Salary increase

By Elizabeth M. Behland

In an attempt to keep NIU’s staff nationally competitive, university administrators would like to increase their salaries to at least equal the national median.

Compared to national median salaries for the 1988-89 academic year, institutions comparable to NIU pay administrators in similar positions more than they receive at NIU.

The total average salaries of most NIU administrators is about .3 percent below the national median.

NIU President John LaTourette’s salary, at about 25 percent below the national median, is the largest negative difference. LaTourette’s annual salary is $97,500.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the national median for chief executive of a single institution offering doctoral degrees is $122,000.

NIU salaries historically have “lagged behind” the median of comparable institutions, LaTourette said.

“I think what (NIU salaries compared to that of other institutions) shows is, by and large, we have the same pattern as last year. Administrators’ salaries (at NIU) are less than comparable institutions.”

NIU’s administration is attempting to “improve our whole salary structure because we are losing so much of our faculty—and the same is true for the administration,” he said. If NIU’s salaries are not competitive with similar institutions, NIU will begin to lose administrators as well as faculty, he said.

NIU Provost Kendall Baker said before NIU administrators examine the problems with administrative salaries, low salaries of faculty, staff and students should be addressed.

“Paying competitive salaries (to NIU administrators) is absolutely essential, but if you’re going to achieve it, it will be at the expense of other priorities,” Baker said.

Addressing salary problems for faculty, staff and students before considering a raise for administrators is “not to say that administrators are not underpaid,” Baker said.

“It shouldn’t be surprising that administrators are underpaid at an institution where faculty and staff are underpaid,” he said.

Though LaTourette said the majority of NIU administrative salaries are too low, there are some exceptions to the salary comparisons. Some administrators make as much as 29 percent more than the national median.

LaTourette said, “The only exceptions (to the low administrative salary comparisons) are people who have been around for long periods of time and new hires.”

Administrators that have been at NIU for many years or have gained long-term experience elsewhere, make more than the national median because they have earned the additional amount, he said.

People who have been recently hired are closer to or above the national median because NIU has to offer prospective employees competitive salaries in order to attract them to NIU, LaTourette said.

The average 8.5 percent salary increases that NIU faculty and staff received this academic year did not make NIU’s salaries closer to the national median but did keep the salaries at about the same level as the 1987-88 academic year, LaTourette said.

NIU is developing a plan to adjust faculty salaries, and LaTourette said he wants to keep administrative salaries “proportional with the faculty to provide a sense of equity.”

Baker said that if a plan is developed to increase administrators’ salaries, funds would come from the state or existing NIU resources.