“Cracking the Nut,” Part 3

It may simply have been a coincidence, but the day on which President Hopkins announced that the university would no longer be hosting the first presidential debate, the Chronicle of Higher Education released its annual data on the taxable compensation received by public university presidents in the U.S.

On the list simply indicating total taxable compensation, Dr. Hopkins ranked 10th. These are the top 25:

Chart 1_Page_1 []

Chart 1_Page_2 []

On the list ranking the compensation of the public university presidents by the number of full-time students at their institutions whose tuition is required to pay their compensation, Dr. Hopkins also ranked 10th:

Chart 2_Page_1 []

Chart 2_Page_2 []

And on the list ranking the compensation of the public university presidents by the percentage of their institutional budgets required to pay their compensation, Dr. Hopkins ranked 11th (the dollar amount is the amount that their compensation represents out of every million dollars in the institutional budget):

Chart 3_Page_1 []

Chart 3_Page_2 []

Over the past several years, I have done a series of posts on the compensation of the presidents of Ohio’s public universities. In most years, those presidents have all ranked among the top 100 in the nation, and I have asked rhetorically what other rankings, of any kind, include all of Ohio’s public universities. I could ask something comparable with respect to the lists in this communication, but I am fairly certain that someone would counter that Dr. Hopkins’ compensation is in no way responsible for the current budget issues that his administration is attempting to address.

Perhaps. But there is a “trickle down” effect on salaries, in particular among the top tiers of university administration. In some later communications, we will focus more pointedly on that effect. But I will close this communication simply by pointing out that the state measures (see chart below) administrative overhead against course completions, and degree completions, administrative/student headcounts, and administrative/total expenditures, the results very much contradict the administrative assurances that we have addressed administrative bloat more effectively than many of the other public universities in Ohio.

Now, it is possible to rationalize our poor ranking on the first two measures by pointing to our being an “open-admissions” institution, but that does not explain our poor ranking on the third and fourth measures.

Chart 4 []



Author: martinkich

I am a Professor of English at Wright State University's Lake Campus, where I have been a faculty member for more than 25 years. I have now served multiple terms as the President of the WSU chapter of AAUP, which now includes all full-time instructional faculty, and as the Vice-President of the Ohio Conference of AAUP. I have also served several terms as an at-large member of the Executive Committee of AAUP's Collective Bargaining Congress. In addition to serving as co-editor of the Academe blog, I am also a member of the editorial board of Academe and have been a guest editor for an issue of the magazine on collective bargaining strategies. As co-chair of the Ohio Conference's Communication Committee, I began to do much more overtly political writing during the campaign to repeal Ohio's Senate Bill 5, which would have eliminated the right of faculty to be unionized. I have sustained that activism, and at the risk of stating the obvious, I have very much enjoyed contributing to the Academe Blog and to our chapter blog. I also maintain several other blogs to which I have re-posted, by topic, my posts to the Academe blog, as well as some other items.

4 thoughts on ““Cracking the Nut,” Part 3”

  1. I have nothing to comment or add on the compensation issue, but you brought up the ranking issue. Our national ranking is non existent (“ranking not published”) but engineering ranking of 137 is not terrible in http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/wright-state-9168 . Ranking here is also nothing to crow about: http://www.forbes.com/colleges/wright-state-university-main-campus/ .

    However, there are parts of our university that do world-class and highly ranked research. For example, see http://j.mp/Kimpact (with linked to ranking in one area of technology, World Wide Web). Perhaps highlighting similar areas (islands?) of excellence could help us improve our perception and presence in some way.


    1. I think that everyone acknowledges that quite a few of our programs have been regionally and nationally recognized and have brought very positive attention to the university. The rankings presented at the end of this post are something quite different, having to do with the fiscal management and priorities of the institution, though they do certainly do impact the ultimate quality of the programs that we offer.

      That said, we have received a few complaints that we are contributing to the negative press that the university has been receiving. Over the last two years, however, as the revelations attracting the negative press have accumulated, I have had many opportunities to comment in the press, and I have chosen for the most part to be restrained in what I have said–in large part because so much is still unresolved and ambiguous about the various investigations and the budget issues.

      But now that we are speaking out more aggressively, because we believe that the administration is focusing on making the largest budget reductions in the wrong places, we think that the question should be not whether we ought to be contributing to the negative press that the university has been receiving but, instead, when the university is going to start addressing those issues with more genuine transparency and a more balanced sense of our institutional priorities.


  2. Thank you for this series of articles. Thanks to you and your colleagues we are finally getting some information on this crisis of insane administrative overspending at WSU. I don’t think Hopkins is a bad guy but clearly he was asleep at the wheel to allow this to happen.


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