UI salaries increase as university competes for top-level leaders
URBANA – When Linda Katehi officially takes office as the new University of Illinois provost at the beginning of April, she'll be paid $320,000 a year.
That's an increase of almost 12 percent over her predecessor, Jesse Delia, who was paid $286,000 as interim provost. And it's an increase of 42 percent over what the position paid five years ago, when Richard Herman, now chancellor, was making $225,000 as provost.
Salaries for top university administrators have increased steadily the past 10 to 15 years, said Sheldon Steinbach, general counsel for the American Council on Education.
"For the most part, senior administrators were grossly underpaid for decades," he said.
The salaries began catching up in the late 1980s, and it created a "market momentum, wherein similarly situated institutions began to match what other institutions were paying," he said.
So as salaries at the UI have increased in the past several years, they also increase at other public research universities.
UI President B. Joseph White said university leaders must consider the market value of the job they are filling: paying enough to keep the person from leaving for a job elsewhere with a higher salary.
"We never put people into administrative jobs without doing salary surveys," he said. "We always look at the other Big Ten schools. We look at the privates with which we can compete."
When the UI hires an engineering school dean, "You'd better believe we're going to know what deans make at each of the top 10 or 15 engineering schools, and we're going to be in the ballpark," he said.
They also must consider the current salaries of job candidates. White noted Katehi already made $300,000 as engineering dean at Purdue.
"We got somebody to move for a 7 percent increase," he said. "That's as low a move premium involving a promotion and relocation as any I've ever seen.
"There's nothing as valuable as excellent leadership talent, and we'll never apologize for paying properly to attract the best."
Steinbach agreed that talented leaders are worth the salaries they make.
"The citizens of the state of Illinois are the beneficiaries of having the best executive leadership at their colleges and universities," Steinbach said. "To stint at that level is to roll the dice on the individuals who are going to lead the state college and university system for the next decade. It is probably a poor bet not to try and secure the most effective executive management one can get when positions open."
And the demands on university presidents are different than in the past.
"He or she is now the number one fundraiser for the school," Steinbach said. "They may not make the initial contact, but it is demanded they are there to close the deal.
"From the smallest private to the largest public or private research university, they are looking for someone with the capacity, interest and skill in fundraising. This is not everyone's ballgame. You've got to be willing to acknowledge that fundraising, or being able to work the state legislature, dealing with alumni and other potential friends of the institution, is a very critical element for a 21st century university president."
The UI president's salary has increased almost 49 percent from the $302,220 paid to former President James Stukel five years ago. White's salary – $450,000, plus a retention incentive of $75,000 paid on the first anniversary of employment (and increased by $10,000 annually for five years) – ranks third among the public universities in the Big Ten. The total salary package of $525,000 puts White in the top 20 highest-paid public university presidents among 139 systems surveyed by The Chronicle of Higher Education last fall.
The Chronicle reported the median salary for a public university president was $360,000, and 23 of those surveyed were making $500,000 or more. The highest-paid leaders at private universities are making more than $1 million. And Steinbach said the salaries and raises university executives receive are minuscule compared to those in corporate America.
The UI chancellor's salary has increased from the $233,630 Michael Aiken made five years ago to the $350,000 Richard Herman will make this year. He also will receive $50,000 a year for five years as a retention incentive.
The pay increases for the UI president, the Urbana chancellor and the provost are larger than usual because the UI named new people to each of those positions since November 2004. Salaries typically don't rise nearly so dramatically for administrators already in their jobs.
"Times have changed since the times when the previous person was hired," Steinbach said. "It's just the marketplace factor."
The median pay for college administrators rose 3.5 percent this year, and those for chief executives of public institutions rose 3.9 percent, according to a salary survey of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. Faculty salaries at public universities increased 3.1 percent, according to the survey.
White said administrators' jobs have become more difficult.
"Competition for everything has intensified," he said. "The competition for faculty, students, reputation and resources is more intensive today than it's ever been before. Therefore, achieving results is harder than it's ever been."
Said Herman: "There is competition for talent at all levels, administrative as well as faculty. There are moments in time when certain fields become hot. Those who are good really become recruiting targets and retention targets. I've seen that happen even in mathematics."
