ND chancellor, college presidents get pay bumps

Associated Press

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Board of Higher Education on Thursday approved annual pay rises for its college presidents that ranged from 2 percent to 6 percent, with the presidents of North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota both getting increases of more than $12,000.

Chancellor William Goetz recommended the salary increases, using performance evaluations of each of the 10 presidents, a salary range based upon the type of school each president ran, and each one's distance from the middle of the salary range.

Robert Kelley, president of the University of North Dakota, got a 4 percent pay increase. Kelley's new annual salary of $330,158 annually makes him the highest-paid chief executive of all of North Dakota's public colleges.

Dean Bresciani, president of North Dakota State University, was also given a 4 percent raise, to $312,000.

"I appreciate that by North Dakota standards, it is a very good compensation level," Bresciani said in an interview. "By national standards, and a sense of being able to compete and get quality people in the position, the pay scale and benefits here are actually incredibly modest."

Bresciani called NDSU "an environment I enjoy, and a challenge that I'm very excited by."

Goetz, who has announced he will retire in August 2012, was given a 3 percent raise. He will be paid $220,132 annually during the 2011-12 school year. The pay raises take effect in July.

During the 2011 Legislature, North Dakota lawmakers set aside enough money to give 3 percent raises to state workers this year and next. Some of the money is earmarked for the state employees' pension fund, which has been struggling to get back on track after suffering huge losses.

Among the presidents at North Dakota's four other four-year schools, Minot State President David Fuller was given a 6 percent raise, to $200,522; Valley City State's Steve Shirley had his salary increase by 5 percent, to $173,915; Richard McCallum, president of Dickinson State University, got a 2 percent boost, to $176,782; and Gary Hagen, president of Mayville State University, will get $171,001 next year, an increase of 4 percent.

Larry Skogen at Bismarck State College and John Richman at the North Dakota State College of Science at Wahpeton are the highest-paid among the presidents of North Dakota's two-year colleges. Both got 3.5 percent raises and will be paid $179,382 during the next academic year.

Mike Bower, president of Lake Region State College at Devils Lake, was given a 3 percent raise, to $163,492, while Williston State College President Ray Nadolny received a 3.5 percent increase, which will bring his next year's salary to $158,355.

Four of North Dakota's five two-year colleges have presidents. The fifth, Dakota College at Bottineau, is part of Minot State University and is led by the campus dean, Ken Grosz. Grosz's salary is not set by the board.

Board member Duaine Espegard, who is beginning a year's term as the board's vice president under President Grant Shaft, said the pay raises were justified.

"We have, without exception, strong presidents," Espegard said. "Every one of them, I think, are doing a good job. They have challenging jobs, and a lot of them have had to come in and make some changes, and a lot of times you hear about a little disgruntlement. ... There are times they have to make unpopular decisions."