By Kim Manahan and Chloe Dawson (Whetstone staff writers)
Students may want to reconsider the way they treat their professors.
Many Wesley College students think their professors are highly paid.
Most are not.
Some are getting paid even lower than their high school teachers, and on average they are paid nearly $10,000 less in most categories.
Compared to 29 similar institutions, Wesley College professors are paid below average, reported the National Center for Educational Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter), a government database.
Wesley faculty was paid an average of $47,284 in 2009-2010, as opposed to the overall average of $55,248, statistics say.
That average is in sharp contrast to the top dozen highest-paid employees of Wesley College – including administrators – who made more than $1.3 million last year – nearly 10 percent of the total salaries paid out to the entire college.
For the past two years, Dr. Jeffery Mask, professor of religion, has not seen an increase in his pay.
“My contract salary for the last two years is and has been $65,070,” said Mask, who has been with Wesley for 20 years, and who is a full professor with tenure. Professors are divided into assistant, associate and full, and salary is in part based on those categories.
“The contract amount does not reflect a $2,400 reduction in pay that occurred last year when the college did not budget for an increase in our health insurance premium and passed it on to us,” Mask said.
The new contract given to faculty on March 15, including the comment, “Raises will be considered in the fall when they know what enrollment will be.”
Other professors also expressed their discontent.
“It’s ironic that part of the Founder’s Day theme is enriching the present, and once again we have failed to budget for appropriate salary increases,” said Dr. Jeffery Gibson, professor of English.
Eric Nelson, vice president of finance, said that there has been no salary freezes recently for faculty.
“We covered budgeted salary increases when doing our planning if they are sustainable by the budget,” Nelson said.
But many professors see things differently.
Dr. Jack Barnhardt, associate professor of psychology and department chair, says he makes more than the average Wesley associate professor ($49,000) but less than the average associate professor at similar schools ($57,000).
Barnhardt also is department chair, which entitles him to more money.
“We do a lot of stuff outside of teaching that doesn’t deal with class,” Barnhardt said.
Although Mask’s salary is above the national average, he says that it does not suit his position.
And he thinks the school knows this.
“The institutional assessment commissioned by the board of trustees in May 2006 noted that Wesley faculty is underpaid relative to comparable colleges in the region,” he said.
Dr. Malcolm D’Souza, professor of biology, is listed as the highest-paid professor at Wesley, making $128,965. Although some or most of this may be from grants, D’Souza chose not to talk about his salary.
Dr. Thomas Sturgis received $139,189 when he acted as Vice President of Academic Advancement in 2008-2009.
The following year he took a minor pay cut when he went back to being a faculty member.
After taking sabbatical in the fall and teaching four courses in the spring, he received $113,878, the second highest-paid professor.
Sturgis also denied comment.
With the salaries Wesley offers, it is going to be difficult bringing in quality professors, Barnhardt said.
“Our salary scale, if one exists, probably means that some good prospect chose to go somewhere else,” Mask said.
Professor Susan Bobby, who teaches English, said she makes less than $50,000.
She teaches more classes than the normal amount during the school year and three additional ones during the summer.
“I do think the administration is aware that we are overworked and, for some us, underpaid,” Bobby said.
Bobby said she has to keep as strict a budget now as she did when she was in college to make ends meet.
According to the IRS 990 form, which must be filled out annually by non-profits, the seven employees who earned more than $100,000 in 2009-2010 include Dr. William Johnston, president of the college ($267,933), Eric Nelson, ($102,476), Dr. D’Souza, ($128,965), Christopher Malone, a former employee of the college who worked out of the New Castle Campus, ($119,450), Dr. Sturgis, a history professor, ($113,878), Dr. Lucille Gambardella, head of graduate studies for nursing, ($113,712), and Paul Olsen, director of advisement, ($112,917.)
Also listed in the top 12 were Michael Drass, athletics director, who made $86,640; William Firman, former dean of enrollment, $86,874; Mary-Alice Ozechoski, dean of students, $90,200; Dr. Patricia Dwyer, vice president of academic affairs, $72,917; and Chris Wood, vice president of institutional advancement, $93,750.