University of Illinois Press

Early in the fall of 2006, an invitation to participate in a survey entitled the NAEA Higher Education Demographics, Interests and Needs Assessment was distributed to art teacher educators via the National Art Education Higher Education Listserv. The purpose of the survey was to gather information regarding the demographics and workplace conditions of art educators in higher education. This article shared findings and addresses workplace issues related to art educator faculty salaries, workloads, promotion and tenure policies, and collective bargaining practices in the field of art education.

Many art educators have developed survey instruments to gain demographic data about the field of art education (Anderson, Eisner, & McRorie, 1998; Burton, 1998; Galbraith, 2001; Thompson & Hardiman, 1991). However, maintaining current demographic information about the field of art education is an ongoing challenge. Hutchens (1997), Zimmerman (1997), Burton (1998), Sevigny (1987), Davis (1990), and Galbraith and Grauer (2004) all pointed to the need for more demographic research at all levels of art teacher education and practices. In 2006, the authors created a 48-item survey entitled the NAEA Higher Education Demographics, Interests and Needs Assessment (Milbrandt & Klein, 2006), designed to gather information about university art educators and art educator preparation programs. The goal of the survey was to provide members of the Higher Education Division of National Art Education Association (NAEA) with data regarding the current conditions under which university art educators teach. The intent was to use the data to develop an organizational action plan to address internal and external concerns. [End Page 85]

When the NAEA Higher Education Listserv Survey opened in October 2006, there were 956 members of the Higher Education Division, with 422 members enrolled on the e-mail Listserv. All Higher Education Listserv members were invited to participate in the online survey. Initially, 101 higher education volunteers participated in the survey. One participant's survey entry was incomplete, so only 100 participants' responses were included in this study, representing approximately 24% of the possible Listserv membership and 10% of the higher education membership in the NAEA.

Structure of the Report

Due to the complexity and length of the Higher Education Listserv Survey instrument, this article focuses on the survey items that investigated specific workplace conditions of art educators within higher education or postsecondary settings. The data are organized and reported in categories of postsecondary art educator salaries, workload assignments, student-teacher supervisors in higher education, an understanding of tenure and promotion policies and processes, and collective bargaining practices. Each group of Listserv Survey responses relative to these categories is contextualized with related data and literature. A sketch of typical work conditions for postsecondary art educators emerged from the following Listserv Survey questions:

  1. 1. Estimate the beginning annual salary of a tenure track entry-level terminal degree assistant professor in art education in your institution.

  2. 2. How many courses (or equivalent workload) must you typically teach each academic year to be considered full-time teaching faculty?

  3. 3. Who supervises student teachers in your institution?

  4. 4. Is the promotion and tenure policy at your institution clearly articulated with stated criteria for all expectations?

  5. 5. Is the process for promotion and tenure clearly articulated at your institution?

  6. 6. Please indicate whether or not your institution has collective bargaining.

Listserv Survey Findings and Related Reports Regarding Salaries

When participants in the Listserv Survey were asked to estimate the beginning-level salaries for assistant professors in their institutions, 1% of the participants thought a beginning-level assistant professor would earn $25,000 in their institution, 12% estimated it to be approximately $35,000, 23% indicated it would be approximately $40,000, 36% of the participants indicated they thought it would be approximately $45,000, and 19% indicated that a $50,000 salary would be typical. [End Page 86] The remaining 8% of the respondents indicated they thought a beginning-level salary would be $50,000 or more. The average participant-estimated beginning salary for an assistant professor based on all Listserv responses was $42,730.00 (Table 1). Of the participants, 59% reported a beginning assistant professor salary range of $40K-45K. This average is below figures stated by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA, 2008) for newly hired assistant professors in visual art and education.

