After system officials expressed concern over salaries at competing universities, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved a new policy to increase the salary ranges for top System administrators and campus leaders.
The policy will allow the new UW System president to receive as much as $600,000, and will increase midrange salaries by 17.5 percent.
System president Kevin Reilly’s successor will likely see up to a 25 percent increase in pay, allowing for a potential salary between $399,000 and $598,000, the proposal said.
Outgoing UW Provost Paul DeLuca will also see up to a 39 percent increase, ranging from nearly $300,000 to $443,053, according to the proposal.
The proposal also said the pay ranges must be adjusted to account for salaries at competing universities that are able to attract high-qualified faculty because of their higher salaries.
David Giroux, UW System spokesman, said actual salaries would not be updated individually, but pay ranges would be.
“We are going to make sure that we update these ranges, not the actual salaries, but the ranges every two years with real market comparisons,” Giroux said. “We [want to] make sure that the salary ranges are broad enough, higher and lower than they used to be, so that we have flexibility to account individual circumstances.”
Giroux added the policy will not directly lead to higher tuition fees for UW System students.
On average, UW-Madison faculty salaries are between 18 and 20 percent lower than salaries at peer universities, Giroux added.
Future plans to raise pay ranges for the faculty would not be addressed by the regents because each university’s chancellor makes decisions on faculty and staff salaries, Giroux said.
Mike Mikalsen, spokesperson for Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, chair of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, said the Board of Regent is approaching the pay issue wrong, as they are starting with administrators rather than faculty.
According to Mikalsen, October’s Board of Regents agenda is an example of horrible communication the UW system has with the legislature.
“The regents need to reach out to both the legislature and the public,” Mikalsen said. “The regents should set a new direction. They need to discuss and talk about the needs of the working staff first before they worry about higher-level administrators. ”
Despite the criticism on raising the pay ranges for administrators, Giroux said that it is the Board of Regents’ obligation to adjust salaries and since it has been years since the salary ranges were adjusted, administrators’ salaries are being addressed now.
In addition to approving the policy change, Giroux said the regents will also vote to create a transparent procedure in addressing its finances at each university.
The Legislature previously ordered the board to create a transparent procedure after nearly $650 million was found in reserve funds, largely generated through increased tuition rates.
The regents will also vote on a transparency procedure, as the legislature has required them to do by 2014, Giroux said.