At UI's Urbana campus, 472 earning $150,000-plus - but that's still fewer than in 2008

At UI's Urbana campus, 472 earning $150,000-plus - but that's still fewer than in 2008

URBANA — Following several tough years of hiring freezes, furloughs, retirements and a budget rescission, faculty and staff salaries on the Urbana campus have edged higher this year with more University of Illinois employees earning $150,000 or more. But the number is not as high as it was during the recent peak of 2008, according to a News-Gazette analysis.

Of the university's $5.4 billion budget for all three campuses, personnel costs this year amount to about $2.3 billion, or nearly 43 percent, not including payments on behalf, which are state funds given to the UI for health insurance and other benefits.

"We are a very much a people-driven outfit," said Randy Kangas, the UI's associate vice president for planning and budgeting.

Earlier this fall, after UI trustees approved appointments and raises for the current academic year, officials released current salary data to media outlets.

Among The News-Gazette's preliminary findings:

— On the Urbana campus, 472 are people earning an annual salary of $150,000 or more, up from recent years when the number hovered at about 400. The most recent peak was in 2008 when the number reached 528. As for those making $200,000 or more, the number inched upward to 155 this fall. That also was up from recent years but not as high as it was in 2008, when the campus had 218 people earning $200,000 or more.

"Part of what you're seeing is older faculty or more experienced faculty retiring and now you have younger faculty, assistant faculty at a lower market rate. And you might be seeing a little bit of the efforts of administrative review and consolidating as well," Kangas said.

— The 155 employees earning $200,000 or better on the Urbana campus account for a total of $41.6 million as of September, compared with $40 million in 2007. The 472 academic professionals earning $150,000 or more this year account for $95.5 million, compared with $92.5 million in 2007.

— The Chicago campus, home to the College of Medicine (the country's largest medical school) and the University Hospital, has the highest-paid employees. That campus employs 1,522 people who earn $150,000 or more. Kangas attributes that to the large number of health care employees working there either as faculty or as part of the hospital staff.

— Academic professionals within university administration (which deals with all three campuses, rather than just Urbana) account for almost $76 million in personnel costs as of this fall. There are 835 of them, and 65 earn $150,000 or more.

— Twenty-two employees in the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics who earn $150,000 or above. Eleven of them are on the football staff. Other than head coaches, the salaries for assistant coaches are straightforward; they don't have any performance provisions built in to their contracts, according to DIA spokesman Kent Brown. He said the salaries are "comparable and competitive with most schools around the country."

The high earners in Urbana include, not surprisingly, campus and university leaders such as vice presidents and associate chancellors, college deans and research institute heads. Leaders of highly ranked programs, such as accountancy, appear on the list as well as endowed professors. Administrators in the university's health affairs system also earn salaries of at least one-quarter or half a million dollars a year.

"We certainly don't begrudge professors who are Nobel Prize winners," said Ricky Baldwin, organizer with Service Employees Union, which represents some of the lowest-paid employees on campus, the food service and building service workers. "The concern is when you see some of these administrators making such huge amounts ... and our folks are just trying to keep up," he said. The union currently is bargaining with the university for a new contract and asking for some wage increases to make up for lost ground in 2010 and '11.

"Tuition is up every year, the university's overall operating budget is up, and some of that is restricted to certain categories, but ... there's more than enough to give small raises to employees not making the kind of money that administrators do," Baldwin said. "Administrators ... are not getting their phones cut or losing their cars. Our members are living right on the edge."

This fall's uptick in salaries for academic professionals listed in the university's "Grey Book" follows a slight increase that occurred last year. Although several unknowns loom before next year's budget is finalized — trustees are expected to set tuition in January, Gov. Pat Quinn will deliver a budget address in early 2013 and the General Assembly will approve a budget sometime next spring — UI President Bob Easter has indicated that a modest salary program is a top priority.

It's like the market for commodities, Kangas said. Where there's demand, prices go up.

"At a national university like our campus, there is stiff competition for faculty, and there's competition for presidents and top administrators. As far as I can tell, the market for top faculty has remained strong," Kangas said.

