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Majority of Administrators Receive No Pay Raises, Survey Says

For the first time in nearly three decades, there has been no increase in the overall median base salary for senior-level administrators in higher education. It’s also anticipated many institutions will have no money to offer raises, fill vacant positions or hire additional staff next year.

These projections are based on a 2009-10 survey by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) of 1,280 schools. .

The survey shows two-thirds of the schools surveyed gave no salary increases in 2009  to those in senior-level positions such as chief financial officer, dean and provost; another two percent decreased salaries. In the previous three years, the median salaries for those same positions increased 4 percent.

“The economy has had a huge impact on higher education,” CUPA-HR President and CEO Andy Brantley told Diverse in a phone interview last week. “Many institutions have had to institute layoffs, furloughs and change benefits at their schools. Some schools are going to keep their hiring about the same or even less.”

Several states instituted no merit increases for faculty at colleges and universities. At the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 39 state-funded employees were laid off to help offset an estimated $1.6 million budget shortfall, said Rochelle Sanders, UMBC’s director of compensation and benefits.

At the University of Washington in Seattle, the school’s budget was cut by 26 percent, 850 jobs were eliminated and branch libraries and writing centers closed.

“We experienced the most extensive layoffs and elimination of jobs in decades,” said Randy West, associate director of compensation at UW, who added administrative staff did not receive raises last year. “We try and encourage administrators, managers and faculty to treat our staff with respect and tell them often how appreciated and valued they are. Saying ‘thank you’ goes a long way. We call that nonmonetary compensation.”

The survey asked comprehensive questions such as identifying the highest-paid deans to plans for future hiring. For instance, less than 1 percent of the schools said they would be authorized to “significantly” hire more employees next year.

Salaries in the survey were organized into 11 job categories: senior executive officers, chief functional officers, academic deans, academic associate/assistant deans, academic affairs, business and administrative affairs, human resources, information technology, athletics, student affairs and external affairs.

Although the majority of schools stated directors received no salary increases this year, several positions pay more than what was reported in last year’s survey. They include:

  • dean of medicine — median salary at $427,727 this year; $386,561 last year
  • vice provost — median salary at $152,114 this year; $148,833 last year
  • chief audit officer — median salary at $100,563 this year; $98,774 last year
  • associate director of athletics — median salary at $69,112 this year; $67, 487 last year 

Meanwhile, 36 percent of the 57,089 paired salaries from 2008-09 and 2009-10 highlighted a median increase of 3 percent.

Employees at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, were eligible for up to a 2.5 percent merit increase, said spokeswoman Lisa Albert. In a Jan. 21 letter to employees, TCU Chancellor Dr. Victor Boschini said the school’s work force over the past five years increased from 1,551 to 1,820. “TCU has remained steadfast in addressing compensation, keeping positions competitive in the market place,” he said.

Half of this year’s respondents are from public institutions and half are from private institutions, ranging from schools offering doctoral programs to community colleges.

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