In a 2001 national research report issued by Oklahoma State University, the average salary for full professors in the arts was $86,477 (based on 687 positions), $61,110 for associate professors (based on 502 positions), $49, 886 for assistant professors (based on 450 positions), and $46, 667 for newly hired assistant professors (based on 76 positions) (Table 1). The 2006-2007 CUPA data on average salaries place professors of education at $76,089, associate professors at $60,276, assistant professors at $51,086, and newly hired assistant professors at $50,327. For faculty in the visual arts, CUPA figures for 2006-2007 include professors at $72,990, associate professors at $57,881, assistant professors at $47,928, and newly hired assistant professors at $46,917 (CUPA, 2008) (Table 1). The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) 2006 report of salaries for faculty in the visual arts faculty includes an average full professor salary at $72,147, the average associate-level position at $57,632, and an assistant professor average salary at $48,093 (Table 1). While the NASAD salaries are comparable to the CUPA salaries listed for visual arts faculty, the CUPA salaries for education faculty are slightly higher. These figures suggest the likelihood that the salaries of art educators employed in an art department unit may be less than those of art educators whose programs are administratively housed in an education department unit.

Of the participants in the Higher Ed Listserv Survey, 78% reported an average of $45,000 for beginning assistant professor of art education. While this figure is close to the $46,667 salary reported in the Oklahoma State University Survey, it is below figures stated by CUPA and NASAD for a newly hired assistant professor.

Table 1. Comparison of Postsecondary Art Educator Salaries by Rank
Click for larger view
View full resolution
Table 1.

Comparison of Postsecondary Art Educator Salaries by Rank

[End Page 87]

The discrepancies among salaries may be largely related to the size and location of the institution, the administrative location of the art education program, and the existence and/or function of collective bargaining practices.

Additional Salary Concerns

Salaries vary across the nation, based not only on the context of the institution and its needs, but also the region of the country and its cost of living. The 2004 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty conducted by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2002), Knapp et al. (2006) compiled salaries for all postsecondary faculty and staff in different types of institutions and program areas. Table 2 corroborates the observation that art education positions administratively housed in colleges of education may have salaries slightly higher than positions found in schools of art. A related

Table 2. Selected National Center for Education Statistics () Average Salaries of Full-Time Faculty and Instructional Staff Across Institutions
Click for larger view
View full resolution
Table 2.

Selected National Center for Education Statistics (Knapp et al., 2006) Average Salaries of Full-Time Faculty and Instructional Staff Across Institutions

[End Page 88]

issue of concern for associate professors is the issue of salary compression. This situation occurs when institutions are forced to raise entry-level salaries for assistant professors, so they are competitive with other institutions, at a rate that is higher than cumulative raises earned by associate or full professors. In these cases, newly hired assistant professors may earn salaries that are comparable to faculty with far more experience and time in rank at the institution. Many institutions now provide equity raises to help adjust salaries for qualifying veteran faculty members.

Salary differentials exist due to higher salaries for junior or entry-level faculty, as well as for faculty at private vs. public and research vs. teaching institutions. In addition, "TIAA-CREF [Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, College Retirement Equities Fund] reports that U.S. wages and salaries grew at an average of 5.7 between 1981-2004, while faculty salaries grew only 4.4% annually" (Russell, 2006, p. 3). However, the growth of salaries may vary, and be slightly lower for faculty who do not have collective bargaining. American Association of University Professors (AAUP, 1998) research also notes that long-term salary trends appear to be widening the difference between the average salaries of faculty members at private colleges and universities and the average salaries of their colleagues at public institutions. When public institutions of higher education have difficulty attracting and retaining the best faculty, our educational system faces the unfortunate possibility of creating separate and unequal systems of postsecondary education (AAUP, 2007-2008).

