The Journal analyzed 2010 salary data from university tax filings to compare the pay of Webster University officials to those at similar colleges. Because 2011 compensation data has yet to be released by all private colleges, the graphics use data from 2010.
Patrick Giblin, Webster University’s spokesperson, said when the university conducted an employee compensation study, it showed “some employees were at risk of literally being offered higher paying jobs at other locations.” The at-risk compensation is used to entice administrators to stay with the university. Giblin said the university would try to match administrative pay to average compensation figures at similar institutions.
Giblin said that the employee compensation study, called the Mercer Compensation Study, identified administrative pay for Webster University employees was below the industry average. According to tax filings, the Board of Trustees engaged Mercer Consulting in 2010 to “recommend appropriate benchmarking of executive compensation and benefits to be competitive and equitable with the market.”
“This is talent that we are trying to keep here,” Giblin said.
The administrators and positions listed are from the 2010 calendar year. Their positions and roles may have changed with their respective universities since then. The Journal could not verify that all administrators share the same responsibilities, nor that they served the same amount of time. The comparisons are based on the similarity in title and description of position.
The Journal used data from the Chronicle of Higher Education to determine if colleges were similar or not. Below the charts is an explanation from the Chronicle’s website of how colleges were found to be ‘similar’.
President: Webster University vs. Similar Colleges (2010)
Top Finance Officer: Webster University vs. Similar Colleges (2010)
Provost, Top Academic Affairs Officer and Senior Vice President: Webster University vs. Similar Colleges (2010)
Top Fundraising Officer: Webster University vs. Similar Colleges (2010)
Top Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Officer: Webster University vs. Similar Colleges (2010)
Dean: Webster University vs. Similar Colleges (2010)
Top Information Technology Officer: Webster University vs. Similar Colleges (2010)
Sources: 2010 990 Form filings for the university’s listed in the charts and tables above
The Chronicle determined ‘similar colleges’ with “an algorithm that includes such factors as enrollment size, percentage of students receiving Pell Grants, percentage of the student body considered to be on track to graduate, admission rate, Carnegie type, religious affiliation, whether the institution is a historically black college, and SAT scores of the incoming class.”
However, the Chronicle’s algorithm compared President Elizabeth Stroble’s pay to the pay of:
• Sister Andrea J. Lee of St. Catherine University
• Brother Ronald Gallagher of Saint Mary’s College of California
• Rev. Robert L. Niehoff of John Carroll University
As well as being chief executives at Catholic universities, these three individuals are also clergymen/religious persons, and thus have taken a vow of poverty. Gallagher and Niehoff did not receive any form of payment from their respective colleges in 2010. Lee only received a total of $28,350 in pay for 2010.
The Journal believed these individuals’ lack of pay skewed the pay averages. The Journal also felt it would be unfair to compare Stroble to a chief executive who had taken a vow of poverty. The Journal substituted the St. Catherine University, Saint Mary’s College of California and John Carroll University for three similar colleges. These three substitutes were:
• Le Moyne College
• Arcadia University
• Spring Arbor University
Le Moyne College and Arcadia University were on the ‘similar colleges’ list for Hamline University. Spring Arbor University was on the ‘similar colleges’ list for St. John Fisher College. Both Hamline and St. John Fischer were on Webster’s ‘similar colleges’ list.
The IRS requires non-profit institutions like Webster University to report the compensation of:
• Current officers, directors, and trustees (no minimum compensation threshold).
• Current key employees (with more than $150,000 of reportable compensation).
• Current five highest compensated employees other than officers, directors, trustees, or listed key employees (with more than $100,000 of reportable compensation).
• Former officers, key employees, and highest compensated employees (with more than $100,000 of reportable compensation, with special rules for former highest compensated employees).