In connection with the Chronicle’s Executive Compensation supplement, Sandy Ungar of Goucher College and I just appeared on NPR–and we agreed on most things. Sandy for instance described faculty compensation as “appalling,” and concurred regarding our over-reliance on contingent appointments. I argued that we needed to rebuild our crumbling faculty infrastructure, and that presidents should be held responsible for staffing arrangements that lead to scandalously low graduation rates.
Excerpted from my piece, Asking Whether Presidents are Overpaid is the Wrong Question:
Using one form or another of peer comparison, many administrators can easily show that they should earn 20 or 30 percent more than their current salary. But that relatively modest underpayment pales beside the perennial exploitation of adjunct faculty members. At least 70 percent of today’s faculty members serve contingently, and those who serve part-time at community colleges can teach eight or 10 courses a year for less than $20,000, without health or retirement benefits. Faculty members in such conditions can easily argue that they should earn 200 percent to 300 percent of their current salaries, suggesting an underpayment 10 times as extreme as that of most administrators….. Tying executives’ pay ceilings to workers’ salary floor is an internationally established principle of fairness. In private enterprise, recent events have renewed calls to limit the executive multiple to 25 (a figure that the late management guru Peter Drucker once proposed). Typically the multiples for nonprofit groups’ executives are much lower: Military and civil-service pay scales are long-established examples of fairness. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff earns only about five times what any college-educated commissioned officer earns. Most state governors are paid less than five times what their college-educated employees earn.
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