5.8.05

TRYING TO HAVE IT BOTH WAYS? University Diaries notes the use of corporate compensation packages for ranking university administrators.
Yet our wealthy country, as the director of research for the American Association of University Professors points out to the [Washington] Post, increasingly compensates its university presidents “like private sector CEOs,” and CEOesque presidents in turn “often reflect their compensation in their management of the institution.”
That's not always appreciated by those being managed, as David at Inside Higher Ed observes.

John Curtis, director of research for the American Association of University Professors, said that as more presidents are compensated like private sector CEOs, the presidents often reflect their compensation in their management of the institution. Curtis pointed to AAUP’s “Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession,” and said that the rapid growth of presidential compensation has become a morale crusher for other staff and faculty members.

Andy Brantley, CEO of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, said benefits like country club memberships and car allowances often come standard in presidential contracts. He added that it is “important for universities to clearly define the purpose of a particular membership. Is it associated to business, or truly a perk?” He added that many presidents now have bonuses if certain fund raising goals are met.

And there's something else to consider. A CEO or board chairman who gets bounced by the board of directors usually doesn't return to the engineering department or the complaints desk. University presidents and deans hold tenure in academic departments, a survival of the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain era that is today being called into question as a wrongful backup job. Remember this?
With the continued division of labor in the academy, the ranks of administrators including presidents and provosts is being expanded by scholars whose research credentials are often modest.
And, if ranking administrators are to be compensated using corporate rather than academic pay scales, perhaps there is an equilibrium in which such administrators are subjected to comparable risks. Watch for the practice of tenuring administrators, particularly job-hoppers with scant academic credentials OR for the practice of paying corporate-level salaries to administrators with tenure in a department to be questioned; that is, IF legislatures and trustees are serious about restoring some integrity to the academy from the top down.

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