Former UI chief of staff accepts faculty job

Former UI chief of staff accepts faculty job

URBANA — Former presidential chief of staff Lisa Troyer will be paid $109,000 a year in her new role as a University of Illinois psychology professor, but she also faces a possible ethics review by the campus.

Troyer, who resigned her $200,850-a-year administrative post on Jan. 4 during an investigation into anonymous emails traced to her computer, has accepted the terms offered by the campus for her faculty appointment.

A sociologist by training, Troyer was given a zero-time tenured appointment in psychology shortly after she was hired in July 2010 along with President Michael Hogan. She had held a similar faculty post at the University of Connecticut, where she served as his executive assistant, and also worked with Hogan when he was provost at the University of Iowa, where she earned her tenure.

However, an ethics investigation concluded on Jan. 13 that Troyer had likely posed as a faculty senator in two anonymous emails to try to influence a University Senates Conference report on Hogan’s controversial enrollment management plan, which covers admissions, financial aid and related issues.

Troyer has maintained that she did not write or send the emails, and said she resigned because she could not be effective as chief of staff during the investigation.

"Information about this issue continues to develop and I believe that over time, as the full information comes to light, it will reveal the truth behind this matter. Meanwhile, I'll do my best to serve the University as a teacher and researcher," she said in an email to the News-Gazette late Tuesday.

The campus extended a paid faculty appointment to Troyer on Jan. 17, but she asked for more time to consider the terms, officials said. She signed the letter on Tuesday.

The letter includes a provision stating that “additional reviews of your activities related to the recently completed investigative report may be undertaken, through consultation with appropriate faculty governance committees. You will of course be apprised and engaged as any such reviews are undertaken, and your continued cooperation will be expected and appreciated.”

The letter was signed by interim Provost Richard Wheeler; Ruth Watkins, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Brian Ross, interim head of the Psychology Department.

“We’ll be looking at potential implications for her status as a faculty member based on what we saw in the review,” Wheeler told The News-Gazette on Tuesday.

Wheeler said his first step will be to consult with the campus Faculty Advisory Committee and decide whether to go forward with a review. Elected by faculty, the committee advises the chancellor and provost on grievances and other faculty matters.

“There are decisions to be made yet,” Wheeler said.

Administrators based Troyer’s salary on the median for other professors in the Psychology Department who received their doctorates and achieved full tenure at roughly the same time as Troyer.

Troyer will not teach this semester, since it has already started, but she will be expected to begin “developing her future research and her teaching agenda and resuming her scholarly activity with the expectation that she would begin teaching in the fall,” said campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

She will be required to provide a report of her activities to Ross on March 15 and May 15, so that the department “can understand your research agenda and begin to identify appropriate teaching assignments for future semesters,” the letter said.

Wheeler wouldn’t say whether Troyer had tried to negotiate for a different salary or employment terms.

“There were some email exchanges, but she signed it as I offered it,” he said.

He said academic administrators typically hold tenured faculty appointments and return to those positions once they leave their administrative jobs.

Their salaries are typically split between their administrative and faculty positions, but that wasn’t done in Troyer’s case so the campus had to formally offer her a salary, Kaler said. Troyer’s zero-time faculty appointment was approved in 2010 by UI trustees as well as the department, college and campus, she said.

Kaler said any review of Troyer’s appointment would likely consider whether she violated campus policies on ethics and appropriate use of electronic communications, as referenced in the investigative report.

“This is a serious matter. The campus wants to fully understand what happened and why, and decide how to proceed,” Kaler said.

UI Chicago Professor Don Chambers, who chairs the University Senates Conference, said Troyer’s hiring is a matter for the Urbana campus, but
he supported the idea of a campus review.

“We would not want our faculty to be seen as a fallback for people who have violated the ethical dimensions of the university,” Chambers said Tuesday, though he noted that Troyer has maintained her innocence.

“I endorse the statement of the campus,” Chambers said.

Faculty leaders have focused more on what they call “a broad pattern of surveillance and intrusion into legitimate faculty governance deliberations” by Hogan in pushing the enrollment management plans. One faculty resolution approved last week cited a “failure of leadership” by the UI president.

