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:
|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|
|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|