According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "University of Washington President Mark Emmert is among the highest-paid presidents of public universities. Emmert makes $752,700 a year, ranking him third at public universities, according to a survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education. On Thursday, UW regents will set Emmert's new salary and probably give him a raise." Add to the salary numerous perquisites and privileges, and the compensation package is much, much more.
The little factoid about adminstrative salaries at universities would be astounding, except that we live in an era of obscenely high executive salaries. They are often justified by a claim that the organization "must" pay a high rate to get the best management talent.
One has to wonder what terrible things would happen to the nation's most productive public research university if Mr. Emmert made, say, a paltry $652,700, or perhaps $651,699. Would medical research plummet? Would the marine physics lab fade into obscurity? One assumes, of course, that the presidents of the other state universities and colleges are as we write angling for matching funds, so that they, too, can recruit "the very best" management team.
In several recent reports Washington has been portrayed as standing in the bottom tenth of states in spending on education, on outcomes, etc., etc. "Washington 47th in educational..." has become part of our perception of the state's unwillingness to invest in its own future.
While we are in "What if" mode, what if our university presidents were paid the 47th highest salary and our educational standing were third in the nation? What if we had the 47th best management team and the very best schools?