Editor's note: See Sunday's News-Gazette for a Q&A with Robert Easter.
CHICAGO — The next president of the University of Illinois will make about $200,000 less than the departing one.
The executive committee of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Friday approved employment agreements for Michael Hogan, who resigned as UI president on Thursday, and for Robert Easter, who will take the position in July.
The full board of trustees is expected to approve the agreements in May.
Hogan will take a one-year sabbatical starting as soon as he resigns in July, at a salary of $285,100 — the average of the top 10 faculty members, as his original contract provided.
Easter will be president for two years or until a new president is named. He is president-designate at an annual salary of $250,000 until Hogan's resignation July 1. Then, Easter's salary will go to $450,000. Hogan was earning $651,000.
Hogan's resignation came amid considerable furor from faculty members over a number of issues, including centralization of enrollment and a perceived loss of autonomy for the campuses, especially at the Urbana campus. His chief of staff, Lisa Troyer, resigned after anonymous emails discouraging faculty consensus on enrollment changes were traced to her computer. And emails released to The News-Gazette under Freedom of Information Act requests showed what some faculty saw as "bullying" behavior toward new Chancellor Phyllis Wise.
Many of the campus' most influential professors signed letters that grew increasingly critical of Hogan, eventually asking the trustees to fire him as soon as possible. The board met with him early in March and instructed him to work to rebuild relationships with the faculty.
But the agreement between Hogan and the trustees specifies that his resignation "in no way constitutes an admission that any basis exists for the Board of Trustees to terminate Hogan as president for any reason or without cause."
Faculty response was generally positive following the selection of Easter to become the UI's 19th president.
Easter had fulfilled top administrative duties on an interim basis for the past couple of years, and has been on the campus for decades. He spent seven years as the dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
He was chosen, UI board Chairman Chris Kennedy said Thursday, to avoid "a holding pattern" while a search was conducted for a new president.
Hogan became president on July 1, 2010, leaving the same post at the University of Connecticut. He is a historian by background.
He will be allowed to choose whether to work at the Urbana, Springfield or Chicago campus when he returns from sabbatical in 2013, and the UI will pay his moving expenses if he leaves the Urbana campus.
He is the second consecutive president to resign. The UI is paying B. Joseph White $288,700 per year after he resigned in the midst of the Category I admissions scandal. He is teaching two to three business courses per year.
Former Chancellor Richard Herman, who also resigned over Category I, is now at the UI's Chicago campus, earning $244,444. He was to teach two online courses this year, one in April and another in the summer. A course for the spring semester was canceled for lack of enrollment.