Caitlin Varley

The Miami University board of trustees voted Dec. 7 to extend the contract of President David Hodge, increasing his annual salary from $340,000 to $380,000.

According to Richard Smucker, chairman of the board of trustees, Hodge’s original contract was for three years and set to end in July 2008. The new contract lengthens his stay at Miami through June 2013.

Smucker said that the trustees raised Hodge’s salary to be competitive and compatible with what other university presidents are currently making. He said the board performed a detailed survey of presidential salaries at all of the universities in Ohio and other universities that are comparable to Miami in terms of reputation and quality.

“The package that we put together for (Hodge) was competitive, but within reasonable guidelines,” Smucker said.

Smucker said that presidential salaries are increasing because universities need quality leaders and the challenge to keep them in educational environments is greater today than ever before.

“We have to compete with businesses and other institutions so the competition is getting tougher,” Smucker said.

Smucker said the main reason the board decided to extend Hodge’s contract is because they think he is a fit for Miami, its history and heritage.

“We see that his vision is exactly what the university needs for the future,” Smucker said.

Smucker added that since Hodge only had 18 months left on his original contract, the board wanted to make sure that he would remain at Miami.

Hodge said that he and his wife came to Miami with the expectation that this would be their last job before retiring.

Valerie Hodge, university ambassador, said the Hodges were convinced that the initial reasons they came to Miami still held true and they could continue to work toward improving the university. Valerie Hodge has an annual contract at Miami, but has made a verbal promise not to leave as long as her husband is at Miami.

President Hodge said he is pleased with the new contract.

“I love Miami,” Hodge said. “I think we can help do good things here.”

Smucker said that the board of trustees is completely pleased with what the Hodges have done so far, adding that the couple really is a team.

“We kind of feel like we won the lottery when (Hodge) joined us,” Smucker said.

Hodge said that over the next five years he intends to raise the energy, aspiration and success levels at Miami.

“Our No. 1 goal is to go from being a very fine university to being extraordinary (and) to . . . be viewed as among the very, very finest undergraduate experiences in the country,” Hodge said.

Smucker said that Hodge has put together a strategic plan that needs leadership and guidance to be successfully implemented.

“The first major thing that (the board wants) him to accomplish is the strategic plan that he’s laid out,” Smucker said.

Hodge introduced his five-year strategic goals for Miami at his Annual Address last September. These goals include improving Miami’s undergraduate experience, having excellence in graduate programs, spurring faculty research that could improve classroom experience, making Miami a more desirable employer for faculty and staff and increasing the number of donations, among others.

Smucker also said that Hodge has been a leader in terms of bringing interest to Miami to fund university activities-including grants and alumni contributions.

“I think that his strength and leadership in that area is going to be very important to the future of Miami University,” Smucker said.

Hodge’s new contract rewards him with deferred compensation and performance bonuses.

According to Smucker, part of the compensation package has an element of bonuses that are tied to specific goals that the university wants to accomplish, relating back to the strategic plan. Smucker added that the bonuses would range from zero to a modest percentage of his salary, depending on what goals Hodge achieves.

“So if those goals are accomplished, then (Hodge) will be rewarded,” Smucker said.

Hodge said that his new contract has incentives to stay, so if he stays for the entire length of his contract he receives more compensation. He added this is standard for university presidents.

“They wanted to reward me for staying and for doing a good job,” Hodge said.

Junior Tristan Chan said that Hodge has been a great change for the university.

“I think he’s been more active, has taken more of an interest for the students and has just seemed more willing to work towards bettering the university,” Chan said. “By him being . . . a part of the community, he’s more susceptible to knowing what (students) need and what needs to be changed.”