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California State University Board of Trustees to Update Compensation Policy
Executive salary increases to be considered

(Sept. 7, 2007) - The CSU Board of Trustees will consider two items affecting compensation for campus presidents and systemwide executives at its meeting on September 18-19, according to the meeting agenda published today.  The first resolution would update the Trustees’ formal policy for executive compensation and the second would implement salary increases for campus presidents and systemwide executives for the 2007-08 year.

“These items are in line with the Trustees’ commitment to the highest possible level of transparency on executive compensation and our multi-year plan to ensure excellence at CSU by providing more competitive compensation for all employees,” said Roberta Achtenberg, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees.  “The marketplace has become increasingly competitive for experienced professors and administrators, and CSU must be in a position to attract and retain top talent to help meet our core mission.” 

According to the board action item, the salary lag between CSU executives and those at the 20 institutions historically used for comparison by the California Postsecondary Education Commission increased from 42.3 to 46 percent between 2005 and 2006.  To help close this gap, the trustees will consider salary increases averaging 11.8 percent.  Individual increases are based on “performance, complexity of assignment, years of executive experience, advancement of campus and institution goals, leadership within the CSU system and national settings and market competition.”

“This proposal recognizes some of the inequities in our current presidential salary structure, including the generally lower salaries paid to our longest-serving presidents and the unique challenges faced by presidents at our largest campuses,” said Achtenberg.  “While the proposed salary increase would not close the salary lag for executives by an amount proportionate to what has been achieved for other employee classifications this year, it will prevent us from losing more ground and help meet our goal of reducing salary lags for all employee classifications by 2010-11.”

Closing all employee salary lags – within resources provided by the California Legislature and generated through student fees – is a key focus of a five-year plan endorsed by the Trustees in 2005.  The faculty contract approved in May, for example, would reduce the lag for CSU faculty from 15.2 percent in 2006-07 to between 1.5 and 4.5 percent in 2010-11, depending on funding provided by the legislature, and assuming a 3 percent market increase.

The Trustees also will consider adopting a formal policy on executive compensation.  The proposed policy would establish that the target for executive salaries is the average of the CPEC comparison institutions to be achieved by 2010-11.  The same CPEC average salary is also the target for faculty.  In addition, the policy would reaffirm the Trustees’ criteria for determining individual salary increases, including a formal and rigorous review process for executives. 

The board action items may be found in the September 18-19 meeting’s Committee on University and Faculty Personnel section at

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 417,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 86,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity, and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See


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Last Updated: Sept. 7, 2007

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