The investigative report found no evidence that Hogan knew about the anonymous emails. He later apologized for the incident.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on February 07, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Tenure is amnesty for wrongs committed.  That makes it clear to all who are not part of the Tenured Class.  One set of rules for the peons; and a special set of rules for the upper class.  I am sure that excuses will be made defending it due to potential lawsuits.  So much for "intellectual honesty".  At least; the university has shown that it has truly earned the disdain, and disrespect from other universities across the country, and the citizens of the state.  I would add the word "Shame"; but it does not exist in academia.    

Lostinspace wrote on February 07, 2012 at 5:02 pm

"Shame." How old-fashioned.  We sophisticates are beyond that.

A $100,000 per year fine.  Sounds about right.  Of course, she can augment that by doing consulting work in group psychology, advising people how to succeed as a team member.

We'll see how it sits with the formerly outraged faculty.

cretis16 wrote on February 08, 2012 at 10:02 am

What do you expect from a state like ILLINOIS? They gotta protect their own.

blmillini2 wrote on February 07, 2012 at 5:02 pm

My goodness-  we live in a corrupt state - with a corrupt flagship state university-can't pay our bills - pay tenured professors 6 figure retirements for teaching 2 classes a year - It is great to be an Illini

Mike wrote on February 07, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

$109,000 for a 9-month appointment. Summers off. Good work when you can get it, I guess. I only hope that if I ever am stupid enough to foolishy send a non-anonymous "anonymous" e-mail that I get off with so harsh a punishment. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 07, 2012 at 6:02 pm

State employees take an Ethics Test annually.  Dr. Troyer is a state employee.  Any civil service employee committing such an act would have been fired.  The university is saying that Tenure trumps Ethics. The university is disregarding a work rule to defend the archaic concept of Tenure.  There is no defense for this.  A cut in salary is not a disciplinary action.  Even the most pompous fool on campus knows this.  Dr. Hogan; you will be laughed at every time you speak.  Everyone will see the Emperor Has No Clothes when you speak.  Hopefully, the students will turn their backs on you during the graduation activities even though the faculty will clap.  

U of I reader wrote on February 07, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Tenure may be an anachronistic apprenticeship system better suited to feudal times, but it is not the problem here.

The problem is the use of unearned tenure to sweeten the deal for people hired not because of their credentials as professors but rather for their presumed ability as administrators.

For tenure to mean anything other than a loophole guaranteeing job security, it should never be granted to anyone until after that person has proven, over the course of several years, that he or she is a valued member of the specific faculty on which he or she serves.

Rather than being brought in by cronies from outside, administrators should be chosen from among the existing faculty and advanced incrementally to areas of greater responsibility. The honor of being chosen a leader by one's peers would eliminate the need for massive salaries and promises of job security.

What's killing the university are not those faculty members who have devoted their lives to it and who need tenure to insure a diversity of approaches and free expression. Rather it is the outsiders brought in with promises of lifetime employment at huge salaries without ever having proved their dedication or ethics to the institution granting them those considerable benefits.

So now we have a former president, a former chancellor, a former chief of staff and a former chief information officer all holding tenured positions at huge salaries as their reward for, in most cases, not properly doing the jobs they were hired to do. If any of them had a conscience, they would turn down offers to "return" to teaching because their "return" belittles the hard work and sacrifice of those who actually earned their tenure here.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 07, 2012 at 7:02 pm

End Tenure.  It will happen.  As the public sees cuts to the disabled, the poor, the public schools, the elderly, and the working poor; they will see the waste in tenure.  Tenure does not protect academic freedom.  It only perpetuates the defense of wrong doing.

EL YATIRI wrote on February 07, 2012 at 7:02 pm
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Reykjavik wrote on February 07, 2012 at 9:02 pm

She has a PhD and a lot of experience, so let's see what she can do.  The salary is not unusual for a PhD and many years of experience, in fact it is low.  It seems that readers do not understand salaries for highly educated, experienced people.