Compared with what it considers peer institutions (such as University of California-Berkeley, University of Texas, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Michigan and others), the average faculty salary on the Urbana campus is lower than its peer median. When compared with Big Ten institutions, the Urbana campus ranks third behind Northwestern and Michigan in faculty pay, according to the most recent data from the American Association of University Professors.

The budget approved by university trustees this fall included an average merit rase of 2.5 percent for faculty and staff, although the exact amount was left to supervisors to determine, meaning raises could range from 0 percent to 10 percent or greater. That followed an average merit rase of 3 percent last year.

After the number of Urbana faculty and staff earning $150,000 or more peaked at 528 in 2008, the numbers dropped due to several factors. The university experienced a budget rescission from the state in 2009, started a hiring freeze and enacted furloughs, including requiring its highest-paid employees to take 10 furlough days. In 2010 and '11, the UI did not have an official campuswide merit program and froze salaries. During those years, ranks declined as employees retired or were recruited elsewhere. The university offered voluntary retirement and separation programs for faculty and for staff, and hundreds took up the offer.

Top 15 earners: Campus

Top salaries on the Urbana campus, excluding athletics or UI system administrators, as of September 2012:

Phyllis Wise  chancellor  $512,500
Ilesanmi Adesida  provost  $430,000
Art Kramer  director, Beckman Institute  $402,796
Uretz J. Oliphant  interim regional dean, College of Medicine  $386,118
Larry DeBrock  dean, College of Business  $360,340
Gene Robinson  director, Institute for Genomic Biology  $343,643
Carl Woese  professor of microbiology  $328,602
Jon Davis  head, Department of Accountancy  $327,500
Thomas H. Dunning  director, National Center for Supercomputing Applications  $323,990
Bruce Smith  dean, College of Law  $318,310
Michael Bragg  interim dean, College of Engineering $316,667  
Michael Moore professor of law  $308,442
Peter Schiffer  vice chancellor for research  $300,000
Mark Everett Peecher  professor of accountancy and Ph.D. program director  $295,350
Avijit Ghosh  adviser to President Easter and professor of business  $294,090

Top earners: Administration

Top salaries for those working for university administration (systemwide) as of September 2012:

Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia  vice president, health affairs                    $805,863
Robert Easter  president  $450,000
Christophe Pierre  vice president, academic affairs  $381,777
Lawrence Schook  vice president, research  $336,875
Walter Knorr  vice president and chief financial officer  $312,958
Jeffrey Finesilver  visiting associate vice president for operations  $300,000
Thomas Bearrows  university counsel  $298,637
Michael Hites  associate VP, Administrative Information Technology Services  $282,534
Michael Bass  senior associate vice president, business and financial services  $261,528
Michael Jonen  visiting associate vice president, health affairs  $255,000
Richard Wheeler  visiting associate vice president, academic affairs  $250,000
Steven Veazie  deputy university counsel  $241,010
John Banta  chief executive officer, IllinoisVentures  $240,098
Lesley Millar  director, Office of Technology Management  $235,448
Caralynn Nowinski-Chenoweth  associate vice president, innovation and economic development  $225,500
Heather Haberaecker  executive assistant vice president  $220,226
Ilir Zenku  assistant vice president, health information systems  $215,250
Robert Schultz  senior director, IllinoisVentures  $212,321
Nancy Sullivan  director, Office of Technology Management  $212,180
Willis Regier  director, University of Illinois Press  $209,269
Maureen Parks  associate vice president, human resources  $209,144
W. Randall Kangas  associate vice president, planning and budget  $206,092
Thomas Hardy  executive director, university relations  $204,287
Peter Newman  senior associate vice president, treasury operations  $204,091
Airica Steed  chief experience officer, health affairs  $200,000

Top earners: Athletics

Top salaries in the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, as of September 2012


