It seems that the august academic aphorism “publish or perish” is in the process of being replaced by “publish and profit.” Why is this you might say? Well, take a look at our 25 Top-Paid Research University Leaders, a list of chief executives of major research universities, including medical schools that received the most funding from NIH, ranked by their total compensation for the most recent year such figures were available.
This year’s list has been expanded from last year’s edition through the inclusion of heads of medical schools in addition to the chief executives of universities or university systems. The change reflects the fact that several of the top 50 schools receiving NIH funding in FY 2012 were medical schools, whose leaders in some cases receive higher compensation than the presidents of their universities.
The expansion explains in part why unlike last year, no university leader within this year’s Top 25 list received compensation below $1 million. The million-plus range of salaries also excludes from the list several heads of public universities or university systems, where political outcry against high salaries, sometimes fanned by reports in general-interest news outlets, has led state governments to limit compensation, though the salaries and other pay awarded to public university leaders continues to rise.
Another consequence of the list expansion is the presence of fewer women this year (two) than last (four). Six additional women would have made the list had it been a Top 50—starting with Case Western Reserve University President Barbara R. Snyder, who just missed the cut at #26; and including University of Iowa President Sally Mason, Ph.D. (#28); University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, Ph.D. (#30); Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust, Ph.D. (#31); Boston University Medical Campus Provost Karen H. Antman, M.D. (#41); and Pamela B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (#42). Of the six, only President Snyder received total compensation totaling above $1 million, while only two (Drs. Mason and Coleman) headed a public university system.
Also this year, the amount of deferred compensation paid to each leader is footnoted and disclosed. That change followed a complaint from a university leader listed last year, who contended through a spokesperson that the additional information was pertinent and substantial background that should be shared with readers.