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Posted on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

Two University of Michigan dean positions see six-figure salary increases

By Kellie Woodhouse


Dean of Libraries Paul Courant received a $47,000 pay hike this year.

Angela J. Cesere |

Two of the University of Michigan's highest-paid deans are each earning $100,000 more than the school paid for the same job last year.

Two other deans saw salary increases of more than $40,000.

In total, U-M's 20 deans are earning more than $6.92 million in base pay this year, according to university figures released this week. That's up from $6.57 million last year.

Screen shot 2011-12-21 at 10.56.26 AM.png

Alison Davis-Blake is the highest-paid dean at U-M.

James Woolliscroft.JPG

Medical School Dean James O. Woolliscroft is the second highest-paid dean at U-M.

Lon Horwedel |


Law School Dean Evan Caminker is the fourth highest-paid dean at U-M.

Angela J. Cesere |

Newly appointed Stephen M. Ross School of Business Dean Alison Davis-Blake tops the list at $550,000. That's about $102,000 more than her predecessor Robert Dolan made last year. It's also well above the $477,000 she collected as dean of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management in 2009.

Davis-Blake ranks among the highest-paid business school deans at any public university in the country. Richard Lyons, the dean of the University of California at Berkley business school, made $378,200 in 2010. According to U.S. News and World Report, UC-Berkley's business school ranks seventh in the nation. That's seven rankings above U-M, which is tied at 14 with UCLA (the dean of UCLA's business school made $436,600 in 2010.) The dean of University of Virginia's 13th-ranked business school made $518,000 in 2010.

Dolan, the former dean, remains at Ross as a professor and makes $448,155, one of the highest salaries awarded to any U-M lecturer.

College of Engineering Dean David Munson's salary saw a near-29 percent increase this year. His salary is $470,195, up from $365,164 last year.

U-M says the $105,000 hike is necessary to pay Munson at a competitive rate.

Dean of Libraries Paul Courant and School of Nursing Dean Kathleen M. Potempa also received market rate increases.

Courant, who is currently leading an electronic textbook initiative, received a $47,000 raise and Potempa received a $40,400 raise.

Courant's 13.3 percent increase brought his earnings to $398,102. Potempa's 12.2 percent increase brought her earnings to $371,026.

Davis-Blake and Munson, along with Medical School Dean James O. Woolliscroft, are among the 10 university employees with the highest base salaries. Woolliscroft makes $524,509.

Law School Dean Evan Caminker has the eleventh-highest salary of any university employee. He makes $457,964.

Caminker and Woolliscroft, like most deans, received increases ranging from 3 to 3.5 percent. Eight deans received 3 percent increases, three received 3.5 percent increases and five received increases ranging from 2 to 2.9 percent.

The deans' raises come in the midst of raises for administrators that average 2.7 percent, raises for faculty that average 2.8 percent and raises for staff that average 2.2 percent.

Take a look at the salary increases for U-M's 21 deans:

Final Deans sal increase rpt 2011[1].pdf

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 11:19 p.m.

Compensation for Deans and upper administrators continue to pull away from faculty and other staff as UM follows corporate models. This is self-rewarding behavior by the top administrators. It is completely without merit, disgraceful, and harmful to the University.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

We had UM-DPS head Ken Magee on sick leave for 12 months. Was the department OK? If we had the president of the University , Deans from all these schools on leave for same amount of time, would we see the university rankung much lower, more patinets died because of wrong treatment?

