Posting of profs’ salaries online draws scrutiny

Florida professors earn an average of $80,000 annually.

Are university professors paid too much in Florida? The salaries that Gov. Rick Scott posted online days ago have spurred debates across the state about whether these educators are worth what they make—and Scott’s move also has come under fire from those who say the information is presented without additional context that can help clarify the debate.

Faculty leaders stress that professors in Florida’s public universities earn less than their peers in many other states. Universities must offer competitive salaries, they insist, if the state is to attract talented faculty needed to educate tomorrow’s work force.

The average salaries of full-time professors at public universities in Florida offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees fall about $6,000 below the national average, said John W. Curtis, director of research and public policy with the American Association of University Professors.

This past school year, the average salary nationwide for these professors and instructors was $86,653, Curtis said. The association’s calculation doesn’t include medical-school faculty or professors who also hold administrative posts, such as deans. In Florida, the average was $80,879.

That average stood at about $74,000 at University of Central Florida — the state’s largest university, according to a report the association published earlier this year.

At the University of Florida in Gainesville, the overall average was about $89,000. It was less than $81,000 at Florida State University in Tallahassee.