State Relations

May 5, 2008

Wisconsin’s Take on Losing Bruce Shepard to Western

Lots of news in the local paper’s recently about university presidential compensation which I’m sure most of you have read by now.

Here’s another story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that looks at presidential compensation from the viewpoint of a state that’s beginning to think it might have become a farm team for training everyone else’s university leaders.

Bruce Shepard, the new incoming president at Western Washington University is getting a salary bump of more than 55% from what he was being paid at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, leading some in America’s Dairyland to wonder if the state should be doing more financially to retain it’s top higher education leaders.  The story points out that Shepard is the third Wisconsin system chancellor to leave this year for a higher paying position at another school outside the state.  Shepard himself is quoted as saying “We end up running a farm club for executive leadership.”

A number of other Wisconsin higher education leaders are leaving for reason’s having little to do with compensation, but the article also points out that the state perhaps does not value higher education the way it once did and that faculty salaries at Wisconsin colleges and universities also lag significantly behind their peer schools nationally.