Kara H

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

@dean: There's ample evidence that hard work is, in fact, generally rewarded. What's got people commenting is the seemingly disproportional nature of the reward, which appears to be based on metrics other than effort expended or results. I think what so many react to so viscerally in articles like this is the skewed nature of the compensation system in educational institutions. These are institutions (UM, AAPS, etc.) who's mission is to educate students. But more and more the incentives go to administrators, for whom education appears to be a by-product--one of many, not the core of their efforts and duties. If you cut through the blah blah about CEOs and corporate compensation systems, what many of those who comment want (if I may be so bold as to speak for at least some of them) is to see the incentives tied to the educational mission and the results of that. What that would really mean is higher compensation for front-line employees like teachers, lecturers, professors, counselors, etc. and less of that deflected to the administrators. Both administrative staff and educational/front line staff are necessary to run a successful educational institution, but faculty and staff should not be treated as replaceable cogs, while administrators are treated as too valuable to lose. I would argue that's it's exactly the opposite and that's what needs to change. Ultimately public institutions are tax-payer and student funded, they cannot point to ROI and gross revenue arguments as can other businesses. The bottom line is that much of the revenue that powers an educational institution (univ and public school level) is _from_ the community or students, so, we the community, want to see incentives to spend efficiently and in the direct service of the mission of the institution.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

U of M must think they have to follow AA Public Schools and give ridiculous raises to their administrators.

Dean Sommerfield

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

Congratulations to the deans involved. It shows you can still work hard and be rewarded. If the University wants to be the leaders and best, they have to lead in the acquisition of the best people available and pay them accordingly.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.

PLATO'S UTOPIAN REPUBLIC : Greek thinker Plato founded the first University called Academy in Athens. He had described human nature and its components; Appetite, Reason, and Spirit. Plato thinks that Reason must control both Spirit and Appetite. There is such a thing as the truth about how we ought to live, and this truth can be known by the human intellect. In a healthy society, there is harmonious working together of its constituents. How men ought to live is fundamental to Plato's treatment of the problems of human nature. How would these deans justify their Appetite for these wage increases without applying Reason? If they have used Reason, I would like to hear about the Reasoning process they may have used. It may not be easy to live in Plato's Utopian Republic, still we cannot avoid the use of Reason to control and restrain Spirit and Appetite.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

I hope those expressing outrage at these salaries are even more outraged at corporate salaries of ~$10-50M or golden parachutes of $20-100M. These payscales are small potatoes compared to corporate payscales.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

No I am not outrage at all. Private sector companies set compensation with consent of the Board of Directors and shareholders. If you feel outraged on how they pay their "value creators" then do not buy their product or service. When it comes to tax dollars what higher education pays thes folks is downright disgusting. Big fifference my frinde, big difference.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 4 p.m.

The higher education bubble is about to burst. These folks are way way overpaid. I seriously doubt any of them could really cut it in the private sector. OCCUPY THE LECTURE HALLS!


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

Hm. Are we seeing an "education bubble"? It seems that just like with housing prices, some seem to believe that their salary can continue to go up and up. A SIX FIGURE salary increase is unsustainable in any industry. Soon there won't be enough 99%ers who can afford to send their kids to the college. Who will pay their salary then?

hut hut

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.

This is just another example of Wall Street ethics gone wild in the public sector. Get it while you can and your customers, in this case students and the taxpayers, be damned


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

I sure am glad that Snyder diverted money from K-12 schools to our struggling universities.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

I feel sorry for the EMU deans and department chairs, if you compare their salaries, it's a sad situation. I'm sure they are eyeballing jobs elsewhere given this discrepancy.

hut hut

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

If they're only in it for the money, let them walk.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

Another fine example of your tax dollars at time you pay $ 3 for a gallon just remember who gets to milk the cow first....


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

Amazing how when the top management comes up for a raise that there is never a shortage, however when the peons come up for a raise they get told to be happy with a 1 to 3% raise. Different story every time. Also, this does not report any bonuses the top people get in addition to their salarys!

Left is Right

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 4:59 a.m.

We need to pay these salaries to be competitive in higher education. And we wonder why tuition has risen so fast? No disrespect to the deans--they're fine leaders and their salary increase is but a drop in the bucket. But where does it end? I suppose it ends by being smart enough to change that game. As usual UM seems to have taken a followership role.

Mr. Ed

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 3:56 a.m.



Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 3:37 a.m.

Like every other entity at the trough of taxpayer money, they have no shame.

hut hut

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 3:24 a.m.

Stop the Executive/CEO/Administrator merry go round! NOW!


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

We keep hearing " If we do not pay them more they will leave, then who will we have"? If they think they can make more somewhere else let them go. If all of these high paid people were any good at their job, they would be training their staff. In that case U of M could replace the high paid employeeseasily.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:19 a.m.

I think it would make for a better story if the salaries of people in similar positions at other public colleges were compared. That would show if UM people making above-market wages or on par with the national average with others in these positions.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

@JustMyOpinion, I've seen this time and time again. Hire someone and pay them at or below market and watch how quick they leave, especially if they are good at their job. The University is pretty much sealing the deal so these Deans won't leave town.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:01 a.m.

That is the same rationale used by corporate executives; Well the CEO of XYZ makes 10.8 million, so should I. Not actually a very sound basis for decision making. Better to see how little you can hire someone for who has good credentials and will do the job.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:06 a.m.

There is absolutely NO justification for these obscene raises. None. If these folks got a 5% raise, they would still be in these jobs, and would still be "competitive" with peers at other public institutions. The top elite at UM are treated just like the top elite in the private sector, and they do it because they can get away with it. who is going to stop them? The faculty should be on strike over this. The rich get richer at everyone else's expense. Most staff receive paltry 1,2,3% raises that have nothing to do with "merit," a concept that doesn't exist, while getting letters saying that the UM is tightening its belt during tough times. Well, folks, the times aren't tough at the top. There is NO justification for these egregious raises. Who approves these salaries? Mary Sue? If so, then she needs to go.

sick and tired

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:05 a.m.

this is absolutely sickening!


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : midnight

Oh my ,my, sorry we have no money to give you..............peons!


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

While it may seem to some that the Deans are worth these salaries, the fact of the matter remains that many well informed and well educated people believe otherwise. It's a legitimate topic at a State University, especially in these times. Certainly, pay is not based on the amount of work one has to do, otherwise professors would be making more money than the Deans, and the Grad students would be the highest paid salary group. Could it be education? Nope. As well, in some cases better educated staff members than the Deans work at the U. Hmm. Perhaps its "the market"? This has been the well used (some would say worn out) reasoning used for some time, based on intangible things such as "donors", "research dollars", "reputation", all of which become intangible yard sticks since no one has tried it with a lower paying bench mark. One can well imagine these jobs being equally well done by someone for half the money. In corporations, there is already a well acknowledged practice of overpaying executives in order to justify other executives salaries. It's why the disparity in incomes is growing so large while profits and sales are increasing. Is a CEO worth that X 100 percent over the norm? In terms of work, no, In terms of quid pro quo, apparently so. Welcome to the worlds of board member swapping. Intelligence? Not if understanding the climate you live in and the words fair, reasonable and appropriate are a measure. One could easily argue other staff are equally or even more intelligent. In a public University, the value of the executive group is high, but it is simply not this high. Others work as hard, are as well educated and contribute as much or more to the bottom line. People know when they are being fleeced.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:03 a.m.

Excellent post Just. As a public university, there may be a little more ability to influence the control switch to the fleecing station as well (one would hope).


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 11:29 p.m.

How can they truly justify these types of pay raises. Disgusting. Oh, forgot, they need them to "keep the high quality of education" -- really.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

Many UM alums and fans that I know vote for Democrats for the UM BoRs and Republicans for the other state universities. They want as much money going to their university as possible and want those cheapskate Republicans shortchanging everybody else.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

I hope those of you who continue to bash non-university public servants (teachers, AAPS support personnel, whatever unions are left, other government workers - city, county state who are non-elected, and the 9 AAPS teachers who coach or have other duties whose long-term service and extra duties pushed them into six figures along with the other 50 employees who barely make over 100K) will remember this article. I'm not defending the new superintendent getting 60K more than her predecessor, but it really does pale, doesn't it? So take your public sector bashing and put it someplace else, please. And not necessarily direct it to the U - but start there if you must and leave the struggling five figured income earners alone for a change.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

What's the BIG push on how much money everyone makes all of a sudden? YES, they are overpaid, so what can we do about it? NOTHING@!!!!!


