Marye Anne Fox: $350,000 woman

    You get what you pay for. When looking for something as impot Harrod’s than Wal-Mart — and with her impressive background, Chancellor Marye Anne Fox is certainly no blue-light special. If Fox can manage to continue UCSD’s tradition of growth and academic quality in spite of cuts in state funding, she will be worth every penny.

    Having established itself as one of the nation’s top schools in recent years, UCSD needs strong leadership to guide it through this critical time in its development. Time will tell whether Fox is the right person for the job, but few could argue against the credentials and background for strong leadership she brings to the position.

    While a smaller raise may have had some symbolic value in a time when other university staff salaries will remain stagnent, the reality is that a $70,000 raise and a few extra thousand a month for a house rental are peanuts compared to the exprtant as a chancellor, you’d probably rather be shopping aerience she brings to this university.

    Having served on the executive committee of the National Academy of Sciences, her ample experience and connections in the research community could easily be worth several times her raise. Fox also served as the vice president for research at the University of Texas, Austin, and the chancellor of North Carolina State University, two other major public research universities, proving that she has the experience necessary to succeed as UCSD’s chancellor. Fox also serves as the co-chair of the National Research Council’s Government-University-Industry roundtable, and sits on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science and Engineering Public Policy. For UCSD to land a chancellor as qualified as Fox at a time when both UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz were also searching for chancellor candidates would understandably require more money. Instead of worrying about a few thousand dollars here or there, we should be ecstatic to have hired a chancellor with Fox’s background.

    With concerns about the budget, a rising academic reputation and a growing student body, it seems silly to be pinching pennies when it comes to leadership, and with over $1.8 billion dollars in revenue last year, $70,000 is definitely spare change to UCSD. The generous package afforded Fox could also help entice her to stay; which would benefit the school.

    Despite the raise, Fox still earns less than many peers at comparable public universities. New UC Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau will earn $390,000, while University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman receives annual compensation of over $670,000. University of Texas Chancellor Mark Yudof earned $787,000 in 2003. Even schools with considerably less national exposure, such as the University of Hawaii and Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, compensate their leaders much more generously than does UCSD, doling out over $590,000 apiece to their chancellors in 2003.

    The UCSD chancellor is directly responsible for nearly 20,000 undergraduates, 4,800 graduate and medical students, more than 16,000 staff members and 6,404 faculty, making UCSD comparable to a Fortune 500 company, where CEOs routinely make tens of millions of dollars. Questioning the value of paying a little more for a little better would be like questioning the value of spending a little more for better wings on an airplane.

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