Gender equity continues to be a problem in higher education. As recently as 2003, female faculty reportedly earned on the average 80% of what male faculty earned (Curtis, 2003-2004; USDOE, 2003). While women are earning more degrees than men and at a faster rate (USDOE, 2003), women faculty constitutes only 38 % of the academic workforce (Curtis, 2003-2004). Among those women who do attain professorial positions, relatively few gain promotion to full professorship (Benjamin, 1998); only 23% of full professors are female (Curtis, 2003-2004). This is a trend that has not been reversed. In 1999, 71% of male faculty had tenure, while only 52% of female faculty were tenured (USDOE, 2003). The proportion of female non-tenure-track faculty has grown even more, from 34% to 45 % (Benjamin, 1998). Additional concerns about faculty salaries are noted in the AAUP (2007-2008) report, "Where Are the Priorities? The Annual Report of the Economic State of the Profession":

With inflation rising faster than expected at the end of 2007, faculty salaries once again represent stagnant purchasing power. . . . The increase in overall average faculty salaries thus lagged . . . [C]ontinuing concern of this report has been the widening differential between faculty salaries in the public and private sectors of higher education . . . [B]etween 2005-06 [college] presidential salary increases were more than six times greater than faculty salary increases.

(pp. 3, 13) [End Page 89]

Although there are a range of salaries and contexts in the field of art education, it is important for postsecondary art educators to understand salary norms appropriate for their discipline and institutional context. Such understanding of demographic data may facilitate professional awareness of discriminatory practices and provide support for individuals seeking salary compression or equity adjustments, as well as more equitable compensation for part-time faculty.

Survey Findings and Related Research Regarding Workload

When asked to describe the number of courses that they teach in their current teaching position, one third of the Listserv Survey respondents indicated that a 3-3 course load (three courses taught in each semester within a year) is required of full-time teaching faculty. A 2-2 course load was considered full time by 21% of the participants, and 20% indicated that a 2-3 course load constitutes full-time teaching. Of the participants, 12% indicated that four courses each semester were required for full-time teaching. Participants pointed out that course reductions were given for additional assignments, such as directing doctoral dissertations or master's theses, or serving as the department chair or coordinator. One participant pointed out that since art educators sometimes teach studio courses, often based on lab hours, in addition to art education courses, the actual contact or clock time often increases even though the course loads may be less. Art education courses may also include lab hours, so further research is needed to determine the amount of contact time in art and art education courses and the nature of the work in order to construct a more accurate depiction of workload for art educators.

According to the NASAD HEAD's Report (2006), the average number of credit hours produced by faculty ranges from an average of 10.8 (3.6 three-hour courses) in public institution art programs with less than 100 students to 9.3 hours (3.1 three-hour courses) for public programs with more than 400 art majors; different-sized institutions have different workloads. The teaching assignments at private institutions range from an average of 9.8 credit hours in institutions with fewer than 50 art majors to 10.9 credit hours for institutions with more than 201 majors. These results indicate that that workload assignments for university art educators are probably similar to the averages of art faculty presented in the NASAD report.

The yearly number of courses that constitutes a full-time teaching load varies by institution and by the nature of assignments. The findings of the Listserv Survey are consistent with past research where teaching loads of 3-4 courses per semester are typical at smaller and teaching-focused institutions (Galbraith, 2001), whereas teaching loads tend to be less in the larger research institutions (two courses each semester or a two- and three-course load each semester). Theoretically, [End Page 90] this allows time for research. Additional course-load reductions may also be provided for special administrative duties or extensive committee work.

Data and Literature Regarding Supervision of Student Teachers

When asked to identify all of the types of faculty who supervise student teachers, 65% of the Higher Education Survey respondents indicated that supervision was assigned to full-time art education faculty, and 38 % indicated that supervision was provided by part-time art education faculty, while 27% described clinical faculty in art education as supervising, 8% indicated supervision by full-time general education faculty, and 6% reported supervision by clinical faculty from the general education area. Of the respondents, 11% reported that doctoral students supervised student teachers, and 6% indicated students at the master's level supervised student teachers. Of the respondents, 2% reported that this question did not apply to them.

The percentages and comments provided by participants suggest student-teaching supervision was conducted in a number of different ways. Even when full-time art education faculty supervise student teaching, they may be assisted by part-time, clinical or graduate students. In the comment section of this question, most respondents indicated specifics of their teaching situation. One respondent pointed out that NASAD accreditation helped their art education area acquire the responsibility for supervising students in their program. One art educator noted her interest in observing students in the classroom as a means of obtaining feedback about student learning and the art education program. Several the art educators expressed their good fortune in hiring part-time, retired veteran teachers to assist full-time faculty with student teacher supervision.