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 11 p.m.

What's the BIG push on how much money everyone makes all of a sudden? party directives, professional deficits, schadenfreude

say it plain

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

I think it's probably just an accident of the calendar (this is when the info is released)


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 10:12 p.m. staff, you clearly pull no punches with outraging your readers about U of M extravagance. How about a story that's even one tenth as hard hitting, but about the mayor and most of city council's wasteful spending. For instance, get some info on here about why they're pushing for a train station with no real justification. You know, the one that would be next to the existing one? Where the existing one has a huge unused lot next to it? And they have no idea how it would generate revenue? Or who would staff it? Or how it's on Park land, even though the Green Belt program is spending even more tax dollars on keeping building from happening? Or how the mayor's sending out letters to residents pushing for it? How was THAT mailing list gnerated, and why's he pushing for it so hard? Or how they've already spent more than a million dollars on it even in the face of all the above AND they don't know if it's going to hapen yet? You have heard their answers to some very basic questions about cost and justification at the meetings, right? Like how it' s a lot of cost but no justification? That's money right from Ann Arbor citizens' pckets in the form of propert taxes. Maybe throw some stuff in there about how necessary the MULTIPLE AATA tear-down-rebuild-expand-improve projects are. You knwo, right on the heels of the gigantic city hall with the still-non-working 3/4 million fountain. And the way-behind underground library lot that also had very little justification, and is decimating local businesses. You know, stuff about millions and millions coming right straight directly out of our pockets, much closer to home than U of M. Seriously. Get involved with the city waste and mismanagement, man.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

Raises of $100K, $40K, $47K, $105K are beyond ridiculous. I don't buy the "market rate" justification. These salary increases are greater than many employee's salaries at the U of M. The school administration and the regents need to grip and put things into perspective. Thank goodness my children chose not to attend this university.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:57 a.m.

At least my children have a middle of the road point of view instead of being polarized like most of you. They are able to understand the balance between fiscal responsibility and the needs of society. Take a look in the mirror and see where you can better yourselves.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 10:51 p.m.

Thank you, forever!


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

Glad to see the Mary Sue Coleman is leading this university through tough economic times by holding the lines on salaries; helping Michigan families by keeping tuition increases at a minimum; and seeking federal assistance by sending a letter to President Obama. Keep up the great work!


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

To olddog and anyone else who thinks this is representative of U-M faculty and staff across the board, think again. Deans may be doing well, but professors and other professional staff are no better off than the average non-university-employee. Librarians at U-M got a 1.5% merit raise this year -- and commissioned a salary report that showed we make less, on average, than librarians at either Michigan State or Eastern, never mind our peers in the Big 10 and other big state schools. We also got a letter from Paul commending us for our hard work and bemoaning the state of academic funding that made this minuscule pay adjustment necessary. Disheartening? You bet. But don't tar all of U-M's hard-working and dedicated academic staff with the same brush.

say it plain

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

Ah, so, perhaps the business school dean is doing *particularly* well compared to her peers because her hiring represents UM being *particularly* attuned to the new normal in 'business'--that CEOs/leaders/head-honchos are to do very very well while others eat the catered cake crumbs?!

Jon Saalberg

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

In the immortal words of that wise and honorable sage, Mel Brooks (in character), "It's good to be the king".

