By Melissa Blake

If “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” came to NIU, President John Peters and 80 other six-figure salaried employees would top the list.

But Peters is upset that “accomplished professors aren’t paid what they should be.”

Of the 80 top-paid employees, 13 are professors, including accountancy, finance, mathematics and physics professors. The majority of the six-figure positions are reserved for administrators and college deans, according to the fiscal year 2004 working papers.

The budget for fiscal year 2004 was about $188 million, said Eddie Williams, executive vice president of business and finance and chief of operations. This included both general revenue, which is appropriations from the state, and the income fund, which is primarily tuition.

About 85 percent, or almost $160 million, of NIU’s budget pays salaries, Peters said.

In the last 20 years, professors have lost ground with regard to salary, and NIU is working to improve salaries, Peters said. For example, when NIU receives an increase from the state, the funds are directed to salaries, he said.

“I will fight for pay increases [for professors] whenever I can,” Peters said. “I’m not in favor of decreasing salaries.”

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to award Peters a 3-percent pay increase in July and a 1-percent increase in January, the same increases previously awarded to faculty and staff, as reported in the Northern Star Friday.

Peters said more professors should make $100,000 or more.

On average, NIU’s full professors are paid $78,200; associate professors $59,500; assistant professors $51,000; and instructors $32,000, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education Web site.

NIU’s full professors are paid slightly more, $1,500, than their counterparts at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, a state school with an undergraduate enrollment of 16,366. SIUC’s full professors are paid an average of $76,700; associate professors $59,200; assistant professors $51,500; and instructors $36,000.

The number of people with the top salaries at NIU is pretty comparable to other schools, said Bob Albanese, associate vice president of Finance and Facilities.

“Overall, NIU is an efficiently run university,” he said.

Steve Cunningham, associate vice president for administration and human resources, said the level of pay is “not excessive.”

It is challenging to maintain competitive salaries at NIU based on the NIU’s resources, budget demands and increased enrollment, he said.

Sandra Flood, president of the NIU Instructors Union, said the faculty has been shorted since administrators have very high salaries. Instructors make $32,000 on average, she said. The union, which has 200 members, has “absolutely” fought for salary increases for instructors. In 1992, Flood made $16,000 as a full-time instructor; now, $30,000 is the minimum starting salary.

“The numbers of administrators and support staff have ballooned over the past few years,” Flood said. “The personnel dollars cannot keep up with the numbers, and the faculty have reduced in number and the work has increased.”

In general, professors do not make enough money for the work they do, communication instructor Dina Batlivala said. Part of the reason is because the job is not based on a 12-month work year. A lot of professors wind up supplementing their income with other jobs, she said. In addition to teaching at NIU, Batlivala does freelance writing and photography.

Officials try to look out for workers, and the university did not lay off employees during the budget crisis, Albanese said.

But Williams said NIU has to do a better job in compensating faculty and staff.

“In order to have quality programs, quality services and a great university, [a school] needs a quality faculty,” he said.