In the world of salary amounts at Miami University, not all academic departments are created equal.
Miami’s 2010 salary roster, a public document accessible at King Library, shows there is a difference in the amounts of money different department chairs receive across the academic spectrum. Department chairs are funded by a combination of their salaries, stipends and additional supplements, according to Janet Cox, assistant provost for personnel.
“Stipends are flat amounts of additional salary that are based on the number of faculty in a department,” Cox said. “It is an additional salary because of the responsibilities that go along with having that academic administrator appointment.”
According to Cox, supplements are another add on to a department chair’s total salary, which are determined by adding on an additional percentage of the chair’s salary excluding the stipend amount.
Cox said supplements are beneficial because they rise proportionally with pay rates while stipends remain at a flat, fixed amount.
“At some point in the past it was recognized that the stipends were really not significant amounts to compensate chairs for all that they do,” Cox said. “We acknowledge that chairs’ administrative responsibilities are extremely complex by having (that) additional add on to their salaries.”
Instead of raising stipend amounts, which Cox pointed out could cause problems later if a department chair stepped down, the university instituted the supplement system for its department chairs. Cox said it would be better for the university to remove supplemental money compared to cutting salaries for department chairs once they went back to being faculty members.
“A chair may eventually go back to faculty, and their salaries would be exponentially larger,” Cox said. “We don’t want to cut salaries. We want to maintain the continuity of faculty base salaries.”
According to the 2010 salary roster, most chair stipend and supplements usually add approximately $2,500 to $15,000 to a chair’s salary.
Patti Newberry, lecturer in the department of journalism, was not surprised at the discrepancy between different departments.
“It’s not unusual for someone in the theatre program to make far less than someone in marketing,” Newberry said. “One of the things Miami has been trying to do in recent years is have named professor positions, so the business school is probably the most successful in that.”
According to Newberry, a named professor position comes with an extra endowment. Professors can earn these positions when the university recognizes significant accomplishments he or she has made to teaching.
“You have (the) Ernst and Young (position),” Newberry said. “Another professor gets the Arthur Anderson Alumni professor spot, so it’s not just chairs who can pick up an extra pot of money.”
According to Cox, there are some upper-level academic administrators who are not department chairs but are also eligible to receive stipends.
Junior Heather Boddy, a theatre major, said she was not thrilled at the difference in how much her department chair makes compared to how much higher prioritized department chairs receive.
“I don’t like it one bit,” Boddy said. “Ours does the same amount of work and puts forth the same effort in getting her department the way she wants it.”
Boddy said she understood why the system is organized the way it is.
“It is understandable because a business department chair might bring in more money for Miami or more students,” Boddy said.