According to the AAUP (2007-2008) report, over the last 30 years, employment patterns in colleges and universities have radically changed: "[T]he number of tenured and tenure-track faculty has grown 17%, full and part-time non-tenured faculty and full-time non-faculty professionals have each tripled, and the count of administrators has doubled" (para. 6). The AAUP (n.d., Background facts) notes that 48% of all faculty serve in part-time appointments, and non-tenure-track positions account for 68% of all faculty appointments in American higher education. Although retired art teachers and part-time/adjunct faculty can bring a wealth of experience and new insights to the student-teaching supervision experience, the continued hiring of part-time and adjunct faculty should be a concern for the profession at large. The university makes no commitment to adjuncts and part-time faculty beyond the semester contract. In addition, part-time faculty lack job security and benefits, which may impact their long-term commitment to the programs they serve. The trend to hire long-term part-time and adjunct faculty typically [End Page 91] results in fewer full-time faculty positions. As universities continue to find ways to cut costs, the use of more part-time faculty and adjuncts is likely to continue. Furthermore, another trend in art education is the hiring of MFA candidates over the PhD/EdD candidates in art education to teach art education, and these applicants are typically hired at a lower salary. This growing trend should raise concerns, particularly for those seeking art education faculty appointments and for those preparing students for the terminal degree in art education (EdD/PhD).

Understanding Promotion and Tenure Policies and Process

When asked about their institutional policy for promotion and tenure, 74% of the survey participants categorized their institution's policy as "clearly articulated." Among the 24% of respondents who did not feel their policy was well articulated, the additional comments suggested that the criteria of teaching, research, and service were stated, but the levels of acceptable performance were not well established. There seemed to be very high agreement (88%) among survey participants that the process for promotion and tenure in their institution was well defined. However, several survey participants' comments spoke to the need for more transparency and clarity in the promotion and tenure process. One participant commented that a Likert scale could have been provided in the Listserv Survey for a more discrete response to the question regarding promotion and tenure issues.

Judgments about clarity and viability of the process might more accurately reflect the quality of clarity or levels of articulation if another type of indicator had been provided. We have no way of knowing whether the participant's comment is valid, but it suggests that there could be more variability regarding the degree to which all faculty understand the promotion and/or tenure process than the survey data initially suggested. Postsecondary art educators need to understand how criteria for achievement are interpreted and applied in their specific institutional context. They also need to understand implicit, as well as explicit, criteria that they are being judged by, and not hesitate to urge institutions to clarify standards and procedures for promotion and tenure whenever necessary.

Collective Bargaining

In the early 1970s, the AAUP began developing collective bargaining in order "to protect professional standards and improve the economic state of the faculty" (AAUP, n.d., Collective bargaining, para. 3). The AAUP views collective bargaining as consistent with the standards of academic freedom, shared governance, and due process. In the 1990s, there was a rapid increase in graduate-employee unionization because of the increase in graduate student employment. According [End Page 92] to an AAUP report on collective bargaining, "over seventy local AAUP chapters have been recognized as collective bargaining agents representing faculty, graduate employees, academic professionals, and contingent faculty from all sectors of higher education" (para. 3). Among the respondents to the Listserv Survey, 55% reported that their institution did not engage in collective bargaining, 27% said that their faculty used collective bargaining, and 18% reported that they did not know whether collective bargaining was used. With almost 20% of the survey participants not knowing whether collective bargaining was practiced in their institutions, it may be that more information is needed from professional unions about the purposes for collective bargaining. In recent years, efforts to unionize campuses have increased on both junior college and 4-year campuses, yet many higher education working contexts remain without collective bargaining. This practice may leave faculty vulnerable to assaults on academic freedom, tenure, and fair employment practices.

