Archive for Monday, May 21, 2012

Heard on the Hill: KU chancellor’s salary ranks 77th among public universities nationally; dino-dolphins got the bends, too; pharmacy school ranks second in the country in NIH funding

May 21, 2012


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• The Chronicle of Higher Education has released a survey that ranks the salaries of public university chief executive officers in the 2011 fiscal year.

E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University tops the list of 199 public university leaders at 190 colleges and university systems, earning just under $2 million in total compensation.

Here’s a table with the complete results.

KU’s Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little is in a three-way tie for 77th on the list, with $450,000 in total compensation, including a base salary of $425,000 and $25,000 in deferred compensation that she will be able to access after she leaves her position.

Gray-Little was tied with James P. Clements, president of West Virginia University, and Paula Allen-Meares, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Her base salary was the 55th highest on the list.

(Since then, as astute consumers of the news will recall, the Kansas Board of Regents approved salary increases for the state’s top university leaders, and Gray-Little’s base salary was boosted by 1.8 percent, to $432,650.)

That puts her just above the median compensation for public university leaders, which the Chronicle found to be $421,395.

• Bruce Rothschild, a paleontologist at KU’s Biodiversity Institute, noticed in a paper that ichthyosaurs, a sort of “dino-dolphin” (to borrow the New Scientist magazine’s term), appear to have contracted that nasty decompression sickness called the bends much like human divers of today do.

Humans can get the nasty condition if they move too quickly from deep water to shallow water, and that’s likely what happened to the ichthyosaurs, too.

Rothschild and others learned about the condition by examining the fossil record, and noticing the scarring on the bones left from the damage from bubbles in their blood caused by dissolved gases.

While early dinosaurs didn’t get the condition as much as later ones did, Rothschild guessed that might be tied to the rise of bigger marine predators. So, basically, as he told New Scientist, the dinosaurs may have contracted the condition “while running for their lives.”

• KU’s School of Pharmacy has reclaimed the No. 2 spot on the annual list that ranks schools based on the amount of funding received from the National Institutes of Health.

In the 2011 fiscal year, KU received more than $22 million from the NIH, good enough to improve on last year’s No. 4 ranking, when it received $18.5 million from the agency. The school has been in the top five of the rankings for 11 years in a row now, and also ranks No. 1 nationally in the value of awards per funded faculty member. KU’s 20 faculty who receive funds from the NIH bring in nearly $1 million each.

• I don’t need to go deep-sea diving to get my blood bubbling with excitement, your tips for Heard on the Hill do that for me every time you send them to


Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

As a pedestrian and unremarkable administrator, Gray-,Little should consider herself lucky. Despite her mediocrity, she is well paid.

Erin England 5 years, 9 months ago

A previous article (linked above) about Gray-Little's raise was due in part to "a cost of living increase and should be interpreted as being a vote of confidence." For what? Her living situation is provided for. As for confidence, who's confidence? It seems to me I've been hearing mediocre response from those below her.

Patricia Davis 5 years, 9 months ago

You want mediocrity? Remember the Hemenway years. He was a long-term disgrace.

Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. KU hasn't had decent leadership since Budig left for greener pastures decades ago.

Tammy Copp-Barta 5 years, 9 months ago

HHmm ... can't afford to give raises to the custodians who clean up after her and make "her" residence and office look nice , but the Chancellor makes $450,000???? Amazing!

question4u 5 years, 9 months ago


What do you think that a chancellor does? KU has a total budget of $547 million and more than 12,500 staff. What private corporation with comparable numbers pays its CEO less. How many corporations in Kansas think that it's a good idea to hire a CEO at an under-market salary? How many corporations in Kansas cut their executives pay to give their custodians a raise?

Yes, absolutely, custodians should get a raise, but put the responsibility where it is due. The state of Kansas is not willing to raise the salaries of custodians who work for the state and has not been willing to do so for years. The governor and the Legislature are, however, willing to raise janitors' taxes to give corporations tax cuts. Now that's amazing.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 9 months ago

"The governor and the Legislature are, however, willing to raise janitors' taxes to give corporations tax cuts. Now that's amazing."


yourworstnightmare 5 years, 9 months ago

I thought ichthyosaurs were reptiles, not dinosaurs.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 9 months ago

GL's salary is 77th, and KU ranks overall 56th among public universities.

I'd call that a bargain.

irvan moore 5 years, 9 months ago

where does she rank on the list of chancellors as far as job performance? higher? lower? just curious

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 9 months ago

She is the best in recent memory, but that is not saying much.

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