Illinois State University’s Board of Trustees will vote Saturday on a new three-year contract for President Larry Dietz that includes a 7 percent raise and the possibility of annual bonuses.
If approved, the new contract would keep Dietz in place through June 2020. His base salary would rise to $375,000, with annual performance bonuses of up to $50,000 possible each year. Dietz’s initial contract—signed in March 2014—included a base salary of $350,000.
In January, trustees approved a 2 percent raise to a base of $357,012. That 2 percent conforms to raises given to faculty and other staff.
Trustees Chair Rocky Donahue said the increase for Dietz is reasonable.
"Over three years, it's a little more than 2 percent per year and in my opinion, President Dietz has done a phenomenal job," said Donahue.
Donahue said it's possible that the last three years have been some of the most challenging in the university's history.
If Dietz earns all the performance bonuses his pay would rise to nearly the same level as last year's pay for the presidents of Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois universities.
"Northern Illinois University's base was $450,000. SIU's base was $430,000 and then President Dietz' new base will be $370,000. But we've changed what I call the compensation model," said Donahue.
The University of Illinois' president remains the top paid public university leader in the state at more than $600,000.
The performance-based bonuses could make Dietz's raise up to 21 percent.
Donahue said the performance-based incentives, or at-risk pay structure, is based on compensation for the president of Purdue University. He said ISU trustees are sensitive to the perception of cost increases in higher education being driven by administrative growth.
"By no means do I want to say it's all Larry Dietz. Of course he benefits from the entire team. And of course he benefits from a quality staff. But that's part of being a good leader, recognizing that staff, hiring that right staff," said Donahue.
Dietz has overseen several years of record enrollment and strong fundraising at ISU since taking over for former President Tim Flanagan, who was forced out after a brief, rocky tenure. He also played a leadership role among Illinois public university presidents during the state budget impasse.
Dietz’s new contract will also provide him with a work vehicle, continued occupancy of the University Residence, a country club membership, and around $48,000 in annual contributions to his retirement accounts.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect other university presidential base pay and Trustees Chair Rocky Donahue's comments.