Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Management salary apologists need to work up some new material -- college edition

Raymond D. Cotton (a partner in the Mintz Levin law firm [who] represents higher education and other nonprofit boards of trustee and executives) assures us that college presidents deserve every penny of their generous salaries. I particularly enjoyed the third paragraph.
By and large, college presidents are not overpaid in relationship to their responsibilities and the compensation market place.

College presidents today act as chief executive officers of the institutions that they lead and serve. On a day-to-day basis, they often make decisions that affect every aspect of their organizations.

It is also important to keep in mind that presidents do not set their own compensation. Instead, their compensation packages are decided by the board of trustees, which is the highest legal authority in the institution. Such boards currently comprise many members from the corporate world, and they have brought certain business concepts with them, including performance bonuses.
I was tempted to go full snark here, but my better angels won out. I won't sarcastically point out that executive compensation in the corporate world at the very least borders on scandalous. Using this as a defense is laughably tone-deaf.

To put all of this in context, Paul Campos looks at academic salary trends.

Average salary for different categories of employees at the University of Michigan in 1979 and 2013:
1979: $34,017
2013: $32,214

Director of Athletics
1979: $173,274
2013: $850,000 base salary (Does not include $100,000 in deferred compensation, and a possible $200,000 bonus).

Full Professor
1979: $107,493
2013: $167,260

Associate Professor
1979: $77,153
2013: $114,071

Assistant Professor
1979: $61,119
2013: $100,048

Dean of the Law School:
1979: $169,075
2013: $420,000

Administrative Assistant/Secretary
1979: $45,985
2013: $43,078

1979: $216,000 salary (other compensation, if any, unknown, although it’s safe to assume use of the president’s house was included.)
2013: $603,357 base salary; $100,000 bonus in lieu of a raise; $100,000 additional annual retention bonus; $175,000 annual deferred compensation, $50,000 annual retirement pay, free use of residence and car.

1 comment:

  1. It's actually not a great feature that professor wages are up relative to support staff. That said, it isn't obvious that the low pay of the late 1970's resulted in terrible American universities.