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DePaul faculty salaries uncovered

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As the end of the quarter approaches and you’re filling out teacher evaluations there’s a lot to consider – do you think your professors earned their keep?

Perhaps, but evaluating faculty earnings isn’t as easy a process as it may seem.

Faculty salaries are shrouded in secrecy, typically like the salary of any employee at a private company. DePaul is no different. But as tuition-paying students, knowing what your professor, your president and your basketball coach makes each year is relevant.

Highest-paid employees

Unsurprisingly, Oliver Purnell, the men’s basketball head coach, ranks as the university’s highest-paid employee. Purnell had $2,273,475 in reportable compensation for 2011. No. 2 on the list is President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, with a reportable compensation of $884,716, roughly 61 percent less than Purnell’s salary.

As a private university, DePaul isn’t required to disclose information on faculty or staff salaries, unlike state schools such as University of Illinois. It does, however, have to file an IRS 990, the required tax form for all non-profit organizations. These filings are public information.

An organization is required to include a list of its trustees, officers, key employees and highest-paid employees. The most recent data available comes from DePaul’s 2012 990, detailing information from 2011.

Income is a combination of two numbers listed on the 990: “reportable compensation from the organization” and “estimated amount of other compensation from the organization and related organization.” The former is base salary and the latter is likely bonuses, but no representatives from DePaul were able to confirm.

All salary figures listed are the total of the two forms of compensation. All exact figures for DePaul University are taken from its 2012 990, unless otherwise stated.

Fr. Holtschneider’s income is, however, 100 percent donated to the religious order. According to Cindy Lawson, vice president for public relations and communications at DePaul, roughly 75 percent goes to the order’s general account in Philadelphia with roughly 25 percent funding a retirement account that “will also support the order in time.” A small amount goes to the Vincentian residence on campus to pay for his room and board.

The top five of the university’s highest earners are rounded out with Doug Bruno, women’s basketball head coach at $510,961, David Kalsbeek, senior vice president of Enrollment Management and Marketing at $496,358, and former Provost Helmut Epp at $484,178.

The only professor to make it into the top 10 was James Shilling, a professor in the Driehaus College of Business and the Michael J. Horne Chair in Real Estate Studies.

When Shilling was hired in 2006, he was appointed to the research and teaching position that is funded by a $4 million endowment underwritten by the Michael J. Horne Education & Healthcare Assistance Foundation.

It’s unclear what percentage of Shilling’s salary comes from the endowment, but according to Carol Hughes, News and Information Bureau director at DePaul, “named chairs at the university are generally funded by a combination of institutional resources and philanthropic dollars.”

The salaries of the university’s top earners come as a surprise to most students, completely unaware of what Fr. Holtschneider or Coach Purnell make each year. When asked, most assumed the number was in the $100,000 – $200,000 range for both, and that the disparity between the two was far smaller. When told the actual figures.

Jen Fullman, a senior studying psychology, assumed Coach Purnell and Fr. Holtschneider both made “around $240,000” saying, “I know nothing about sports or where my tuition money is going.”

When told the actual figures, Fullman was in shock.

“That’s absurd.”

Shock was the common expression for students when told the exact salaries, especially Nick Meryhew.

“I can understand the perspective, athletics is a moneymaker for the university so they want to have good personnel,” Meryhew, a junior studying trombone performance, said. “But it definitely seems exorbitant, especially when there’s a hiring freeze and tuition is quite high.”

Though surprised by the salary figures, Mehdi Bichri, a junior studying management information systems, understood.

“I’m actually not too upset. I like Fr. Holtschneider,” Bichri said. “I’m sure being basketball coach is very stressful and if the program is able to bring in money then (Purnell) deserves a good share.”

Average Salaries

Certainly not everyone at DePaul is making copious sums of money.

Well, maybe in the law and business schools.

“We’ve got tenured professors in the College of Law, for example, who are (making) upwards of $100, $150, $200,000,” Kelly Johnson, associate vice president for academic administration at DePaul, said.

“(Salary) is market driven, and each of our disciplines has a different market, if you will,” Johnson said. “English has a vastly different market than law or business.”

Johnson explained that the university doesn’t set minimum base salaries for any category of faculty but it is “cognizant of what the market will allow.”

While DePaul could not provide salary averages for the colleges or for different types of professors, Johnson gave a rough estimation of an annual income of $85,000 – $100,000 for tenured professors “where the market isn’t as steep,” working in disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and the like.

For new, entry-level professors starting on the tenure track, Johnson again estimated that those in the College of Law or Driehaus College of Business would be pulling in a higher salary than someone in one of the other colleges.

“It’s not beyond the realm (of possibility) for an entry-level law or business faculty to come in at six figures,” Johnson said.

For the other colleges, new faculty on the tenure track can expect a rough salary of $60,000 to $80,000.

Beyond the College of Law and the Driehaus College of Business being higher on average than the other colleges, Johnson explained that specific disciplines like finance and accounting within business and computer science in the College of Computing and Digital Media hold a high market value, driving up average professor salaries.

For the other areas of study we’re left to guess, but according to Paul Zionts, dean of the College of Education, professors at DePaul are fairly comfortable.

