Sunday, May 04, 2008

Compensation Problems at UW System?

Predictably, the JS runs a story about "low salaries" in the UW-System. It's 'predictable' because it's the season for switching jobs.

(The JS article doesn't mention that there are 50+ prospects/candidates for the UW-Madison Chancellor position--it might sorta kinda ruin the meme.)

Further, the article's main argument is undermined by the article's examples.

Let's start with the UWGB chancellor, Mr. Shepard. He left, referrring to the UW System as a "farm club" for other states' colleges.

He was No.2 at Eastern Oregon University when UW-Green Bay recruited him in 2001. It wasn't long before search firms started contacting him about open presidencies. He resisted.
But then Western Washington University called Shepard, 61, and offered a 55% pay raise, from $210,000 to $325,000

S'pose Shepard referred to Eastern Oregon as a "farm club" for the UW-system when he left there?

And is it possible that Shepard's West Coast background had ANYTHING to do with returning to the West Coast?

Finally, by the way, there are a helluvalotta pertinent facts missing from this description--like, for example, the relative sizes of the budgets, faculty members, student numbers, etc. Those comparisons should be significant in determining compensation levels, right?

Finally: when there is THAT large a difference between current earnings and the offer, you can bet that there's something seriously wrong with the hiring company's comp-schedule. That's simply not a "real-world" example.

Well, maybe that was a bad example, eh?

It wasn't the ONLY bad example.

--Saunders left Whitewater to lead her alma mater. Her compensation jumped $100,000, but she said that even if Whitewater had offered to match her package at Southern Mississippi, "I would have still said no."


UW-River Falls Chancellor Don Betz is leaving after three years to head Northeastern State University's Tahlequah campus. His base pay of $210,000 is a 9% raise, but because he worked for 23 years at NSU, he will get an estimated $151,200 per year in retirement pay, said Sheridan McCaffree, executive director of the Regional University System of Oklahoma.


Even the UW System Chancellor thinks the "underpaid" meme is......ah.....faulty:

...Wiley agrees most chancellors in the system are underpaid, he says he was adequately compensated. He also said the national market for chancellor salaries has been unjustifiably inflated by search firms that have a vested interest in boosting pay because they get a cut of it.

Only an idiot, by the way, lets the search firm determine salary...

Summarily: there's a lot less to this story than the headline tells you.

What to do (if anything?)

I'd take a serious look at reducing the number of UW-System campi, then re-allocating salary dollars to the remaining schools.

1 comment:

RAG said...

And then we have young state prosecutors trying to make it on $46K with six-figure law school debt. They have doctorate degrees, so maybe THEY should be paid like UW faculty! Don't think you'd hear any of these folks who are quitting in drove complain if they were.