Turd Ferguson

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

You can find ANYONE who works for U of M here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

And you wonder why tuition is through the roof.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

Forget Wall Street Greed! This is Big Education Greed!

hut hut

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

Greed knows no difference between Wall Street and Ivy covered institutions. They're the same people. Greed is rampant at the top of the economic food chain.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

These salaries are outrageous. No wonder so many deserving kids can not afford to go to college. Why are we not doing merit pay. Wouldn't it have been fair to offer The business dean a salary comparable to what she was making and build in an incentive for raising the school ranking to the mid of the top ten business schools. Npr did an interesting piece the other day on the lack of incentive in Universities to cut expenses, in fact the incentive is to build more unused rooms sand pay people to work even less than public school teachers. Check it out the average Prof works about 10 -15 hours a week, lines his pockets with royalties on text books they author and require inaction to all their speaking and consulting fees they collect while having a grad student teach their class. University of Michigan staff is definitely wearing a 1% gown while the peons in the town make up the other 99%

Left is Right

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 5:08 a.m.

That's an interesting comment, JMO. I've always wondered what might happen if we change things up and bid down the salaries among several highly qualified candidates for a position--give cost more prominence In the equation. In higher ed there are many.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:10 a.m.

JustMyOpinion, not only could they fill the positions but they'd also get people who care about the job and the institution more than about their personal income and careers. That's why UMich has faltered and become an embarrassment (at least to this alum) and NO, I'm NOT giving to the Alumni Assn OR any U department so DON'T BOTHER CALLING!


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 11:41 p.m.

Better to replace all the Deans with folks willing to work for HALF. Bet they could fill all the slots from within the current ranks. Take half the savings and give everyone else who actually teaches a raise.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 9:32 p.m.

Nice try, but there are many of us 99 percenters working at UM. My starting salary in 1981 was 14K. It is now 45K. So, a top person increased their salary in 1 yr over 3x what mine has gone up in 30.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

I can tell you that unused rooms at U-M are non existant. Space is at a premium. As for University of Michigan staff wearing that 1% gown, well, not all get the six figure raise.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

More of the deluge from this thread to inflame the public to make blind judgements about education careers they know just zip about. How many is it this week alone -eight? It is only Wednesday. Dissemble some pride if you must, but give it a rest.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

If you are outraged; VOTE FOR NEW REGENTS The political party doesn't matter. Once they get on the Board, it is just like a club. They all agree with President Coleman no matter what party they belong to. Never vote for another incumbent Regent until they put a stop to outrageous spending and tuition increases.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.

It's interesting to see all of these articles about how much the top brass at the university make. I wonder if we'll see such thorough reporting on the private companies that the state does business with as well. It'd be nice to get perspective on how much these people really make in comparison to &quot;private industry&quot; salaries for similar positions.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 9:43 p.m.

27, in the four articles on UM (including the Mary Sue plead/letter to Obama) in the last week, I see little &quot;flame&quot; directed at teachers' union or to the rank and file. Also there's a few posts from those same rank and file expressing shock or worse. It's obviously full burner towards administrators at a PUBLIC university pulling down near corporate PRIVATE salary and benefits. Defenders of this skewed process like to use the private equality argument which then leads you into the questions I asked above.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

@arborcomment, my comment was directed at the fact that we have seen countless articles over the past few days about salaries at UM. The immediate flamewar that erupts in the comments section about how the teachers unions are robbing our governments irritate me because people have little perspective on their relative salaries/for work done when compared to the private sector. essentially, even with the huge salaries these people have, they are really taking a pay cut compared to the private sector equivalents.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:55 a.m.

Comparisons of salary with private industry compares a public institution with a private entity. Do you want to go down that road? Should the chief justice of the supreme court make as much or more than the head of the most profitable law firm? Should the head of the FAA make more than an airline president? In the meantime, student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in America.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

It's shareholder business then, and many are now asking for annual accounting for and pegging of executive salaries. In this case, its a public institution.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.

They can't, though, because salaries at private companies aren't public record.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

Not Fair, even if I had half of that or a quarter, I wouldn't care.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

What's not fair? They earned an education and sought out the best paying jobs.