Policy puts NDSU, UND presidents in line for steep pay rise

BISMARCK N.D.

The presidents of North Dakota’s two largest universities would be paid at least $300,000 annually under new salary guidelines the Board of Higher Education is preparing to approve. The sum would represent a raise of at least 42 percent.

The salary ranges, offered by William Goetz, the new chancellor of North Dakota’s university system, also suggest pay increases for seven of the system’s eight remaining presidents, all of whom make six-figure salaries.

The exception is Lee Vickers, president of Dickinson State University, who is retiring at year’s end. Vickers’ $157,915 annual salary is barely within a suggested range of $155,000 to $175,000 for the presidents of Dickinson State, Valley City State and Mayville State universities.

Goetz and Laura Glatt, the university system’s vice chancellor for administrative affairs, said the pay ranges were compiled using salary information from comparable schools across the country.

A three-member Board of Higher Education subcommittee endorsed the proposals on Tuesday. The full board will take them up Thursday, when its members meet at Minot State University.

“I think this is a really good package,” said board member Sue Andrews, who was chairwoman of the board’s compensation subcommittee.

Board members Jon Backes and John Q. Paulsen, who is president of the board, also served on the subcommittee.

UND President Charles Kupchella and Joseph Chapman, president of North Dakota State University, have state salaries of $211,686 annually. The proposed new salary range for both jobs is $300,000 to $325,000.

Both men now get added compensation from foundations at their respective schools, which has increased Kupchella’s current annual compensation to $261,000, and Chapman’s to $361,000.

The Board of Higher Education’s proposed new salary policy does not count on foundation contributions, although it says they must be disclosed to the board and paid through the university system.

Tim O’Keefe, executive vice president of the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, said the foundation guaranteed Kupchella $50,000 in deferred salary for this year and last. The $100,000 will be paid to Kupchella in a lump sum if he serves as UND’s president through Dec. 31. He is scheduled to retire early next year.

O’Keefe said he welcomed the board’s willingness to increase the presidents’ salaries. “The price of leadership has gone up everywhere,” he said.

“This is what our board has hoped for all along,” O’Keefe said Tuesday. “If this passes, the state is, in fact, going to step forward, and they are going to provide market pay to their presidents, and not require a supplement from the foundations.”

The changes are part of an overhaul of compensation policy for the university system’s top executives. The revised policy requires the disclosure of added compensation and includes a formula for paying dismissal buyouts and a halt to the board’s practice of giving perpetual three-year contracts to some presidents.

Lump-sum stipends paid to college presidents for business use of their vehicles will be phased out, the new policy says. Incumbent presidents will continue getting the $11,000 annual payments, but their successors will not be offered similar benefits.

Housing allowances no longer will be offered to newly hired presidents of North Dakota’s two-year colleges, according to the new policy. Bismarck State College President Larry Skogen now gets a $10,000 housing allowance while the presidents of Lake Region State and Williston State, Sharon Etemad and Joseph McCann, get $20,000 each.

The allowances will continue for the presidents of North Dakota’s five four-year colleges. Compensation research disclosed that housing allowances for presidents are common at four-year schools, and relatively rare at two-year institutions, Glatt said.

The presidents of UND, NDSU and Dickinson State are provided houses on campus, and do not get allowances.

– Associated Press



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