NIU Administration: Too Top Heavy?

Over the past several decades, universities around the country have shifted resources toward excessive compensation for a burgeoning number of administrators. NIU is no exception. Here at NIU, “administrative bloat” is particularly severe among high-salaried administrators in the Provost’s Office.

   2010  2011  2012  2013 2014 
Number of Provost Office Administrators  26 30 32 29  35 
Provost Office Administrators with Salaries > $200,000  11  11 
Total Salaries of Provost Office Administrators  $4,416,150   $4,969,254    $5,527,962    $4,966,750  $5,943,732 

Data are from the NIU Working Papers. Graph measures base salary; administrators are often rewarded with additional compensation. For example, in 2014 VP and Provost Lisa Freeman received $203K in salary and $64K in additional pay.

The current president’s salary is more than six figures higher than the previous president’s pay for fiscal year 2013. We’ve also witnessed a slew of new vice presidents of this and that come on aboard while faculty wages and hiring have stagnated.

In addition to administrators, NIU is also paying high-priced consultants. The university paid Ron Walters an astonishing $460,000 for a year and a half of part-time consulting services. Whatever way you cut the numbers that comes to at least nearly double the base pay for the most generously compensated full professor at NIU! Meanwhile, the number of full-time tenure-track faculty at NIU has continued to fall—a drop that began well before the current decline in student enrollment. And, as many of you know, the faculty has not received any raises since longer than many of us can remember!

   2010 2011  2012  2013  2014 
Full Time Tenure-Track Faculty in Departments 732  714  709  663  643
Full Time No Rank and Other Faculty in Departments 570   611  615  641   625 
Student Enrollment  23,850 22,990 21,138 21,869 20,611

Data are from NIU’s 2014-2015 Data Book ( 2015 data were unavailable. A faculty union could request up-to-date figures as part of the collective bargaining process!

Real shared governance means that such changes should not take place without the faculty’s awareness and consent. If you want the NIU faculty to have an effective voice, consider joining the UFA. A faculty union could help redirect money to support the actual costs of instruction and student success, rather than bureaucratic largesse.

A bloated administration is reflective of larger trends in the higher education landscape as well as the decline of middle class in this country. We can organize a union of faculty members to bargain for our interests and a more equitable university. 

For more information, contact a faculty representative: