Pay raises approved for UNC chancellors

Chart of UNC chancellor raises approved by Board of Governors Friday, July 29.
Chart of UNC chancellor raises approved by Board of Governors Friday, July 29.

The UNC Board of Governors approved 2016-2017 salary increases for 16 UNC-system chancellors Friday, with raises ranging from 1.5 to 16.1 percent.

The raises include a 1.5 percent raise granted to state employees through the state budget. Just one of the six lowest paid chancellors will receive an increase above 1.5 percent. Chancellors already making the most money got some of the largest raises.

UNC-Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois will be paid $450,000. His 16.1 percent pay raise amounts to $56,688.

Randy Woodson of N.C. State and Carol Folt of UNC-Chapel Hill rank first and second in overall salary. They received the second highest raises at 4.6 percent, along with N.C. Central Chancellor Debra Saunders-White.

UNC President Margaret Spellings said raises were awarded based on comparisons with other institutions rather than individual performance. After comparing chancellor salaries with those of other states, the Board of Governors determined a market range for a position and tried to place a chancellor within that range.

“These ranges are based on what it takes to be competitive to fill these positions, not about a particular individual,” Spellings said. “However, these performance discussions, we will tie to the strategic plan, as it’s developed. The board is very much eager to get to an approach that’s more outcome-oriented as opposed to just basically staying up with their market.”

Spellings said the raises are intended to serve as a major step in offering chancellors competitive market salaries.

With the raises, 14 of 17 chancellors fit within the market range for their position, while a market range for one was not determined. That leaves Folt and Woodson as the only chancellors still shy of their desired ranges. Woodson’s final approved salary is $617,376, while Folt’s is $596,448.


The Board of Governors discussed chancellor raises Friday morning in a two-hour closed session meeting.

Last year, the board approved chancellor raises in a closed session rather than an open one and then refused to release information about the new salaries, saying the chancellors hadn’t yet been informed. Backlash from legislators and members of the news media followed.

This year, the Board of Governors released a chart showing the chancellors’ raises immediately after the closed-session meeting. Following a news conference about the salaries, a public comment period was provided.

Lou Bissette, chairman of the UNC board, said he has worked with the board to increase transparency.

“We learned a lot of lessons last year, and I think this board is now moving towards more transparency in just about everything we do ... We’ve determined that we didn’t do it correctly last year, but we think we did this year,” Bissette said.

But like last year, the discussions took place behind closed doors.

Bissette declined to describe the conversations taht took place during closed session. Spellings added that such information wouldn’t be released because the meeting “was about personnel and legal matters.”

Spellings and Bissette estimated about half of the two-hour meeting involved discussing chancellor salaries. The other half included a briefing on House Bill 2 and a number of other personnel-related matters.

More raises, smaller increases

Twelve UNC-system chancellors received raises in 2015, ranging from 8 to 19 percent.

Woodson received a 13.5 percent increase last year, Folt 9.6 percent and Saunders-White 15.8 percent.

Though more chancellors are getting raises this year, the majority are exclusively through the 1.5 percent state lawmakers allocated in the state budget. Seven chancellors received additional salary increases.

The 2016-2017 raises, which are retroactive to July 1, will not be implemented until August.

Bryan Anderson: 919-829-8934, @BryanRAnderson

Raises for chancellors

Carol Folt, UNC-Chapel Hill: 4.6 percent, to $596,448

William Randolph Woodson, NC State: 4.6 percent, to $617,376

Philip Dubois, UNC-Charlotte: 16.1 percent, to $450,000

Cecil Staton, East Carolina: 0 percent, to $450,000

Franklin Gilliam, UNC-Greensboro: 1.5 percent, to $380,625

Harold Martin, NC A&T: 1.5 percent, to $365,400

Sheri Everts, Appalachian State: 3.1 percent, to $345,313

Debra Saunders-White, NC Central: 4.6 percent, to $345,313

David Belcher, Western Carolina: 3.1 percent, to $345,313

Jose Sartarelli, UNC-Wilmington: 1.5 percent, to $355,250

Mary Grant, UNC-Asheville: 1.5 percent, to $299,425

Thomas Conway, Elizabeth City State: 2.3 percent, to $276,250

James Anderson, Fayetteville State: 1.5 percent, to $329,875

Robin Cummings, UNC-Pembroke: 1.5 percent, to $284,200

Lindsay Bierman, UNC-School of the Arts: 1.5 percent, to $294,350

Elwood Robinson, Winston-Salem State: 1.5 percent, to $284,200

J. Todd Roberts, NC School of Science and Medicine: 1.5 percent, to $233,450

Source: UNC Board of Governors. Includes 1.5 percent statewide employee raises.