Postsecondary art educators should be aware of the purpose, functions, and procedures involved in collective bargaining, and whether their campuses are represented, so they adequately understand policies, options, and support that might be available to them. More research is needed to determine whether postsecondary art educators understand the process of salary and workload negotiation within their institution, including relevant collective bargaining practices.

Conclusions, Concerns, and Future Research

Investigating the broad question regarding the workplace conditions of postsecondary art educators revealed some troubling institutional patterns. Findings from the Listserv Survey and other national surveys indicate that salaries for art educators within a school or college of art are lower than within schools or colleges of education. This was a relatively small survey of art educators (100 postsecondary art educators—one tenth of national association membership for higher education). A more thorough survey examination of postsecondary art educators is warranted for more generalizability. The discrepancies among position salaries may be attributed largely to the size and location of the institution, the administrative location of the art education program, collective bargaining practices, and gender discrimination. Continual updating of research is needed to provide postsecondary art educators with salary-range information appropriate for their position, context, experience, and credentials.

The numbers of courses that constitute a full-time workload vary by institution and by the type of assignment. The findings in the Listserv Survey are consistent with past research. Workloads of 3-4 courses per semester are typical at smaller institutions and teaching-focused institutions (Galbraith, 2001), whereas [End Page 93] teaching loads tend to require two courses be taught each semester in the larger research institutions. Additional course-load reductions are sometimes provided for special nonteaching duties, such as administrative or grant work.

The supervision of student teachers also impacted the workload issue of 65% of respondents who indicated that supervision was done by full-time art education faculty. Further research is needed to determine how the number of student teachers, driving distances, and increased paperwork required of student-teacher supervisors impact their research productivity. With over one third (38%) of survey participants indicating that student-teaching supervision was provided by part-time art education faculty, the noticeable general increase in the hiring of part-time faculty in postsecondary education should be of concern to all postsecondary art educators. And, as more P-12 teachers retire and seek out higher education teaching opportunities, greater numbers of part-time university faculty will likely be hired in art education programs (Twombly, Wolf-Wendel, Williams, & Green, 2006). Research is needed to determine ways in which programs of art education may best support part-time faculty who transition from P-12 to postsecondary positions. More research is also needed to determine the impact of part-time faculty on quality of instruction, curriculum, program structure, student learning, and faculty governance.

Institutional promotion and tenure policies and procedures are generally well articulated and understood by three quarters of art education faculty responding to our survey, with nearly one quarter of our respondents reporting that these policies were not well articulated or understood. Postsecondary art educators should not only work to be well informed about specific institutional requirements, university personnel rules and procedures, and state statutes governing faculty appointments, but also insist that their institutions and faculty/staff senates provide well-articulated and achievable criteria and processes for promotion, tenure, and the appeal process for contesting promotion and tenure decisions. Approximately 20% of the Higher Education Listserv Survey participants did not know whether their institution used collective bargaining processes. This lack of awareness may indicate a level of naïveté regarding negotiating salary and workplace conditions. Professional organizations, such as the NAEA, the AAUP, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) who have locals on university campuses, may wish to consider more professional development activities designed to educate and mentor probationary university art teacher educators as they enter into higher education and proceed through the tenure track.

Workload and related salary issues should and will be an issue for tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty, and part-time adjuncts in higher education because "there will be a major bulge in retirements over the next decade" (Russell, 2006, p. 1). [End Page 94] We hope this report will generate further demographic descriptive research in the field of art education and art teacher preparation. More demographic research is particularly needed in the area of workplace conditions to assist and support the successful induction of novice university art teacher educators into a complex and rigorous profession, and where their contributions can be recognized, appreciated, and equitably rewarded.

Melody K. Milbrandt
Georgia State University
Sheri R. Klein
University of Wisconsin-Stout


The authors would like to thank members of the National Art Education Association Higher Education (NAEA) participating in the Higher Education Listserv discussion that motivated the survey; the survey participants; and the leadership of NAEA for allowing the authors to issue the survey invitation through the NAEA Higher Education Listserv.


