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WSU president receives pay increase

UPDATED: Thu., June 9, 2022

Washington State University President Kirk Schulz speaks at a ceremony announcing a partnership between the VA medical center and the WSU medical school in 2020 in Spokane.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State University President Kirk Schulz speaks at a ceremony announcing a partnership between the VA medical center and the WSU medical school in 2020 in Spokane. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
By Angela Palermo Moscow-Pullman Daily News

The Washington State University Board of Regents voted unanimously to increase President Kirk Schulz’s compensation at a meeting in Spokane on Tuesday.

An article posted to WSU Insider on Wednesday stated Schulz’s base pay will increase to $750,000 by July 1, at the beginning of a new fiscal year. His base pay is currently $625,000 per year.

As part of the modifications to his compensation, Schulz will also receive a $25,000 retention incentive on June 30, a $75,000 retention incentive to stay employed at the university through July 31 and an annual $200,000 retention incentive from 2023-26.

In addition, he’ll collect a monthly housing allowance of $2,500.

Until recently, Schulz lived in the house provided by the university on its Pullman campus. He moved out after Elizabeth Chilton, provost and executive vice president, was appointed as chancellor. Chilton and her family have since moved into the house, located along NE Campus Street in Pullman.

At the Tuesday meeting, WSU Board of Regents chairperson Marty Dickinson noted the president took a 5% salary reduction for two consecutive years during the university’s fiscal recovery period and chose to forgo two $25,000 retention incentive payments.

“The president’s base salary has remained unchanged since joining the university six years ago and is below the base salary of his predecessor,” Dickinson said.

The meeting, which was part of a retreat in Spokane, was not streamed to the university’s YouTube page, as other board meetings have been. Phil Weiler, vice president of WSU University Marketing and Communications, said people who wanted to join the meeting live were able to do so via telephone.

The decision to increase Schulz’s compensation was made after an executive session Tuesday morning, where regents conducted an annual performance review. It was not listed as an action item on the agenda.

After returning from the executive session, Dickinson mentioned Schulz is a contender for other chief executive positions across the country.

“I think we’re all fairly clear that President Schulz is a nationally recognized and highly sought-after leader – we’ve seen that in recent months,” she said in a recording of the meeting obtained by the Daily News.

In the article posted to WSU Insider, Schulz is said to have been considered for various high-profile leadership positions, including Big 12 Conference commissioner and president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

A story published by the Sports Business Journal in April said there is “overwhelming external support” for Schulz to become the next Big 12 commissioner. Later that month, Northwest Public Broadcasting reported a WSU spokesperson said Schulz was not interested in leaving for the Big 12.

Weiler said Dickinson likely referenced the president’s sought-after leadership as one of the reasons they chose to adjust his compensation.

The increase in pay combined with the incentives offered by the board brings the president’s annual compensation to nearly $1 million in the coming years, assuming Schulz chooses to remain at WSU.

After proposing the increase to Schulz’s compensation package, Dickinson noted the board remains committed to addressing the compensation needs of all WSU employees.

“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.”

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