MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today formally appointed new chancellors at UW-Madison, UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater, approving all terms of their employment.

UW System Board of Regents President Mark J. Bradley and UW System President Kevin P. Reilly acknowledged the tough challenges presented by a highly competitive national market for faculty, academic staff and senior academic leaders. Although compensation is not the only factor driving the recent decisions of chancellors and faculty members to accept jobs elsewhere, it is a main factor affecting the UW System’s ability to fill a growing number of vacancies.

“We compete in a national and global market for top-shelf talent, and the best available data show that salaries in the UW System are generally not keeping pace with those offered by similar institutions elsewhere. When we look at the number of other institutions in other states that offer lucrative fringe benefits, we fall even further behind the competition in terms of total compensation. Bottom line – the quality and reputation of our great public university is at significant risk,” said Bradley.

“We must be realistic about Wisconsin’s position in the national higher education marketplace. We may never offer the highest salaries in any category, but we should at least be in the hunt, and reasonably competitive,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly. “We will work aggressively to hire and keep the best faculty and staff, and advocate for compensation that brings UW salaries to the middle of the pack. Similarly, we must offer reasonably competitive salaries to our senior academic leaders. They play a central role in positioning our state for economic success.”

“Students don’t like losing their favorite professors to lucrative offers at other universities. We certainly don’t enjoy watching prominent researchers leave our campuses, taking millions of dollars of federal and private grants with them,” said Reilly. “That’s a huge drain on our state economy.”

Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin was appointed today as the chancellor of UW-Madison, effective September 1, with an annual salary of $437,000. Chancellors and presidents of comparable large research universities in the United States earn between $362,500 and $775,000, with a median salary of $436,800.

Nearly one quarter of Martin’s salary will be underwritten with private financial resources. The UW Foundation and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) have jointly established the John D. Wiley Chancellor’s Chair Endowment to underwrite the salary of future UW-Madison chancellors. Approximately $100,000 will be distributed from that endowment to the university to offset a portion of the chancellor’s compensation costs.

The Regents today appointed Robert Felner as the chancellor of UW-Parkside, effective August 1, at an annual salary of $205,000. They also appointed Richard J. Telfer as the UW-Whitewater chancellor, effective June 6, at an annual salary of $199,500.

Nationwide, leaders of similar comprehensive universities (those that offer baccalaureate and masters degrees) earn between $163,100 and $325,000, with a median salary of $227,000.

The Board of Regents today also conducted their annual review of Reilly’s performance, and adjusted his salary in recognition of both outstanding performance and competitive forces in the national market for CEOs of large public university systems.

Effective July 1, Reilly will earn $414,593, up from $341,864. On June 1, 2009, Reilly’s salary will increase to $421,500. Reilly announced today that he will donate the majority of this increase to support need-based financial aid for UW System students.

Reilly’s peers at comparable multi-campus university systems earn between $340,000 and $500,000, with a median of $421,500.

“After thorough discussion, the Regents decided to adjust President Reilly’s salary, concluding that this increase, at this time, is both fair to him and good for our university,” said Mark Bradley, president of the UW System Board of Regents. “As he begins his fourth year as president, Kevin has proven himself to be a seasoned, innovative and responsive leader, helping one of the nation’s largest higher education systems thrive in some very difficult times.”

“Kevin’s performance has been nothing short of outstanding. Among his many accomplishments, he has demonstrated impressive leadership in advocating for the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin,” said Bradley. “The widespread, bipartisan support for that plan is a result of the UW System’s improved relations with the Governor and the State Legislature. Kevin has been a tireless ambassador for the Growth Agenda, and a champion of economic growth.”

“More recently, President Reilly has worked with the Regents to complete a substantive strategic planning process,” added Bradley. “Equity demands that Kevin’s performance be rewarded at no less than the median of his counterparts in American higher education.”

During a presentation to the full Board of Regents today, Reilly announced that he would make a personal gift to support need-based financial aid. As more Wisconsin families express concern about the affordability of college, Reilly believes that state and federal governments must invest more in grants for students whose academic potential outstrips their financial capacity. In addition, Reilly called for more private gifts from individuals, businesses and foundations, to ensure that both public and private resources are leveraged to address the growing challenge of preserving affordable access to high-quality college education.

Reilly pledged to keep only the same three-percent salary increase that fellow UW System non-represented employees will receive in fiscal year 2008-09. He and his wife, Kate Reilly, will donate the remaining $70,000 to the Reilly Family Scholarship Fund at the UW Foundation. The Reillys established this permanent endowment in 2007 to provide grants to students at all 26 UW System campuses.

“Kate and I have benefited greatly from our own educational experiences. We want others to have the same opportunities for personal enrichment and professional success,” said President Reilly. “We see this gift as a wise investment in the future of our state, the health of our university and the worthwhile aspirations of Wisconsin’s youth and hard-working families.”

Media Contact

David Giroux UW System (608) 262-4464