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Chancellor wants higher raise for NDSU president; move reflects school's higher research status

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BISMARCK – A State Board of Higher Education committee will consider increasing North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani’s salary by 7.57 percent over the next two years, even though a consultant recently criticized the board for giving university presidents too much leeway.

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Interim Chancellor Larry Skogen recommended the increase based on NDSU’s ranking as an institution of “very high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, even though the college has held the title since 2011.

The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources lists $450,000 as the median salary for presidents at “very high” research institutions, such as NDSU, and Skogen is pushing for the second year in a row to raise the president’s salary to up to 80 percent of that amount.

“The whole concept is during the course of the next two years to get the president of NDSU salary back into a competitive range,” state board spokeswoman Linda Donlin said.

Pushing for an increase

At a meeting Tuesday, the SBHE Budget and Finance Committee will consider giving Bresciani a 4 percent raise of $13,369 for the coming year. University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley would receive a 3 percent raise of $10,508 because of UND’s lower “high research activity” rank. Skogen also recommended a 3.57 percent raise of $12,416 for the 2016 school year for Bresciani.

Bresciani received a 4 percent raise and Kelley received a 3 percent raise last year, even after former SBHE Chancellor Hamid Shirvani criticized both Kelley and Bresciani in June 2013 and recommended no raise for Kelley due to “poor leadership.”

Three weeks ago, consultant Tom Meredith with the California-based firm Penson Associates, said he was troubled by the actions of several unnamed university presidents and criticized the board for not holding them accountable for their actions.

But Donlin stressed the salary increase is meant to benefit NDSU as an institution, not Bresciani specifically.

NDSU has “very high research activity” because the school increased research and development expenditures, staff and awarded more doctorate degrees. The Carnegie website notes that this change in rank does not reflect the quality or importance of research done by an institution.

Kelley currently makes about $16,000 more than Bresciani, and even if the committee approves Skogen’s recommendations, Kelley would still make about $13,000 more than Bresciani in the coming year and their salaries would be almost equal in 2016.

Other business

The committee also will address Skogen’s proposal to spend $177 million on capital projects on campuses. UND would receive $62 million of that allocation for the completion of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Skogen’s proposal would eliminate $69 million in deferred maintenance, even though an external consultant indicated the facilities were in need of $800 million worth of repairs.

Skogen’s solution to the problem lies in asking the Legislature for more base funding.

Projected presidential salary increases for fiscal year 2015

University of North Dakota, Robert Kelley: $360,773, a 3 percent increase.

North Dakota State University, Dean Bresciani: $347,584, a 4 percent increase.

Dickinson State University, D.C. Coston: $217,824, a 3 percent increase.

North Dakota State College of Science, John Richman: $196,016, a 3 percent increase.

Mayville State University, Gary Hagen: $190,486, a 3 percent increase.

Williston State College, Raymond Nadolny: $183,299, a 5 percent increase.

Bismarck State College, David Clark (interim): $180,434, a 3 percent increase.

Lake Region State College, Douglas Darling: $168,920, a 3 percent increase.

President Steven Shirley of Minot State University and Interim President Margaret Dahl at Valley City State University will not receive raises because of their recent appointments to their positions.

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