Tim Beckman  head football coach                  $1.6 million
John Groce  head men's basketball coach                  $1.4 million
Mike Thomas  athletics director  $489,250
Timothy S. Banks  assistant football coach  $400,000
Christopher Beatty assistant football coach  $400,000
Billy R. Gonzales  assistant football coach  $400,000
Matthew M. Bollant  head women's basketball coach  $330,000
Luke Butkus  assistant football coach  $200,000
Keith L. Gilmore  assistant football coach  $200,000
Timothy C. Salem  assistant football coach  $200,000
Michael L. Ward  assistant football coach  $200,000


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pattsi wrote on November 18, 2012 at 8:11 am

there is humor in this data parallelling the recent election--for all of the monies invested in the university football program, the return rate is on a par with them illions and billions spent on trying to get elected certain hand-picket candidates and the failure rate of that endeavor.

Lostinspace wrote on November 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

Well, we know that the football and basketball programs are self-supporting (including salaries, scholarships, security, maintenance, tutoring, etc., we presume), so none of these salaries come from the general budgets of the university or university foundation.




If so, one wonders why these programs, as self-supporting businesses, pay no taxes.  Perhaps city government should take a page from university tactics and charge "fees" from athletics...

Political Observer wrote on November 19, 2012 at 12:11 am

You're right, LostInSpace, it's been the case for decades that the revenues from men's basketball and football have not only funded their own sports, but they've funded all the rest of both the men's and women's Illini sports as well, so perhaps the article could have made it a point to have mentioned that.

I'm also not really certain what the allusions are in Patsi's comments to the "failure rate" with regard to certain "hand-picked candidates."  If she's referring to Rodney Davis and Katie Blakeman as hand-picked candidates, by virtue of their having been selected by political insiders rather than elected in party primaries, then there's no "failure" there at all, in terms of failure to win a race. They both had way more dirty money flushed into their candidacies from outside sources than their main competitors did, and they successfully surfed the sluice of dirty money to victory.  In the case of Rodney Davis, of course, his surf board was floated along by the dirty money of Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and the Griffin Billionaires, as has often been noted elsewhere.  In the case of Katie Blakeman, she received a big wet kiss of $20,000 from the Champaign County Republican Party (which by itself was a lot more money than an entire race for Circuit Clerk should even have to cost), but, hey, in her case, it was probably a fitting end to the Gordy and "Bull" Winkel Show arranged by her one-time College Republican friends and colleagues that got her on the ballot in the first place. 

Citizen1 wrote on November 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Bloat backed up by bloat on top of fat.

just_wondering wrote on November 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm

What is missing is the source of funds for the salaries of many academic professionals and faculty. Significant amounts of competitively awarded grant funding are won by faculty and academic professionals, coming from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and the list goes on. The State of Illinois and tuition are not the only source of funds, and it would be good for the News-Gazette to tell the whole story.

Political Observer wrote on November 19, 2012 at 1:11 am

One sentence in the article particularly stood out to me:

"When compared with Big Ten institutions, the Urbana campus ranks third behind Northwestern and Michigan in faculty pay, according to the most recent data from the American Association of University Professors."

I've seen that statement in the News-Gazette now for decades. Although occasionally the Big Ten faculty salary ranking may dip slightly below third place after particularly bad budget years, it usually eventually recovers back to third place.  Of course, maintaining that third place rating has long been a stated goal of the UI administration, so it's no coincidence that the UI is once again in third place in faculty pay.

However, what I find interesting is that years ago the ranking statement for faculty pay used to be accompanied by yet another ranking, where faculty pay was combined with paid faculty benefits, to give a measure that was called "Total Compensation." Indeed, one could argue that it could be somewhat misleading to examine only faculty pay by itself, without at least mentioning what the corresponding rankings would look like if Total Compensation were taken into account.

However, since Total Compensation includes the grossly-underfunded Illinois faculty pension system (including the systematic de-funding that was masterminded by Robert Mandeville under the direction of former Governor Jim Thompson and carried on to varying degrees by his successors), the University of Illinois has over the years usually found itself ranked much lower in the Big Ten (indeed, often near the bottom), when Total Compensation is taken as the measure of interest.

Perhaps we're not supposed to speak of such things any more, though, in an era where newspapers seem to serve only as a conduit for various press releases?