Board of trustees chair defends high presidential salary, explains process

posted in: Opinion | 0

President Lesley Hallick’s compensation is not the usual topic of conversation between members of the Board of Trustees and Pacific students.

But it seems warranted in this space because some faculty and students have raised the issue with the president herself.

Former board chair Tim Schauermann and I met recently with representatives of both groups.

After all, it’s the Board that hires the president, determines how much she makes and evaluates her performance.

We don’t expect her to defend her salary, and neither should you. To do so seems just plain rude.

Here’s how it works. In hiring the last two presidents, the Board’s philosophy has been to offer a guaranteed salary in the mid-range of what leaders of peer institutions receive.

In addition, we want to make clear our desire for exceptional institutional leadership.

To do so we provide the opportunity to earn additional pay through achieving goals designed to move the university ahead.

It is a form of pay-for-performance in which a portion of total compensation is put at risk, depending on goal achievement.

Look around and you will see examples of goals accomplished in the past decade: new buildings, renovated buildings, new campuses.

Most, if not all of you, experience the results of goal achievement in the form of new academic programs, more research opportunities and slow but steady growth that makes Pacific an ever more dynamic place to be.

Six years ago, after a national search, we knew we had selected the right person, the one with the most extensive leadership experience, and she was practically under our noses at OHSU. What a plus that was.

She knew everyone in Oregon’s higher education and health industries, an unsurpassed network for an incoming Pacific president.

We set the bar high for President Hallick. Our charge to her was to continue our progress and bring a new level of excellence to Pacific.

Leading a small, private liberal arts college is challenging, especially in recent years with rising tuition, competition from online providers, pressure from politicians and dire predictions about the very future of such places.

It is doubly so at Pacific, surely the most complex among its Northwest peer institutions with multiple campuses and both undergraduate and graduate programs.

President Hallick has met every challenge.

She didn’t ask me to write this and I know it will embarrass her. So I will end here.

President Hallick is brilliant and big-hearted. The Board appreciates that about her, but we pay her well, very well, because she is an extraordinary leader who is making a difference at Pacific.

Mindy Cameron is the chair of Pacific University’s board of trustees, as well as a graduate of Pacific University’s class of 1965.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *