PAY LEADER: UA Chancellor David Gearhart is far and away the best paid college administrator in Arkansas and ranks in the top quarter of all U.S. college leaders.

The New York Times reports here that the rise in student debt and use of adjunct faculty was greater at the 25 public universities with the highest paid leaders. Administrative spending at those schools outstripped scholarship spending.

No Arkansas university makes the top 25 list, but it would be interesting to see a similar analysis among campuses of the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University, particularly UA Fayetteville, where Chancellor David Gearhart knocks down almost $600,000 or so and the university is home to dozens of six-figure staff members. UAMS has more than 1,100.


The subject is timely. The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees meets later this week and tuition increases at UA campuses will be on the agenda, including a potential 10 percent increase at the College of Medicine at UAMS.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of top public university executive compensation includes four from Arkansas.


UAF Chancellor David Gearhart: $579,930 in total compensation, or 64th nationwide on the list of 257 top executives at 227 public institutions.

UA System President Donald Bobbitt: $379,940 (148)


ASU System President Charles Welch: $320,430 (198)

UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson: $242,336 (220)

I hope to have the proposed UA tuition increases shortly.

These were key findings in the study of 25 biggest public universities. Maybe the trustees could run some numbers on these categories at UA campuses in time for Wednesday’s meeting in Hope:


 The student debt crisis is worse at state schools with the highest-paid presidents. The
sharpest rise in student debt at the top 25 occurred when executive compensation soared the highest.

 As students went deeper in debt, administrative spending outstripped scholarship
spending by more than 2 to 1 at state schools with the highest-paid presidents.

 As presidents’ pay at the top 25 skyrocketed after 2008, part-time adjunct faculty
increased more than twice as fast as the national average at all universities.

 At state schools with the highest-paid presidents, permanent faculty declined dramatically as a percentage of all faculty. By fall 2012, part-time and contingent faculty at the top 25  outnumbered permanent faculty for the first time.

 Average executive pay at the top 25 rose to nearly $1 million by 2012– increasing more
than twice as fast as the national average at public research universities.