Golden Pillow: Trauma of Returning to Teaching

UPDATE: Chuck points out this take on the situation – my favorite passage:

“Could I have done it without a research leave?” [Chancellor] Moeser said. “Sure. But I would not have been approaching the fall with the same excitement and anticipation as I am.”

This is strangely short story from InsideHigherEd without much explanation, just facts:

The University of North Carolina paid $8 million over the last five years in “retreat rights,” salaries to help former administrators prepare to return to the classroomThe Raleigh News & Observer reported. In many cases, the salaries were what the officials earned in senior positions, far more than the faculty jobs for which they were preparing. The article noted that while some of these officials were well respected, others were paid “for a job poorly done,” and that there is no requirement that those receiving the funds actually return to teaching. The article noted that one former provost in the system was paid $104,000 to prepare for a return to teaching, but after taking the funds, retired.

Interestingly enough, UNC The Raleigh News and Observer has a longer version of the story:

Chancellor James Moeser was paid $390,000 last year to prepare to teach; this year, he will be paid more than $234,000 for his work co-teaching one class each semester and mentoring faculty members who are considering going into administration. His salary is nearly twice the average salary paid to other full professors in the music department.


University administrators are among the best-paid employees in state government. UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp, for example, makes $420,000 a year, more than three times Gov. Beverly Perdue’s $139,590 salary.

This story should be a nice addition to Mark Bousquet’s latest essay on the relationship between faculty and administration as neither InsideHigherEd nor the other paper really discuss the implication of such an indecently high salaries and perks:

The administration building’s air conditioning is on full blast; their carpets are new and regularly cleaned; their kids are in private school, and they still get out for golf while you’re grading papers or paying for your research out of pocket, stealing time from your kids’ lives. On the occasions they’ve taken pay cuts, they’ve generally been symbolic, knocking a grand or two off a monthly take that would buy an average person a new car.


5 thoughts on “Golden Pillow: Trauma of Returning to Teaching

  1. The second article is actually from the Raleigh News-Observer, not a UNC newspaper. One of the best takes I’ve seen came from The Charlotte Observer.

    Some of this–the Fayetteville State situation–is relatively old news, but I’d love to see Bousquet’s take on all of this.

  2. Incredible.

    Is there not a single American institution that isn’t toppling under the weight of administrative fat cats? To borrow a business term, where is the ‘value added’ by paying people to maybe return to teaching. And paying them more than most people would make in two years, at that.

    Where is the austerity for these parasites?

  3. It is indeed incredible. Look, if you are a private for-profit business and you have shareholders or owners or any some such entity that you are accountable to, and you choose to pay your managers bonuses and other such extra-money, that’s okay with me – but in universities (private or public) the main people who “produce” are the faculty and administration is supposed to be helping them do their job better, period. How is it possible to justify paying administrators so much at a non-profit educational institutions? What is it that they do that is so much more valuable than teaching? If you read the article that Chuck pointed out, some of these folks were paid shitloads to take time off and work on projects like “faculty development models”? What the hell is that? So these folks invent projects (not unlike project-oriented philosophy) to keep themselves and faculty busy with unnecessary tasks like “student evaluation techniques” or some such bullshit to keep paying themselves more and more?

  4. Pingback: How much is that in ponies? « Dead Voles

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