Editor’s note: This is part two of a series of seven articles examining faculty and staff salaries at Eastern.
Public employee salaries have recently been under fire with Illinois facing financial constraints, starting at the top with university presidents.
But university presidents say the amounts on their paychecks do not tell the entire story. Presidents serve as the public face of their institutions, and bear the responsibility of working with legislators concerning higher education, fundraising to offset budget woes and always being on the clock.
Michael Hogan, the president of University of Illinois, earns the most among state university presidents and Elaine Maimon from Governors State University makes the least. Eastern president Bill Perry’s salary sits right in the middle of the group at $275,834.
As of 2010, Hogan’s $620,000 salary is the fourth highest among the Big Ten schools. Hogan oversees Illinois’ $4.7 billion budget, nearly 77,000 students and more than 32,000 employees at the Champaign, Chicago and Springfield campuses. Hogan said he struggles trying to balance it all without the $800 million owed to public universities from the state.
“I didn’t take this job for the salary or because it was easy,” Hogan said. “In fact, I accepted this appointment because I knew that Illinois was a state confronting one of the worst budget situations in the nation, which was presenting enormous challenges for the University of Illinois.”
Higher Ed Legislation
Unlike other state university presidents, Hogan and SIU president Glenn Poshard run university systems. Making $320,376, Poshard oversees more than 34,000 students at the Carbondale and Edwardsville locations.
Presidents must also be vocal in debates concerning higher education legislation. Perry continues to be vocal in his support for legislation for university funding to be based on outcomes like retention and graduation rates.
Similarly, Poshard served in the Illinois Senate for five years and in the U.S. Congress for 10 years and spends a good portion of his time lobbying for higher education.
To combat the growing privatization of universities, institutions are relying more on private donations to stay afloat. With this, the role of the president as the chief fundraiser becomes paramount.
As the chief fundraiser, presidents often strive to set the example for donors. Maimon earns $245,000 per year. However, as part of pushing a fundraising effort, she and her husband have donated about $43,000 to the university during the past four years.
“Very early on, part of my job is to convince people to invest in the university,” Maimon said. “We believe we have to set the example.”
Always on call
Even when business hours are over, presidents are still on the clock.
Perry said stamina is always a struggle.”People talk about the allocation of time – when really, it’s the allocation of energy that is the issue,” Perry said. “Prioritizing is the hardest part to not let yourself get rundown. In my first year here, Ken Baker (director of campus recreation) gave me this advice – rest before you get tired.”
Al Goldfarb, president of Western Illinois University, earns $270,000. “Just because the clock strikes 5 p.m. doesn’t mean my day is over and I can go home,” Goldfarb said. “I am on call 24/7. Even when I do take a vacation, I still take phone calls, answer emails and make decisions, particularly if there are emergencies on campus.”
Sharon Hahs, president of Northeastern University, earns $261,000 and said attending events after business hours is what can make a big difference to the campus community.
A university’s performance also reflects on a president.
“My way of thinking is this, ‘What kind of job is the president doing?” Perry asked. “If the president is doing the right stuff by engaging in moving the university forward and students are succeeding, the salary becomes less of an issue.”
For example, Governors State will have 1,600 students graduate this year, the most in the university’s history.
“This is something I welcome,” Maimon said. “One of the key indicators of success is the percentage of students we graduate. We’re all working hard.”
Market Economy & Paying for the Experience
For each institution, the governor appoints a Board of Trustees to set the pay scale for administrators. However, Clarence Bowman, Illinois State University president, said factors that are often considered by the board are marketplace rates, which are subject to the laws of supply and demand.
“(The Board of Trustees) has a choice to pay market rates or pay some other amount,” Bowman said. “If you don’t pay market rates to presidents, the outcome will be exactly the same for institutions that underpay faculty.”
Bowman, who earns $360,000 per year, said the job requires a high level of skill that most people do not possess.
“It is very difficult to manage a large complex organization and very few people in the population have the skills necessary to do that job,” he said.
Why they do it
Goldfarb said if it were not for public higher education, he would not have the opportunities he has today.
“My parents were Holocaust survivors and immigrants,” Goldfarb said. “I worked in my parents’ candy store in Queens, New York, even when I attended Queens College. I was the first in my family to graduate from college.”
Despite the figures administrator salaries may reach, Perry said money is not the primary motivating factor.
“In my whole career, I’ve never done a job because of money,” Perry said. “I’ve always done what I’ve done in higher education because that’s where I felt led to be. I feel privileged to serve.”
Shelley Holmgren can be reached at 581-7942 or [email protected]
Michael Hogan, University of Illinois – $620,000
Clarence Bowman, Illinois State University – $360,000
John Peters, Northern Illinois University – $325,981
Glenn Poshard, Southern Illinois University – $320,376
Bill Perry, Eastern Illinois University – $275, 834
Al Goldfarb, Western Illinois University – $270,000
Sharon Hahs, Northeastern Illinois University – $261,000
Elaine Maimon, Governors State University – $245,000