Canned North Dakota Chancellor One Of The Highest Paid Higher Ed Administrators In America


It’s been almost a year since former North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani was pushed out of his job by a revolt of the university presidents, but you may be surprised to learn that Shirvani still managed to find himself one of the highest paid administrations in the higher education industry in the country.

The number of presidents at public universities making more than $1 million a year more than doubled to nine in the 2012-2013 school year as performance bonuses drove pay higher, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Public college presidents made on average $478,896 last year, up 5 percent from the year before, the publication found in a survey released yesterday. Base salaries rose 1 percent to $403,496. The gain in compensation comes as states have repeatedly cut aid, forcing universities to raise tuition and count more on fundraising, while requiring increased performance standards such as graduation rates to get funding. …

Gordon Gee, who retired last year after serving two terms as president of Ohio State University, topped the list with total compensation of $6.1 million. Gee, who courted controversy using school funds to pay for flights on private jets, left after making a derogatory remark about Catholics at Notre Dame University, for which he later apologized. He has since become head of West Virginia University. …

Gee’s appointment to West Virginia will save Ohio $4 million through June 2018, including a $410,000 a year base salary granted to Gee on his retirement, spokesman Gary Lewis said in an e-mail.

R. Bowen Loftin, the former president of Texas A&M University, was the second-highest paid at $1.6 million last year followed by Hamid Shirvani at the North Dakota University System, who was paid $1.3 million. Shirvani has also departed.

Shirvani’s annual salary was $349,000 plus benefits, Linda Donlin, a university spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. His compensation was higher because of the buyout of his three-year contract after less than a year.

Just to be clear, Shirvani was the third highest paid administrator in the country per the latest data available, but wasn’t even working for North Dakota.

North Dakota’s taxpayers and students have been paying Shirvani not to work for the state.

Under Shirvani’s buyout, he’ll continue to get paid through June 30th of 2015 (details of his buyout at the link).

To be clear, I don’t blame Shirvani for this, but rather the group of incompetents we have running the university system. The State Board of Higher Education negotiated his original contract. And when our pampered, arrogant university presidents threw a fit because Shirvani tried to make the university system run as a system instead of a confederacy of loosely associated fiefdoms, it was the State Board of Higher Eduation that negotiated Shirvani’s golden parachute.

This situation is a microcosm for the larger problems that plague the university system. It is so addled by bureaucratic territorialism and campus politics, that it is essentially ungovernable.

And that’s a shame, because these institutions certainly aren’t being run for the benefit of North Dakota and its students.