He noted engineering and business school deans are very well paid. UI business Dean Avijit Ghosh makes $310,000, a salary Herman said is within the norm.
Faculty members also might receive hefty raises as part of retention packages. Several UI faculty members make more than $200,000.
"I'm not embarrassed at all about those salaries," Herman said. "We should be held responsible for every dollar we spend. They are salaries that, at first blush, generate questions. But we are a flagship institution. Maintaining and increasing the pre-eminence of that ultimately is based on the quality of people we attract."
Even so, a six-figure salary can raise eyebrows, especially when the average salary for full-time university employees is about $57,000.
"Right now, there is some money to reward those at the top and those with high visibility and the superstars, and for glamorous initiatives such as research parks and new centers, and we have money to hire people to head these," said Jenny Barrett, a research programmer in the psychology department and chairwoman of the Association of Academic Professionals.
But, she said, lower-level academic professionals don't have a good system to advance along a career path or earn more, and they are not adequately rewarded for remaining at the university.
"We don't begrudge the higher-level administrators their salaries," Barrett said. "But I think they should keep in mind the people who keep the system running smoothly for students and other people in the university community, and often this doesn't happen."
BIG EARNERS ON CAMPUS
University of Illinois system administrators and Urbana campus employees who were paid a salary of $200,000 or greater from state fund sources (salaries as of October 2005):
Name, Title(s), Annual salary
Joseph White*, President, $450,000
Richard Herman, Chancellor, $350,000
Avijit Ghosh, Dean of the College of Business, $310,000
Jesse Delia, Interim Provost, $286,000
David Chicoine*, Vice President For Technology and Economic Development, $270,000
Chester Gardner*, Vice President For Academic Affairs, $270,000
Sarah Mangelsdorf, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts And Sciences, $265,000
Harris Lewin, Director of the Institute for Genomic Biology, $262,000
Heidi Hurd, Dean of the College of Law , $258,000
Stephen Rugg*, Vice President For Administration, Comptroller, $255,000
Charles Zukoski, Vice Chancellor for Research, $244,000
Pierre Wiltzius, Director of Beckman Institute, $238,250
Thomas Ulen, Law professor, $235,441
Ilesanmi Adesida, Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, $234,840
Carl Woese, Microbiology professor, $234,451
Paul Lauterbur, Chemistry professor and professor of medical information sciences, $229,808
Peter Siegel, Chief Information Officer, $225,200
May Berenbaum, Head of the Department of Entomology, $222,870
Robert Easter, Dean of the College of ACES, $222,500
Ahmed Abdel-Khalik+ , Director of the Center for Int'l. Ed. and Research in Accounting, $222,500
Thomas Bearrows*, University Counsel, $217,600
John Banta*, CEO/Managing Director of Illinois Ventures, $216,451
Anthony DeLio, Business Development Director, $216,300
Chris Mollet*, Associate University Counsel, $214,240
Gene Robinson, Integrative Biology professor, $212,180
Susan Kieffer , Geology professor, $211,722
Karl Hess, Electrical and Computer Engineering professor, $211,700
Lyndon Goodly, Director of the Division of Animal Resources, $211,150
Marc Snir, Head of the Department of Computer Science, $210,700
Penelepe Hunt*, Associate Chancellor For Development, UIC, $210,500
Paula Kaufman, University Librarian, $207,000
Peter Maggs, Law professor, $206,450
Mary Dicig*, Director of the Office for Technology Management, UIC, $206,000
Lynette Marshall, Associate Chancellor for Development, $205,000
Wynne Korr, Dean of the School of Social Work, $204,000
Douglas Beckmann*, Senior Assoc. V.P. for Business and Finance, Deputy Comptroller, $203,753
Susan Fowler , Dean of the College of Education, $203,000
Lawrence Solum, Law professor, $202,000
Roger Koenker, Economics professor, $201,000
Greg Oldham~, Director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, $200,307
Ravishankar Iyer, Director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory, $200,100
Margaret Krol*, Interim Assoc. V.P. for Administrative Information Technology Services, $200,000
Robert Rich*, Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs , $200,000,
Notes: * UI system administrator; + accounting professor; ~ associate dean of faculty for the College of Business.