Dear WSU Community,
Numerous articles have been written and commentaries offered over the past several weeks regarding Dr. Steven Hoch’s leave from Washington State University. Privacy concerns continue to constrain my comments on this personnel matter, but I am able to and wish to clarify the matter of Dr. Hoch’s compensation as a tenured full professor of history.
When Dr. Hoch was recruited and hired to serve as provost and executive vice president, I firmly believed that he would serve in that role for at least four years before pursuing the goal of becoming president of a major research university. I was clear in expressing my support of him in this regard. It was never envisioned that he would serve as an active member of our faculty even though he was awarded tenure as a full professor of history within the College of Liberal Arts. It is customary to award tenure to a provost in the appropriate academic department.
Consistent with longstanding university practice, Dr. Hoch’s letter of offer included the provision that he would receive 9/11s of his salary should he return to the faculty. This type of provision is not unusual for a university when coupled with an identified salary level for faculty. In fact, Dr. Hoch was initially informed in writing that his salary as a faculty member would be $78,563 (which represented the average between the second and highest paid professors within the department). However, it was quickly brought to our attention that such a salary level was not established and that the contractually obligated salary would be $245,455 based on the 9/11s calculation.
Without a doubt, Dr. Hoch is an excellent teacher and scholar; however, the market simply does not support a salary at this level and it is significantly out of proportion. These facts notwithstanding, legally, this salary must be honored and I have already taken steps to prevent this situation from occurring in the future.
The existing 9/11s calculation used in determining salary for administrators holding tenure and returning to faculty will not be used in future contracts. Instead, we will use new language that compensation of an administrator returning to faculty status will be proportionate to the market and at a level not to exceed the highest salary of the faculty members within the department at the same rank.
It is my hope this explanation helps to answer some of the questions you might have regarding this matter. I also want to express my deep appreciation for your support of Washington State University.
Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D.