She has been accused of some taudry things, but she has a contract that guarantees this position, to do otherwise UIUC would be breaking the law.

So readers, stop whining about corruption and her salary.  This process seem to be handled by the book. No one is happy (including her and UIUC), but we are bound by law. If she is convicted of something (which many of us think she did), then she will be canned!

read the DI wrote on February 07, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Excellent points. The truth is, the state (taxpayers) pay only a fraction of the U of I's operating budget these days.

The problem isn't that a highly experienced Ph.D. can make six figures in a teaching/research position. The problem is that more of them don't. 

Troyer's legal issues -- if that's what they are -- will be decided by others anyway.

45solte wrote on February 08, 2012 at 9:02 am

No.  There is a process the corrupt guy she was corruption assistant to could have initiated to have her ('endowed') tenure terminated.  Doing the ethical thing though would require familiarity with related processes and procedures.  Something some of the very learned might have to study and attened a (ski) 'conference' about before trying out the obvious.  Not sure about the salary, but, such data are a matter of public record.  My guess is there is actually quite a range and I am not sure what type of dollar figure her misconduct garners these days.  She might find a niche in Psych though.  An audit of that department's grant expense reimbursements on a prof by prof basis would be interesting...

anony95 wrote on February 07, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I wonder how this will reflect on the ranking and reputation of the psychology department, having a person with a degree in an entirely different field as a tenured professor. Surely if they needed another professor, they could have found a well-qualified person holding a PhD in PSYCHOLOGY, with research interests that would improve the standing of the department. Now they just have someone filling space that could be filled by a relevant, contributing department member - and probably for less money.  Then again, golden parachutes are pretty common at UI. 

LedgerCat wrote on February 07, 2012 at 9:02 pm

My husband is a tenured professor at the U of I and he makes less than six figures.  He is well respected in his field, has an impeccable record and is a wonderful husband, father and friend.  Please do not disrespect the accomplishments of many because of the mistakes of a few.  As said earlier, tenure is not the problem here!

45solte wrote on February 08, 2012 at 10:02 am

Hopefully he's being vocal and doing what he can within the system to not stand for this outcome (thus far).  Silence can be complicity.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 07, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Ethics is the issue here; or more simply the lack of it.  Tenure is protecting unethical behavior.  Thank you for confirming that the public no longer is entitled to an opinion regarding right from wrong.  Your comments have made that clear.  Whether the taxpayer/citizen pays only 18% of the university's budget is misleading.  Dr. Troyer, Dr. Ting, and Dr. Hogan are still state employees as are those who are defending this wrong.  All state employees are subject to Ethics.  You may be ethical in your work, or your husband might be ethical in his work; but to defend this after the investigations is indefensible.  You have chosen to turn a blind eye to this. This reflects directly on you.  To say that a $109,000.00 salary is due to Dr. Troyer simply asserts to the public your lack of reality in today's economy.  Thank you for your responses.  It helps the public to understand what the State of Illinois institutions of higher education have become.  The name which reflects the total public of the state should be removed.  You can replace it with whatever you choose.  I used to defend the university when the long line of scandals occurred; but not any more.  My sympathy to the civil service employees.  Your jobs must be intolerable with these pompous, overpaid elite ruling a public university.

mankind wrote on February 07, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Tenure is protecting unethical behavior? Do you think any faculty member would have blown the whistle on Troyer the way that computer science professor did, if they didn't have tenure? Don't use one example of abuse to condemn the entire system that has preserved academic freedom and helped protect free speech for years. 

45solte wrote on February 08, 2012 at 10:02 am

Have any of the tenured psych folks come out with their free speech a blazin' to oppose this appointment?  Take a stand when it comes to ethics violations.  Who better to do it  than those within the system and those with the sacred backing of academic freedom?


45solte wrote on February 08, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I don't think Tolliver is in Psych.  Maybe I have missed where the leadership in Psych has come out protesting.

U of I reader wrote on February 08, 2012 at 11:02 am

As a tenured faculty member and faculty senator, trust me: No one is more upset about this than the faculty.

