Presidents of three Maryland universities will receive raises of $75,000, $50,000 and $20,000 after a vote by the governing board of the state university system.
The Board of Regents voted Friday to award the three raises as recommended in a salary study by New York-based Sibson Consulting. The firm found Maryland's university presidents were paid below their peers, with University of Maryland, College Park President Wallace Loh's salary of $600,000 in the 43rd percentile. The board approved a $75,000 raise for Loh.
Representatives of faculty and students generally expressed support for the raises.
A.J. Pruitt, the president of the Student Government Association at the University of Maryland, College Park, said he believes Loh's performance justifies a salary increase, although he would like to see resources spread elsewhere on campus as well.
"There's no doubt in his tenure he has elevated the university's public profile and increased the value of our education," Pruitt said.
Pruitt said he looks forward to working with Loh and other officials on improving other areas of campus life, such as health care and counseling.
"We do need renewed focus on what the quality of life is for students," he said.
The pay increases come at a time when tuitions have increased and "salaries are at a static level for the rank and file," said Mike Lurie, spokesman for the university system.
"The board feels this action is in the long-term best interests of the university system of Maryland, ensuring its competitiveness and maintaining its excellence," he said.
David Falvey, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the College Park campus and a member of the University Senate, said Loh's pay is "pretty high, but for better or worse this seems to be very typical for presidents at large public research universities."
University System of Maryland Chancellor Robert Caret was the 22nd best compensated public college leader while he headed the Massachusetts state university system, according to data released by the Chronicle of Higher Education on Sunday.
Robert B. Kauffman, who chairs the Council of University System Faculty, said he supports the salary boosts for the presidents, saying that they need to be "market oriented" to attract quality leadership. Faculty salaries, by contrast, are dependent on legislative allocations.
"If Maryland wants to remain a leader in higher education and if Maryland wants to continue using higher education as an economic engine within the state, having quality presidents who move the agenda forward is important, said Kauffman, a professor of recreation and parks management at Frostburg State University. "If this means paying the presidents market value, it is important to do so for all concerned, including the faculty, students and the citizens of Maryland."
University of Maryland, University College President Javier Miyares earned a salary of about $360,500 and was awarded a $50,000 raise. Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach's salary of about $385,000 will increase by $20,000.
"To attract and retain this caliber of individual, including nationally recognized leaders, we must offer compensation packages that are competitive with what these individuals could earn in other states," board chairman James Brady said in a statement.
The study approved by the board will tie executive salaries to performance. Executives will have regular performance reviews against their annual goals, according to the university system.