An Embarrassment 

The colleague from ‘Bama who’s my academic twin goes to at least 5 conferences a year. Paid for by her school.

I went to three this year, and two of them were financed by my husband. Which I find embarrassing. 

My university doesn’t fund travel to overseas conferences by the way because “everything you need is right here in the US.” We are so worldly it hurts. 


14 thoughts on “An Embarrassment ”

        1. Then I don’t see the connection at all. The money for travel to conferences doesn’t come from graduate tuition so it’s irrelevant whether there is a graduate program.


  1. One of my friends got promoted to full professor this year, and also got another raise. She makes about 72K now. I’m an assistant prof, and go up for tenure/promotion in the fall. I currently make about 56K, and if I get promoted I’ll make around 59-60K. That leaves a 12K difference between me and my friend. But consider this — she gets only 1,000 dollars in travel funds per year, even though she regularly goes to 3 conferences per year. So much of her travel comes out of her own paycheck. Meanwhile, this past calendar year, I went to a conference in both the spring and fall, and went to Europe, all on the school’s dime. They spent about 8,000 dollars on my travel funding this year. So if you do the math, the gap between our salaries isn’t really as big as it sounds like, especially considering the fact that she’s a full professor.

    I console myself with these facts whenever I get totally depressed about my salary.


    1. Hey, I’m tenured and Associate and I make $56K and only get $900 per year in travel money. And no health insurance. So you are really not that badly off compared to me.

      I totally need a different job because I sound pathetic.


      1. Ugh. And we hired two Spanish profs last year. I wish you had applied. 😦 But you never know. Spanish is growing a lot here, so maybe we’ll hire again. Then again, you probably wouldn’t want to come to a place with a 4/4 load and crazy people at the top.


    2. 72k is very low for full. I have one of the lowest full professor salaries in my college and that is lower even than mine. So you friend is very screwed: low salary for rank and no travel money.


  2. I think that your conference funding is sadly more typical than your colleague in Alabama. I get funded for one conference a year. I get a bit more than you do ($1500) but it’s still only one conference–even if I don’t use all my funding on that one conference. It’s slightly possible to get additional money through a long and arduous application process; but these additional requests (that seriously require about 10+pages of paperwork) are usually denied. And my husband makes less than I do. So in general, it’s one conference a year for me.

    I would like more conference funding of course but I don’t know how truly necessary conferences are. To me, they are more fun than strictly necessary for my professional development. So I’m not too concerned on the conference front. One conference a year isn’t terrible in my opinion.

    Re: salary. I make what you do (56k). Our Full Professors in the Humanities makes about 70k–at best. Of course in the Sciences and Business, they make nearly twice that salary–which also contributes to major gender inequities at our institution. It makes me seethe.

    So while I can live with the conference funding, the salary situation infuriates me. But I am a tenured professor of English teaching a 3/3. The chances of me finding another tenured position teaching a 3/3 (or less) is difficult to impossible in this current market. Short of finding another profession altogether, I’m not sure there is much I can do about it. And I’m just not quite ready to give up my 9 month a year gig.


    1. We had a good benefits package to compensate for our low salaries. But now we’ve lost them.

      I’m happy my husband chose not to go into academia.


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