“I think we’re fairly competitive with the other Chicagoland universities,” Zionts said. “People don’t leave here – the reason that they leave isn’t because they’re going for higher pay somewhere else.”

Based on Johnson’s rough estimates, DePaul professors seem to make a similar rate to University of Illinois at Chicago professors, in line with Zionts’ assessment.

At UIC, Business Administration faculty is broken into four categories – professor, associate professor, assistant professor and lecturer. Average salaries are roughly $161,000, $121,000, $112,000 and $72,000, respectively.

For UIC’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, average salary ranges from roughly $68,000 to $120,000 with the low end representing assistant professor salaries, and the high end for tenured professors. Lecturers bring in an average of $36,121 per year.

For DePaul’s equivalent, it’s safe to assume from comments from Zionts and Johnson that all professors on the tenure track in the schools that aren’t the College of Law or the Driehaus College of Business are making similar rates to UIC’s professors. Lecturers, similar to our nontenured track teachers, are clearly making far less.

DePaul vs. Loyola

Perhaps professors are making salaries on-par with other Chicagoland schools, but DePaul’s top-earners are far more comfortable than those from our Catholic neighbors to the north at Loyola University.

Loyola’s highest-paid employee, according to its 2012 IRS 990 filing, is Richard Gamelli, senior vice president and provost for Health Science with reportable compensation of $609,293.

For the rest of the highest earners, most fall within the $300,000 to $400,000 range, significantly less than DePaul’s top faculty.

While most positions are difficult to compare, as they’re not the same from school to school, Loyola shares salary information on its 990 for its College of Arts and Science dean, College of Business dean and its highest-paid professor, as does DePaul.

Charles Suchar, College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences dean at DePaul, had a reported income of $351,497 in 2011. Loyola’s equivalent, former dean Francis Fennell Jr., made $240,262, which is 31.6 percent less.

Ray Whittington, Driehaus College of Business dean makes it into DePaul’s top 10 earners with $410,276 in 2011. Loyola School of Business former dean Abolhassan Jalilvand made $270,318, which is 31.9 percent less than Dean Whittington.

Loyola’s John Frendreis, political science professor, is the only professor to appear on its 990 with a reported income of $223,883, a far cry from DePaul’s Professor Shilling.

Basketball salaries

A Deadspin infographic from May of this year caught people’s attention on the Internet when it showed the highest paid public employee in each state – a college football or basketball coach in 38 states.

While the Deadspin map only took into account public universities, private universities aren’t exempt from the criticism – at D1 schools, head coaches for the schools’ main sport most times outrank all other faculty members in pay.

Within DePaul, both men’s and women’s head basketball coaches fall within the top three earning employees. Athletic Director Jean Lenti-Ponsetto doesn’t fall into the top ten earners but isn’t far behind with an annual total salary of $382,792.

When DePaul brought Purnell to the school in 2010 to help turn the men’s basketball team around, he came at a much higher price than former men’s coach Jerry Wainwright. According to DePaul’s 2011 IRS 990 filing, Wainwright had a total compensation of $1,121,619.

For a basketball team voted last in the Big East by the conference’s coaches, Purnell’s compensation doesn’t quite match – DePaul’s coach ranks as the No. 3 highest-paid head coach in the new Big East, behind only Georgetown’s John Thompson III bringing in $2.7 million and Villanova’s Jay Wright with a salary of $2.5 million, according to both schools’ 2012 IRS 990 filings.

While Purnell’s salary may seem steep, the men’s basketball coach makes significant revenue each year. During the 2011-12 school year, the men’s basketball team had revenue of $6.6 million, according to the Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool through the U.S. Department of Education. The team made more than all other men’s and women’s teams, excluding women’s basketball, combined.

“I’m not surprised…but I’m surprised at how much it is, $2.2 million. That’s a lot,” Jacob Rothman, a freshman studying health science, said regarding Purnell’s salary. “But I’m not surprised that the basketball (coach) is making more. I don’t think it’s right, but I’m not surprised. It’s a D1 school.”

About the Writer
Courtney Jacquin, Editor in Chief

Courtney was editor in chief in 2014-2015. Before that Courtney was the Managing Editor and Arts & Life Editor. You can follow her on twitter @courtneyjacquin

2 Comments

2 Responses to “DePaul faculty salaries uncovered”

  1. Anonymous on March 3rd, 2015 10:39 am

    DePaul’s Employees make more than Loyola’s because DePaul claims it is a non-profit, which allows it to be exempt from some taxes. This allows it to benefit insiders and the owner of DePaul. DePaul doesn’t have to disclose this because it is a private university. The term non-profit has become a marketing tool used by private universities in order to evade regulations, respond to low recuitment, and,in the end, gain personally.

    Understand where your tuition is going..

  2. Jessica Markum on May 23rd, 2015 7:40 am

    Hmmm…you must have graduated from Loyola. Loyola is a non-profit like DePaul and nearly very other University. Not all employees are paid more. most University staff are pretty similar across the Universities. As far as faculty,,, you get what you pay for…

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DePaul faculty salaries uncovered