the need for a new deal for Higher Education, as called for by the AAUP, the American Federation of Teachers, and other organisations.
The report concludes with a call for governing boards, legislators, and other policymakers to provide funds for a substantial readjustment of academic salary levels to avoid irreparable harm to the US higher education system.
Key Findings from the 2020–21 Faculty Compensation Survey indicate that real wages for full-time faculty decreased at 67.9 percent of institutions. After adjusting for inflation, real wages for full-time faculty decreased (− 0.4 percent) for the first time since the Great Recession.
Key Findings from the 2020–21 Follow-Up COVID‑19 Survey indicate that; 55 percent of institutions implemented salary freezes or reductions, 28 percent of institutions eliminated or reduced some form of fringe benefits, almost 5 percent of institutions terminated the appointments of at least some full-time tenure-line faculty members, and almost 20 percent terminated the appointments of or denied contract renewal to at least some full-time non-tenure-track faculty members.