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Board of Regents vote to increase university president’s compensation

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In recognition of his achievements as university president, members of the Washington State University Board of Regents voted unanimously to increase Kirk Schulz’s compensation during their meeting Tuesday in Spokane.

“The President’s base salary has remained unchanged since joining the University six years ago and is below the base salary of his predecessor,” WSU Board of Regents Chair Marty Dickinson said.

Dickinson noted that Schulz took a voluntary 5% salary reduction for two consecutive years during WSU’s fiscal recovery period and opted to forgo two $25,000 retention incentive payments over that span as well. 

Schulz’s base pay of $625,000 will be increased to $750,000 as of July 1. He also will receive a $25,000 retention incentive on June 30, a $75,000 retention incentive if he remains employed through July 31, and will collect an annual $200,000 retention incentive from 2023 through 2026.

Dickinson praised several of Schulz’s achievements. Among those was the financial recovery that took place in the years following his arrival at WSU, which saw a $30 million annual operating deficit turn into a nearly $30 million budget surplus prior to the pandemic.

WSU has also attracted more than $754 million in philanthropic giving during Schulz’s time as university president and has seen its annual research awards increase from $219 million to $358 million in 2021. Schulz also secured funding for, launched, and oversaw the full accreditation of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

Dickinson also acknowledged that Schulz is a nationally recognized chief executive who has been mentioned prominently as a potential contender for high-profile leadership positions such as the Big 12 Conference commissioner as well as president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Though the board went forward with modifications to Schulz’s contract, it also remains committed to addressing the compensation needs of all employees, Dickinson said.

“While faculty and staff will see modest salary increases this year, it is not enough,” she said. “Adequate compensation for WSU employees will be one of our top priorities for the next legislative session, and the Board of Regents wants to just be transparent in recognizing that on behalf of all of our employees at Washington State University.”

Schulz has seen his role change significantly since 2016, embracing the responsibilities of leading an evolving university system with five physical campuses and a growing online campus with WSU Global. In doing so, Schulz oversaw the hiring of Elizabeth Chilton, who serves as chancellor of the Pullman campus as well as provost and executive vice president.

In recognition of the fact that Schulz is pursuing the role of WSU president with a more system-wide focus, he exited the university-provided Pullman house traditionally occupied by the president so that Chilton and her family could move in. In response, Regents opted Tuesday to grant Schulz a new $2,500 monthly housing stipend.

Regents also voted to amend the Board of Regents Committee Charters Policy as well as its bylaws. Among the changes made was the replacement of the current faculty representative to the board with a designated faculty regent following action by the Washington Legislature. More information on the Board of Regents can be found on its website.

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