American Association of University Professors. (n.d.). Background facts on contingent faculty. Retrieved August 6, 2007, from
American Association of University Professors. (n.d.). Collective bargaining. Retrieved September 27, 2008, from
American Association of University Professors. (1998). Disparities in the salaries and appointments of academic women and men. Retrieved August 23, 2008, from
American Association of University Professors. (2007-2008). Report on the economic status of the profession: Where are the priorities? Retrieved October 16, 2008, from
Anderson, T., Eisner, E., & McRorie, S. (1998). A survey of graduate study in art education. Studies in Art Education, 40(1), 8-25.
Benjamin, E. (1998). Variations in the characteristics of part-time faculty by general fields of instruction and research. New Directions for Higher Education, 104, 45-59.
Burton, D. (1998). Survey of current research in art education. Studies in Art Education, 39(2), 183-186.
College and University Professionals Association for Human Resources (CUPA). (2008). National faculty salary survey by discipline and rank in four-year colleges and universities in the 2006-2007 academic year. Knoxville, TN: CUPA.
Curtis, J. W. (2003-2004). AAUP [American Association of University Professors]: Faculty salary and faculty distribution fact sheet 2003-04. Retrieved September 12, 2008, from; and Survey report Table 1,
Davis, J. D. (1990). Teacher education in the visual arts. In R. Houstan (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 746-757). New York: Macmillan. [End Page 95]
Galbraith, L. P. (2001). Teachers of teachers: Faculty working lives and art teacher education in the United States. Studies in Art Education, 42(2), 163-181.
Galbraith, L., & Grauer, K. (2004). State of the field: Demographics and teacher education. In E. Eisner & M. Day (Eds.), Handbook of research and policy in art education (pp. 415-438). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum and the National Art Education Association.
Hutchens, J. (1997). Accomplishing change in the university: Strategies for improving art teacher preparation. In M. D. Day (Ed.), Preparing teachers of art (pp. 139-154). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.
Knapp, L. G., Kelly-Reid, J. E., Whitmore, R. W., Levine, B., Huh, S., & Broyles, S. G. (2006). Employees in postsecondary institutions, fall 2004, and salaries of full-time instructional faculty, 2004-05. (NCES 2006-187.) Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.
Milbrandt, M., & Klein, S. (2006). NAEA higher education demographics, interests and needs assessment. Retrieved January 11, 2010, from
National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). (2006). Report on faculty responsibilities: The Higher Education Arts Data Services (HEADS) Project. Reston, VA: NASAD. Retrieved January 7, 2008, from
National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). (2002). Full-time and part-time instructional faculty and staff at institutions of higher education, by type and control, academic rank, age, salary, race/ethnicity, and sex. In Digest of education statistics, 2001. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved September 12, 2008, from
Oklahoma State University (OSU). (2001). 2000-2001 Faculty survey by discipline by Carnegie Classification. Stillwater: OSU Office of Planning, Budget and Institutional Research. Retrieved August 6, 2007, from
Russell, A. (2006). Faculty trends and issues. Policy Matters, 3(4), 1-4.
Sevigny, M. J. (1987). Discipline-based art education and teacher education. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 21(2), 95-128.
Thompson, C. M, & Hardiman, G. (1991). The status of art education programs in higher education. Visual Arts Research, 17(2), 72-80.
Twombly, S. B., Wolf-Wendel L., Williams, J., & Green, P. (2006). Searching for the next generation of teacher educators: Assessing the success of academic searches. Journal of Teacher, 57(5), 498-511.
U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). (2003, August 1). Post-secondary education statistics in 2001. Washington, DC: USDOE. Retrieved September 8, 2008, from
Zimmerman, E. (1997). Whence we come from? Wither we go? Demographic analysis of art teacher education programs in the United States. In M. Day (Ed.), Preparing teachers of art (pp. 27-44). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association. [End Page 96]

Next Article


Additional Information

Print ISSN
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.