Budget 2010

February 18, 2009

Dear Clemson:

In my budget update to you this week I want to address some of the questions I’ve been receiving from faculty members and students about growth in administration and administrative salaries.  Some incomplete and misleading information has been circulated, so I would ask you to consider these facts:

Since adopting our academic Road Map, Clemson has pumped significant resources into hiring faculty and increasing faculty salaries so we could compete with the best universities in the nation for the best faculty.  This was, in fact, a key part of our strategy to reach top-20. From FY02 to FY08, we invested more than $12.7 million in new faculty positions and faculty raises beyond the state-mandated raises.  Between 2001 and 2008, we added 148 new faculty positions and 134 of them (91%) were instructional faculty.  The remaining 14 were in PSA.

At the level of associate dean and above, there were 46 administrators in 2001 and 59 in 2008.  Of those 13 new positions, the majority are in the colleges and were internal promotions.  New duties and the change from 9-month to 12-month employment led to appropriate salary increases.  New hires were generally brought in at market-level compensation.

A salary comparison with our Carnegie peer institutions shows that Clemson faculty salaries improved from 2000 to 2007, and are now at 106 percent of market ratio for full and assistant professors, and 104 percent for associate professors (with 100% being average).  Administrative salaries as a whole declined from 104 percent to 102 percent of market ratio for the same period.

Most of the perceived growth in administration is actually the result of reorganization. For example, two existing attorney positions (from PSA and Academic Affairs) were moved to the office of the General Counsel, who reports to me. The Office of Access and Equity now reports to the new Chief Diversity Officer, who also reports to me.  Only one new position was created. However, if you don’t study the data, it appears the President’s Office staff has grown.  Only one new position was created – the Chief Diversity Officer. Another example: College development officers were moved to the central Institutional Advancement division.  In preparation for our next capital campaign, 16 fundraisers were hired as “contract employees” and some of those contracts have not been renewed.

Where there has been growth in academic administration, it is primarily because we added new programs and services such as the Academic Success Center, which has helped our students retain their LIFE scholarships and improved retention and graduation rates.  Other new programs requiring administration are Creative Inquiry and the highly successful Bridge to Clemson program. Compliance with increasing state, federal and accreditation regulations can also require additional administrative staff.

The two most important points I would ask you to remember:

Our investments in improving faculty and administrative compensation were made during years when there was increased state funding and double-digit returns on our endowment.  Even if you are hearing about them right now, it would be incorrect and unfair to think these decisions were made after the economic downturn in Fall 2008.  In some cases, a delay in making administrative pay increases in 2007 resulted in reporting two years’ worth of changes as a single-year increase.

• Even with these investments, Clemson’s administrative overhead costs are far below peers in North Carolina and Georgia – in fact, they are 40% less than comparable costs at UNC and 23% less than at Georgia Tech.

In times of budget stress, I understand that administrative costs are subject to close scrutiny, and they should be.

On another topic, the budget task force chairs will meet with the budget strategies team on Friday and Monday of next week.  I will be able to give you a summary report on their recommendations in my next budget message. Thank you again for taking the time to read these messages and to communicate your questions and concerns to me.

Sincerely,
Jim Barker