University Town: How Much of Our Tax dollars Pay for Academics and Research?

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Professor Darrin McMahon is living in the past, and bringing his students with him.

FSU History Professor Darrin McMahon says, "I think it's important that people have a sense of where their ideas come from."

McMahon teaches French History and the history of intellectualism, but it's certainly not a 9-to-5 gig.

"Talk to my wife, basically I work all the time," says McMahon,"I work at home an awful lot, I work on weekends, I work in the summer and indeed, it's often when I'm not teaching that I'm working the hardest."

And professors have to earn their keep.

During the 2008-2009 school year at Florida State, the average salary for a full-time professor was $101,364. In the fall and spring semesters, the number of classes taught by each professor varied, but on average, there were around 31 students for each full-time professor on campus.

McMahon says, "I'm in this extraordinary privileged position of being able to do what I love to do."

Full-time professors at Tallahassee Community College earn between
$40,330.00 to $78,747.35. And each teach an average of around four to five classes a week, depending on course credit and class sizes.

Florida A&M faculty salaries range from $30,759 to $244,800

For each faculty member, there are around 18 students.

Aside from spreading knowledge, FSU and FAMU do much more.

FSU Associate V.P. for Research Ross Ellington says, "Research generates new knowledge, it generates products, it generates expertise."

And it generates big bucks. FAMU received more than $43,000,000 for research. Most of it is federal money. Florida State received $200,000,000 in cash for research. And $130,000,000 of that came from federal grants.

The money pays for supplies, stipends for graduate students and salary support for the researchers.
Ellington says, "Which incidentally contributes to the local economy, these are people that are paying taxes and paying rent and so forth."

But some of these research ideas can turn into actual products that are sold on the market. Ellington says in those cases, the researcher would get a share of the proceeds with the university getting the bulk of the money. But he says money is not so important.

Ellington says, "By and large, most of us are doing our research because we love to do the research."

And McMahon loves what he does too. It certainly is time consuming, and sometimes arduous-
"Grading papers is the least favorite, it's just a painful thing to do," he says.

But as the saying goes, if you love what you do, then you've never worked a day in your life.

On Wednesday, we will look into the salaries of athletic coaches in our colleges. And he'll also investigate why they receive money from apparel companies like Nike.

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