Judy Genshaft has been USF president for more than 10 years. Over the winter break, a new contract ensured that she will continue her role for at least five more.
The decision to renew Genshaft’s contract, presented during a Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting Dec. 16, puts her salary among the top 10 percent of public university presidents in the nation, according to presidential compensation expert and BOT adviser Raymond Cotton.
The total value of the contract also makes her the second-highest paid university president in the state under University of Florida President James Bernard Machen, who makes $875,054 annually, and above University of Central Florida President John C. Hitt, who earns $721,148 annually.
Genshaft’s new contractcould be worth up to $833,559, Cotton said, and will be in effect from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2016. It calls for an annual base salary of $470,000, and additional compensation benefits include a retention stipend that will average$100,000 annually. The retention stipend is designed to reward the president for remaining at the University and honoring her entire contract. All money accrued through the retention stipend is forfeit if she leaves before the contract’s completion. The contract includes a performance stipend of no more than $175,000. Contributions to retirement benefits and an annual annuity total $105,374.
Under her previous contract, the president’s base pay was $395,000, her performance stipend had a cap of $100,000 and she received a $150,000 retention stipend in 2010. Genshaft’s retirement benefits saw no change.
BOT member Jordan Zimmerman chaired the compensation committee that determined the appropriate contract extension to offer the president. He said 70 percent of the president’s performance pay is tied to the achievement of certain goals through the performance stipend.
The stipend requires Genshaft to increase system retention, graduation rates, federal research and developmentand admit students with higher academic records. Genshaft will also be tasked with establishing a more efficient and effective USF System organization structure and consolidating international and global programs into one system-level office called “USF World.”
In addition, she must begin construction on the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) and maintain the “Unstoppable” fundraising campaign, Zimmerman said.
“We think that we’re compensating her very fairly to keep her in the University, to keep that leadership, and that vision and that enthusiasm,” he said. “We believe we would have to pay more if we went out in the market place to find a candidate at another university.”
Zimmerman said the BOT wishes to keep Genshaft at USF for “the entirety of her career” and that Cotton was hired to develop a “pay structure for how well we should compensate (Genshaft) fairly.”
Cotton’s recommendationto increase Genshaft’s contract comes after Gov. Rick Scott recommended that state universities cut their budgetsby 5 percent in 2011 and prepare to cut an additional 15 percent for the 2011-12 academic year. Nonetheless, he said it would be wrong to offer the president less money because of these factors.
“It’s not excusable for a board to say, ‘Well, the state is cutting us by 5 percent or 10 percent, or whatever; therefore, we’re going to pay our president less,'” he said. “That to me is a losing strategy, not a winning one. A winning strategy is you attract the best and brightest and pay what you have to pay in the market place.”
Despite the overwhelming desire to keep Genshaft as USF president, the contract did not pass without some concerns.
During the meeting, BOT member Elizabeth Larkin, who represents the USF faculty, said she thought the faculty would feel a contract increase was justified, but question the overall size of the 6.4 percent increase in base pay.
“(The faculty will want to know) why the committee has recommended such a large percentage increase in her base salary, when at the same time the faculties salaries are very low,” she said.
In October, the BOT approved a 1.5 percent base pay increase for faculty salaries for the 2010-11 academic year and a 2 percent increase for the 2011-12 academic year.
Sherman Dorn, president of the USF chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, said the salary increase is not a threat to faculty member salaries or job security.
“If the legislature can keep the University’s budget fairly stable next year, Genshaft’s salary isn’t going to harm faculty or staff,” he said. “If the budget is a disaster, cannibalizing administrative salaries wouldn’t save many jobs.”