The state Board of Higher Education has approved higher salary ranges for the state university system chancellor and college presidents. The board’s faculty adviser says the focus should now shift to teacher salaries.
Richie Smith of Wahpeton was the only board member to vote against the proposal. He said the ranges are not equitable because some of the two-year schools have more students, employees and programs than some of the four-year schools.
“The numbers don’t lie,” Smith said at Thursday’s board meeting.
The plan sets the range of college presidents’ salaries from $275,000 to $325,000 at North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota; from $165,000 to $195,000 at Minot State University; from $150,000 to $185,000 at other four-year schools; and from $130,000 to $165,000 at two-year colleges.
The chancellor’s salary range would run from $205,000 to $260,000. The current base salary for that job is $170,000.
NDSU professor Thomas Barnhart, the faculty adviser to the board, said he was happy the salaries of administrators were placed on the front burner. Faculty salaries have “got to get onto a burner some place,” he said.
“Low salary continues to be the reason faculty leave the system,” Barnhart said. “I would like for the system and the board to have a plan in place to address that.”
The salary schedule for presidents is based on comparisons with schools in other states. Those so-called peer institutions were selected from a national classification system.
“I think it’s the best model we’ve come up with so far,” board member Pam Kostelecky said.
“Is it the most perfect? There isn’t a most perfect,” board member Sue Andrews said.
Smith believes that Minot State, Dickinson State, Bismarck State College and the North Dakota State College of Science should be grouped together based on total students, resident students, budget, the size of the campuses, accredited programs and employees.
“It’s just not fair. It’s not equitable,” Smith said of the plan approved Thursday.
Barnhart balked at a suggestion by Vice Chancellor Michel Hillman that the faculty salaries should be handled by the board’s committee on employment compensation.
“We need a special committee to address this issue,” Barnhart said. “I guess we could take a faculty vote if that’s you want.
“We’ve been reporting the same information year after year after year” to the compensation committee, he said.
Barnhart said North Dakota ranks 51st and last in the country in faculty salaries.
“He’s absolutely right,” Smith said after the meeting. “It would be nice to at least be 40-something. It is a little bit embarrassing.”
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