The salaries for Iowa community college instructors continue to fall when compared to their peers in other states. According to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics, the average salary for faculty at Iowa community colleges has dropped from 30th to 32nd in the nation. The average salary: nearly $45,000 a year.

Iowa State Education Association president Linda Nelson says that’s $10,000 below the national average and the continuation of a big drop since community college faculty salaries ranked 24th in the nation in 1994. Nelson says one of the most troublesome things is that the states bordering Iowa offer much better pay to community college instructors.

“It’s really a sad state of affairs that you can cross the Mississippi River and earn $20,000 more by teaching at a community college in Illinois,” she says. Iowa has a network of 15 community colleges which offer two-year degrees in a wide variety of subjects. Nelson says her union will be pressing legislators to boost pay for community college instructors just like they did for school teachers.

“The legislature stepped up for the K-12 staff,” Nelson says. “Now it’s time for them to step up for our community college faculty.” Nelson estimates it would take about eight million more state taxdollars to hike community college salaries back up to 25th in the nation.

“Our faculty at the community colleges are doing yeoman’s work,” Nelson says. “…It is now time for the legislature to step up.” Nelson does acknowledge legislators took a “first step” this past spring when two-million dollars was earmarked for community college faculty salary hikes. That amounted to about $1,000 per instructor. Nelson met over the noon-hour (Thursday) with instructors at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.