SRU’s new President Dr. Cheryl Norton’s salary was agreed upon earlier this month by the Board of Governors.
Kenn Marshall, media relations manager for PASSHE (Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education), revealed that Norton’s annual salary would be $225,000. Dr. Robert Smith, SRU’s previous president who retired in February, was earning an annual salary of $218,938 when he departed.
Marshall declined to comment on how the salaries were decided on, stating that the processes are, “personnel matters.”
Rita Abent, executive director for public relations at SRU, explained that recently, management employees have not been receiving annual raises. With that being said, each year the presidents are evaluated. If there is enough money available in the budget, the presidents could receive raises.
“I’m sure the [Board of Governors] considers everything,” Abent said. “The Board of Governors has to look at potential dollars that are coming in through state appropriation, but they’re also tasked with attracting and maintaining high quality presidents. In order to do that, you have to understand what the market is.
“The [Board of Governors] has a responsibility to see that each of the state institutions has a highly qualified president and there are lots of institutions within the United States who are all competing for presidents, so I think they have to consider a lot of things when they make salary decisions.”
Presidential candidates usually do not know exactly how much each institution will be willing to pay when they apply, Abent said. After the presidential selection process has ended and the job is offered to the candidate, they will begin to negotiate a suitable salary. Usually, the Board of Governors makes an offer that the candidate has a chance to either accept or make a counter offer.
“When candidates apply for a presidency and come to visit as part of the interview process, those candidates are interviewing us as well as us interviewing them,” Abent stated. “They’re trying to decide, ‘Is this the right kind of place for me? Is my skillset going to match the culture?’ So there are a lot of things going on during that interview process.”
The state system was created by Act 188, explained Abent. The governing body of the PASSHE system is the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors hires the chancellor, and the chancellor is in charge of hiring his own staff. Then, the chancellor and Board of Governors collaborate in order to decide who to hire as presidents of the universities.
When SRU was searching for the next president, the staff and faculty made suggestions about the presidential candidates and sent a list of three names to the Board of Governors and the chancellor. They interviewed each candidate and decided who they wanted to hire.
The Board of Governors is a working committee that specializes in finances and evaluates the market conditions and the candidate’s qualifications. They then determine what salary to offer the candidate.