Female professors underpaid at MTSU, across TBR

Cover image by Samantha Wycoff/ Design Editor 

Female professors at MTSU and across the state are paid significantly less than their male counterparts and are less likely to advance in rank.

With the help of MTSU data journalism professor Ken Blake, Sidelines surveyed the most recent (March 2016) Tennessee Board of Regents salary numbers for MTSU assistant, associate and full professors, finding a clear difference in the salaries and staff positions of professors based on gender, despite comparable tenure rates.

Out of our random sample of 200 MTSU professors,the mean salary for men was $80,940.43, while the mean salary for women was $71,265.59. The sample suggests that women at MTSU make 88 cents  for every dollar that their male counterparts earn. While nearly equal quantities of men and women get tenure at MTSU, far more men are full professors.

Professors were divided by professor ranking, from lowest to highest, as either assistant,

associate or full professor.

Of female professors in the sample, only 37 percent were full professors, while over 55 percent of males were full professors.

While MTSU’s 12 percent pay gap is significant, it is still better than the TBR average.

By pulling a random sample of assistant, associate and full professors from East Tennessee State University, University of Memphis, Tennessee Technological University, Tennessee State University and Austin Peay State University, we found that on average, across the other five TBR universities, female professors make 84 percent of what their male counterparts earn.

Across other TBR schools, we found that female professors make a mean salary between $64,307.49 and  $73,929.80 while their male colleagues make a mean salary between  $77,363.12 and  $87,037.22.

The pay divide among TBR universities outside of MTSU could be linked to professor ranking even more easily.

In the same sample of TBR professors, we see that only 29 percent of female professors are full professors while 44 percent of their male counterparts are full professors.


Methodology: All numbers reflect the latest (March 2016) numbers from the Tennessee Board of Regent salary database.

All salaries from the database of employees at MTSU with the title professor, full professor, associate professor, assistant professor, asst. professor or assoc. professor were listed. A random selection of 200 professors was then made. Each of the 200 professors were identified by gender using either faculty photos or pronouns used by students on Koofers.

Once sorted by gender, professors were divided into either “assistant,” “associate” or “full” ranking based on their title in the TBR database.

The mean salaries were calculated based on the salaries of all professors of the relevant gender in the sample of 200.
The same was then done to all professors in the database from the remaining TBR schools (East Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, Austin Peay State University, Tennessee Technological University and University of Memphis) to find the TBR numbers.  

This story originally ran in the Sex Edition on September 21. To see other content from the Sex Edition, click here. The next installment of Sidelines’s Sex, Drugs and Rock N’ Roll series will be available on campus in October. 

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