UND faculty, admin salaries lag behind peers in region, U.S.

Staff and faculty pay at UND is still below the regional and national average, despite efforts to make it more comparable to other schools. The average salary for UND faculty members is $89,745, which is more than $9,000 below the national averag...

1251205+Professor pay.jpg
Speaker at Business Conference and Presentation. File Photo.




Staff and faculty pay at UND is still below the regional and national average, despite efforts to make it more comparable to other schools.

The average salary for UND faculty members is $89,745, which is more than $9,000 below the national average for public, private and religious institutions, as calculated by the American Association of University Professors.


Salary data obtained by the Herald encompasses administrators and academic employees and is current as of late August. It does not include technical, office and trade employees, student employees or temporary employees. It also does not include benefits.

The average is different than some numbers reported by other entities because it was calculated without weighting or including benefits. The salaries also include nine-, 10-, 11- and 12-month contracts.

Vice President for Finance and Operations Alice Brekke said UND has been trying for about a decade to bring salaries up to a comparable level and attract quality faculty.

“There has been a concern about faculty salaries over an extended period of time and there has been a great deal of progress made in closing the gap between the actual average on this campus and the national averages we compare to,” she said.

Faculty pay

The average UND faculty salary is much closer in line with schools in this part of the country. UND employees make about $1,000 less than the average pay at other doctoral universities in the AAUP’s West North Central region, which covers Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The highest-paid faculty member is School of Medicine and Health Sciences Chairman Robert Sticca, who makes $473,963. Director of the Rural Surgical Support Program Mary Aaland comes in second with $405,000 and Chairwoman Mary Sens makes the third most at $370,260.

The top 14 highest-paid faculty members all work at the medical school and some of them receive a percentage of their salary from various health care systems in the state. Sticca and Aaland receive 48 and 60 percent, respectively, of their salary from clinical work, so without that contribution, Sens is the highest-earning faculty member.


The only faculty member not involved with the med school to crack the 15 highest paid is Professor Paul Lebel, who has served as dean and provost throughout his time at UND. He earns $227,250.

UND splits instructional employees into groups based on experience and academic accomplishment. Assistant professors are typically entry-level faculty members, an associate professor is one step up from that, and the final rung of that ladder is a full professor. Instructors and lecturers are hired based on their experience to teach classes specific to their area of expertise.

UND spokesman Peter Johnson, who is also technically a lecturer for public relations classes, said moving up in the ranks is a peer-reviewed process that requires demonstrating success in teaching and gaining recognition for research, scholarly activity or creative achievements. The tenure process is separate from moving up in faculty rank, but is sometimes done at the same time.

The average salary for full professors is $118,221 while associate professors make an average of $91,357. Assistant professors make $78,360 on average and instructors make $50,726, according to calculations by the Herald. Some employees, however, hold multiple titles and would make more as a chair of a department and professor than simply holding the professor title alone.

Compared to AAUP salary averages, full and assistant professors and instructors make less than the national average at all public, private and religious institutions. Associate professors make slightly more.

The biggest gap is with full professors, who on average make about $20,000 less than the national average.

Johnson said becoming chair of a department often comes with a salary increase but it varies across campus, as some are appointed to the position on a rotating basis and others are elected for a set number of years.

Administrative pay


Average administrator salary is $143,649, which is almost $54,000 more than the average faculty salary.

Associate Dean Randy Eken of the School of Medicine said this is partially skewed because the highest paid administrator at UND, med school Dean Joshua Wynne, receives 19 percent of his $654,940 salary from both Altru Health System and Sanford Health.

In fact, several employees receive money from various health care systems because they’re encouraged to continue practicing medicine while teaching. Wynne, a cardiologist, is one of several who have chosen to do so.

“We decide up front how much we need from a teaching component. … The rest is up to the faculty member to really go out and have that practice,” Eken said.

Eken also said about a decade ago, salaries at the med school were about 15 to 20 percent below the American Association of Medical College’s national averages. The school is now about 8 percent below average.

“We really do have outstanding faculty and staff and we owe it to the medical students and health professional students to recruit the best faculty,” he said. “We recruit nationally of course and compete nationally.”

Brekke said administrator salaries vary because some are more competitive than others.

“If you start talking about director-level and above, those are nationally competitive positions, so we are benchmarking nationally,” she said. “There isn’t a good way to really generalize. Some are competitive but others not so much.”


After Wynne, the highest-paid administrators fall in line with their rank at the school.

President Robert Kelley makes $350,265 and Provost Thomas DiLorenzo makes $288,750. Brekke comes in third and makes $276,861.

Kelley’s salary is $74,735 lower than the median salary reported for that position at doctoral universities, according to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

Several program directors and managers, some of whom work at the med school location in Bismarck, fall under the “faculty” umbrella but are listed as directors, program managers, assistant and associate deans.

That group makes $151,829 on average.

A slow process

According to the school’s 2013 Annual Financial Report, UND has spent between 65 and 70 percent of its budget on salaries annually since 2010.

Brekke said they’ve managed to increase some salaries incrementally over time through reallocation of resources. As of the last North Dakota legislative session, the law also requires state entities to increase employee salaries an average of 3 percent annually.


“It is a challenge because, quite honestly, the resources are limited,” she said.

Johnson said the school will continue to work toward offering nationally comparable salaries.

“We've been working on this for a number of years now and it’s not something you can address in one fell swoop,” he said.


Click here to see a list of UND faculty and administration salaries

What To Read Next
Get Local