Goals Achieved, UL System Board Awards Pay Increases to System and University Presidents
Goals Achieved, UL System Board Awards Pay Increases to System and University Presidents - Jan 9, 2004
BATON ROUGE, La. – Successful accreditation efforts, stricter financial management and continued increases in faculty pay helped make the past year one of the most productive in recent history for the University of Louisiana System, members of its Board of Supervisors said today.
Citing these accomplishments and others, the Board gave favorable evaluations and awarded salary increases to its System and university presidents.
UL System Board Chair Mike Woods said the Board’s action brings UL System President Sally Clausen and the eight university presidents closer to the regional average of their peers and signifies the Board’s commitment to quality and accountability on its campuses.
"Our System graduates the majority of students in Louisiana and contributes about $2.5 billion to the local and state economies. The best way to continue the improvement at our universities is to reward good performance and maintain competitive salaries," Woods said. "You can’t have a good team without a good coach, and you can’t operate a successful university without a good president."
The UL System Board evaluates presidents and awards compensation based on strict performance criteria.
An ad hoc committee of the Board works with the System president to establish goals and then evaluates their accomplishment. Among Clausen’s 2002-03 goals were to ensure Grambling’s reaffirmation of SACS accreditation, to conduct institutional reviews of Grambling and Nicholls State University, to ensure unqualified financial audits for Grambling and UL Monroe, and to chair an open national search for a Nicholls president.
Clausen has not taken a pay raise since assuming the System presidency in July 2001. Although she received two favorable evaluations in that time, she rejected the Board’s offer of compensation, saying she was determined to accomplish all of her Board-approved goals before accepting an increase.
Citing that fact, along with Clausen’s performance and the need to make her salary more competitive with her peers, the Board awarded Clausen an 18.3 percent pay raise, bringing her annual salary to $201,347.
As UL System president, Clausen oversees a System that is among the 20 largest public systems in the United States, with about 81,000 students and about 4,000 faculty and staff.
Clausen’s pay is now 32 percent below her peers. After the pay increase, she still will be 20 percent behind.
"The Board has a policy designed to offer strong performance incentives to our presidents and to ensure that they are within 20 percent of their regional peers," Woods said. "According to that policy, Dr. Clausen’s pay is significantly out of line. In fact, even with this increase her salary and that of our university presidents are still below their regional counterparts."
In regard to university presidents, the Board approved a policy last year based on Board of Regents guidelines that ties presidents’ compensation to performance factors such as institutional characteristics (enrollment, budget size and SREB classification), faculty salaries compared to their SREB peers, leadership and performance (program accreditation, retention rates, graduation rates, audit results and achievement of stated goals).
Based on the evaluations, the Board awarded university presidents an average increase of 8.8 percent (ranging from 4.3 to 14.2 percent), bringing their average pay to $174,826.
Gordon Pugh, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Performance/Compensation of System President, reported the results of Clausen’s evaluation to the Board. Pugh, who also served as Board Chair during Dr. Clausen’s tenure, said the committee has twice offered Clausen salary increases but respected her commitment to achieve her goals. Now, with Grambling’s accreditation secure, Clausen has accomplished all of her finite goals and made significant progress on the ongoing objectives, he said.
"Since she took over as System president in 2001, Dr. Clausen has guided our universities through some of the most critical challenges they have ever faced, and she did so with courage and grace. We are fortunate to have the benefit of her leadership," Pugh said. "If we don’t reward her it sends the message that we don’t have confidence in her. And goodness knows we do."
Woods said, "If she were a football coach, she would be the highest paid coach in the country."
Governor Mike Foster commended Clausen’s work on behalf of Grambling and UL Monroe, in particular. "The UL Board hired Dr. Clausen specifically to save those universities. Under her leadership, that purpose has been achieved. I’m proud of her."
One of the System’s major initiatives under Clausen has been a steady increase in faculty pay, and that emphasis is reflected in the university presidents’ performance criteria. According to the policy, presidents’ salaries cannot be closer to their peers than their faculty is to its respective peers. With the pay increase, presidents’ salaries will be an average of 9.3 percent behind their peers regionally, whereas faculty members are about 5 percent below their peers, on average.
At December’s Board meeting, Higher Education Commissioner Joseph E. Savoie commended Clausen, the UL System Board and university presidents for their dedication to the effort.
"I’ve had the opportunity to look closely at the workings of many postsecondary systems across the nation, and I continue to be impressed with the University of Louisiana System’s progressive philosophy and emphasis on accountability and performance," Savoie said. "Dr. Clausen has done and continues to do an exemplary job, and Louisiana education is improving at all levels as a result."
The eight UL System universities are Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Note: Charts containing information about individual president salaries and Clausen’s goals are available on the UL System website at www.ulsystem.net.
FOR MORE INFORMATIONContact: Cami Geisman
225.219.0270 | Cami.Geisman@la.gov