Letter to faculty and staff from Board Chairman Roland H. Bauer
The following letter from Board Chairman Roland H. Bauer concerning President Wilson's extended appointment as President was distributed to University employees on October 11, 2017.During the last several weeks, The University of Akron Board of Trustees met with representatives of internal and external constituency groups, including a wide and diverse group of community leaders, to consider whether the Board should initiate a search for a new president. The Board has taken this responsibility quite seriously and constituency groups with which the Board met include: deans; academic department chairs and school directors; the Faculty Senate; the Akron Chapter of the American Association of University Professors; senior administrators; the Contract Professionals Advisory Committee; the Staff Employees Advisory Committee; student representatives; and, community leaders. These meetings were conducted in keeping with the Board’s pledge, made at the time that it removed the "Interim" designation from President Wilson’s title during a special meeting of the Board on October 19, 2016, to consult with constituency groups no later than June 30, 2018.
Roland H. Bauer
As noted in late August, the Board remains very pleased with President Wilson’s stewardship of our University and believes that now – with President Wilson having been in office since initially being appointed in July 2016 – is an appropriate time to perform this assessment.
While identifiable comments from specific constituencies must remain confidential, as the comments were provided in executive session, I can report that there was an overwhelming consensus expressed by all of the constituencies that President Wilson is the right person at the right time to serve as UA’s leader and that we should not conduct a presidential search. In addition, the suggestion was made that the Board should seek to ensure that President Wilson remain as President for a significant period of time, along with the observation that his overall compensation level is significantly below that of presidents of public institutions of higher education in Ohio.
Taking all of this important feedback into account, today the Board of Trustees extended President Wilson’s contract through June 30, 2023. While continuing its policy – at President Wilson’s request – not to provide the range of "perks" normally associated with a university presidency (housing or housing allowance, automobile, club memberships, etc.), the Board is raising his base compensation to $450,000 annually, along with an annual $20,000 in deferred compensation, and an opportunity to be considered annually for up to a $50,000 performance-based bonus beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year. This represents a compensation level that is appropriate, but still well below the total compensation packages for other university presidents in Ohio.
It is important to note that The University of Akron Foundation has advised this Board that it concurs with the views of the Board and the constituency groups, and it wishes to acknowledge the exceptional work that President Wilson has performed in engaging alumni, donors and the community, and in increasing donations and gifts to the University. As a result, the Foundation has offered, and the Board graciously accepts, the Foundation’s generous offer to provide annually the additional funding necessary to pay for the difference between the former and new amounts of President Wilson’s base salary, as well as the annual amount of deferred compensation.
We view this process and the action we have taken today as in line with the "Stabilize, Invest and Grow" plan that President Wilson has outlined for the University. He clearly has led the way to stabilize the University in terms of its reputation, its finances, its enrollment, its donations and its relationships with its many stakeholders. We believe that now is the time to invest in President Wilson and in the University so that we are best positioned to grow as we move forward.
I want to thank all who provided comment and input to this presidential assessment process. Collectively, we have reached the conclusion that best serves the entire University community.
Roland H. Bauer, Chair
The University of Akron Board of Trustees