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Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

College President v. Faculty Pay Increases, 1999 to 2007

Brian Galle (Boston College), Data on Presidents: A First Look:

 Real increases

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Why is the measuring period 1999 - 2007? When the author of a chart selects a non-typical period of measuring changes, it makes me suspicious about whether or not the author is trying to juggle the years with data favorable to his position.

I don't defend perceived wasteful spending, but the president does have a much greater responsibility to bring in the dollars than does the faculty; thus, his ability to raise money offsets his pay increases. The faculty are, in essence, production line workers with little influence on the bottom line.

Posted by: Woody | Aug 14, 2013 11:22:18 AM

Maybe 1999-2007 are the years of Gordon Gee's tenure at Ohio State?

Posted by: Steve | Aug 14, 2013 2:08:37 PM

Something tells me that if we replaced the words "President" and "Faculty" with "CEO" and "Employee", there wouldn't be too many quibbles about the time frame...after all, it would support the narrative and all that...

Just as a question, I wonder how much the rise of adjunct faculty members (i.e. the galley slaves of academe) impact those numbers...

Posted by: f1b0nacc1 | Aug 14, 2013 2:15:21 PM

Woody: maybe. However, when it's time for my daughter to consider college, you can bet that administrative salaries are one factor I'll consider before okaying an expense that will likely eat up a couple years worth of my income. And I'm not impressed with a school that charges 5+ times what I was charged in the late 80s and doesn't have much to show for it beyond a president who can buy and sell me many times over.

Posted by: Agoraphobic Plumber | Aug 14, 2013 2:20:49 PM

Woody, sorry, but while your former point may have some merit, your latter point is ridiculous. University reputations are made by its faculty. Which is closer to true for you: (1) you attended your university because of the college president or (2) you attended your university because of the quality of its faculty?

This post simply underscores that all those subsidies for Higher Ed are flowing into "non-productive" pockets....

Posted by: JABBER | Aug 14, 2013 2:26:15 PM

At the University of California, 3/4 of the total funding is associated with research grants and providing medical services, and only 1/4 is from tuition and the state. Therefore, 3/4 of the total UC funding was obtained by the faculty, and the President of the University only obtained 1/4 of it, and the state funding has declined by more than 50% per student over the last decade. If raises are to be based on how much money is brought in, then faculty deserve the largest raises and the President of UC deserves a severe pay cut.

Posted by: djb | Aug 14, 2013 2:34:48 PM

It is not quite peak to peak with regard to one of our most recent business cycles, but close. Perhaps 2000 to 2008 or 1991 to 2008 would have been a better selection.

Posted by: Art Deco | Aug 14, 2013 2:41:52 PM


If as increased pay for university presidents reflects better fundraising, why did gross tuition increase at almost the same rate? Shouldn't a higher-paid president's fundraising prowess offset the additional cost?

Posted by: kwo | Aug 14, 2013 2:46:26 PM

If it is a research university, faculty have a lot to do with pulling in funding, since funding comes with overhead. The overhead helps pay for the staff. Faculty, not the President, are the direct connection to students' (customers) experience. Students stay because of the faculty and/or the prestige of the faculty that increases the value of their degree.

Posted by: University Lab Manager | Aug 14, 2013 2:58:16 PM

In other words, university presidents are compensated like commission sales professionals.

Yeah, I think that explains a lot.

Posted by: ggraham412 | Aug 14, 2013 3:17:52 PM

If tuition has increased more than total expenditures, as this chart shows, a possible inference is that fundraising has been less successful than previously.

Posted by: Ron Wallenfang | Aug 14, 2013 6:34:04 PM

I'd like to see this chart with percent increase in administrative staff and their payroll. I don't think a president's salary alone accounts for the increase in costs.

Posted by: Tom R. | Aug 14, 2013 7:14:33 PM

I've tried to post a response to above questions three times, and the comment keeps disappearing. I'm not trying again. The world will just have to suffer.

Posted by: Woody | Aug 14, 2013 7:19:12 PM

As I say, fire the deans (and the presidents), and leave the faculty alone.

Posted by: michael livingston | Aug 15, 2013 2:18:04 AM

It mgiht be interesting to see "Presidential Average Total Compensation" vs "Faculty Average Total Compensation". Also the year set starting at 1999 is a bad point to start. It put the inital start date at the end of the Dot Com Boom.

Posted by: Ed | Aug 15, 2013 4:32:42 AM


Most fundraising goes toward new buildings, endowed chairs, and the like. Very little goes toward holding down tuition. Indeed, a lot of the money raised actually drives up costs at the university. That new building? The building may have been donated, but the potentially dozens of full-time staff to run the building were not.

It's all about building up the infrastructure.

Posted by: buzzardist | Aug 15, 2013 7:35:23 AM

Briefly, fund raising isn't conducted to reduce tuition. It is for upgrading and building modern campuses to attract a greater number of students. If a college president gets more students and gets them to pay higher tuition, then he is increasing revenue and his worth even more. Also, successful college football coaches make more than faculty, because they are in demand, increase "sales," and enhance the school's prestige. Undergraduate students typically choose schools with nice campuses, where their friends go, and, yes, that have successful sports programs. Unless a school has total losers in its faculty, it's not until the postgraduate level that faculty reputations become a major factor in selecting colleges to attend.

Posted by: Woody | Aug 15, 2013 8:11:01 AM