The top 20 highest-paid people at Kansas State all earn over $227,000 per year.
According to the K-State budget for this academic year, the highest-paid people at the university are April Mason, provost and senior vice president, and Interim President Gen. Richard Myers.
This year, Mason will earn $367,532 and Myers will earn $360,000.
Employees of K-State Athletics Inc., including John Currie, athletic director, and Bill Snyder, head football coach, are paid by Athletics and not the university. Athletics does not receive any funding from the university.
Top university administrators and college deans comprise the majority of the highest-paid faculty and staff at K-State.
Kevin Gwinner, dean of the College of Business Administration, and Darren Dawson, dean of the College of Engineering, tie for the highest-paid deans with each earning a salary of $316,200.
Philip Belley, professor of economics specializing in labor economics, said the reason for the high salaries was “simple.”
“There’s two things,” Belley said. “There’s the value of what they’re doing. And then there’s how much outside competition there is for these people.”
Belley also said department heads have added tasks and responsibilities that result in salary increases.
“As you get more responsibilities, you have to compensate people for that,” Belley said.
While some of the administrators, deans and department heads on the list may teach classes, only two of the top 20 serve only as professors: Jim Riviere, professor of anatomy and physiology, and Juergen Richt, professor of diagnostic medicine pathobiology.
Riviere earns $274,281 and Richt earns $237,606, which makes them the highest-paid faculty who are solely professors at the university.
Research usually brings money into the university through grants, Belley said, which can make top researchers more valuable.
“It turns out that people who are good at research, there’s lots of competition for them across universities and also private firms to get that kind of skills,” Belley said. “If you want to keep your people around, you need to pay them good money.”
Roberta Maldonado Franzen, director of talent acquisition for Human Capital Services, said the hiring process is similar for all positions at the university. Higher-level positions though may have public forums for the finalists.
Derek Smith, director of compensation and organizational effectiveness for Human Capital Services, agreed that competition with other universities causes salaries to be higher.
“With supply and demand, if other peers are paying a wage and we want to be competitive, we need to be within that range,” Smith said.
To determine the value of a position, Smith said his office looks at the ranges of other universities. The pay, he said, is based on the position.
“The skills and the job duties that are involved, you pay accordingly,” Smith said.
For lower faculty positions, though, Smith said “it has been a challenge” to have competitive salaries with other universities, especially K-State’s peer institutions.
“There’s a lot of colleges,” Belley said. “You have to think about who’s competing for these people.”
It is that competition and the value of the work that Belley said cause the higher salaries for the administrators and deans.
“It all comes down to what is the value of what they’re doing and how much your competing college is willing to pay for that,” Belley said. “That’s what’s going to set up the prices. Salaries are just prices.”
Top 20 Salaries
April Mason, provost and senior vice president: $367,532
Richard Myers, interim president: $360,000
Peter Dorhout, vice president of research: $320,000
Kevin Gwinner, dean of College of Business Administration: $316,200
Darren Dawson, dean of College of Engineering: $316,200
Tammy Beckham, dean of College of Veterinary Medicine: $295,840
John Floros, dean of College of Agriculture: $294,514
Ralph Richardson, interim dean and CEO of K-State Olathe: $276,200
Jim Riviere, professor of anatomy and physiology: $274,281
Bonnie Rush, associate dean of College of Veterinary Medicine: $270,000
Amitabha Chakrabarti, interim dean of College of Arts and Sciences: $251,200
Ruth Dyer, vice provost for academic affairs: $250,207
Brian Spooner, director of division of biology: $245,375
Juergen Richt, professor of diagnostic medicine pathobiology: $237,606
Cindy Bontrager, vice president of administration and finance: $235,000
Ronnie Elmore, associate dean of College of Veterinary Medicine: $232,018
Stephen Higgs, director of Biosecurity Research Institute: $230,273
Allen Featherstone, department head of agricultural economics: $230,000
Verna Fitzsimmons, dean of K-State Polytechnic: $228,745
Bradley Kramer, department head of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering: $227,395
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series analyzing the K-State budget and the salaries therein.