What administrators have implied is that the main reason a position was offered was that doing so would allow disciplinary action to commence. Lawyers apparently convinced them that ethics proceedings, which might result in her being stripped of tenure and fired, could not begin unless she was getting paid, which she has not been since resigning as chief of staff.

We should, as always, accord every defendant a legal presumption of innocence, but there is no question that the vast majority of the faculty will be insisting that whatever charges can be brought actually are brought and are pursued as quickly and forcefully as possible.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 08, 2012 at 11:02 am

Time will tell.  I doubt that the outcome will become public though.  Past scandals (too many to list) have not been pursued.  Will the faculty act in an Ethical manner themselves in this matter; or continue to look at their shoes?  My respect to the one professor who had the courage to do the right thing in reporting the false e-mails.  Dr. Hogan will remain either way.  What would be the "whatever charges" brought against Dr. Troyer?

vcponsardin wrote on February 08, 2012 at 2:02 pm

C'mon, Sid, admit it:  Deep down inside, all this anger and vitriol of yours aimed at the U of I and its "elitist" faculty is really about Chief Illinewik, now isn't it...



Sid Saltfork wrote on February 08, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I really do not give a hoot about the Chief.  I graduated from another university.  I worked in the area for 40 plus years with 20 plus of those years dealing with Illinois universities.  My anger is directed toward the waste that I have seen over the years.  That, and the covered up scandals that the self-professing "Flagship of Illinois Higher Education" has perpetuaded over the years. Yes, your lordship; my anger is directed toward the people like you represent.  My hope is that others see the university for what it is, and demand change; or send their kids, or grand kids to a state school that has an ethical atmosphere, and a "working" faculty.  Carry on, your lordship.

buylocalurbana wrote on February 08, 2012 at 8:02 am

Did anyone notice that she signed the offer letter more than two weeks after it expired? RULES ARE OPTIONAL for elite administrators.

It's a really appalling situation. Can you imagine being a newly-hired Psych prof, with your shiny new PhD, making $68k and reading this story while taking the mandatory state ethics test? How about being a graduate assistant in Psych looking for a role model but seeing what really gets rewarded, not to mention receiving a paycheck for $0 due to the tax withholding scandal?


virgil g wrote on February 08, 2012 at 12:02 pm

In a similar article on the Daily Illini, Troyer's responsibilities will be:

Troyer studies “innovative problem-solving in groups and organizations” in social-personality psychology.

Wouldn't sending annonymous emails be considered innovative problem solving?

ilkrm wrote on February 09, 2012 at 7:02 am

Earned tenure is not the problem here.  Tenure as a perk is.

Lostinspace wrote on February 09, 2012 at 9:02 am

Can you say "spousal hiring"?

Steve1us wrote on February 09, 2012 at 11:02 am

If you add in Hogan's raise over the past President, Troyer's $200K and the newly created offices and their staffs (many hired without searches) such as VC for research, Hogan has added several million to the budget in salary costs alone.  And he and Kennedy said he deserved the extra money over White because he was so knowlegable about running a big university. Yes, he is: more money for those at the top, same old lack of ethics and  double standards when it comes to them and the average university employee.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 09, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Dr. Troyer's previous salary was twice as much as directors of state agencies with hundreds of employees.  Her present salary is the equivalent of their salaries.  Many of them do possess Ph.D.s.  Dr. Troyer is probably feeling humiliation, and not looking forward to teaching; but she should be thankful to Dr. Hogan for her tenure, and contract.  Where would she find a job at this time?  The salaries of the top university administrators has in the past, and is now not reflective of real administrative salaries.  When raises have been frozen, pensions threatened, and many facing no job prospects; Dr. Troyer should be grateful to Dr. Hogan.  He is a true friend.  Not many would have accepted a future of ridicule for an unethical friend.  Her self inflicted humiliation will be an opportunity for her to learn something that she neglected to learn in the past.  Dr. Hogan has given her a second chance to learn ethical behavior.  I hope she appreciates his friendship, and self sacrifice.