All Posts Tagged With: "Stephen Toope"
What students are talking about today (April 5th)
1. A new database from the Vancouver Sun shows the salaries of all public sector employees in British Columbia who earned more than $75,000 in 2011-12. The University of British Columbia dominates the first few pages of the post-secondary salaries section. Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia, was the highest paid at $531,088. The University of Victoria’s David Turpin was the second-highest-paid president on the list (and fifth overall) at $430,760. Simon Fraser University’s Andrew Petter took home $396,837. The University of Northern British Columbia’s George Iwama made $273,488. Ontario’s public salary disclosure recently revealed that the highest paid president in that province is Amit Chakma of Western University, who earned $479,600 plus benefits in 2012.
2. Montreal police are defending the decision to charge a 20-year-old student protester with criminal harassment after she posted an image of graffiti on Instagram. The image Jennifer Pawluck shared showed police spokesperson Ian Lafreniere with bullet hole in his head. The arrest drew outrage along the lines of, “arrested for taking a photo!?” Police say there’s more to the story.
What students are talking about today (April 4th)
1. Queen’s University instructed security officers to rip down a free speech wall in a student centre because it “allegedly included language that constituted hate speech,” according to an official press release. A video of a blonde-haired officer removing the banner has been widely-viewed on YouTube. The wall, little more than paper with words scribbled on it, was encouraged by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms and erected by the local group Queen’s Students for Liberty. What exactly was so offensive is unclear, but it was bad enough that the administration chose to act. “Queen’s recognizes the right of free speech, but appreciates too the limits on free speech. Hate speech and racial slurs have no place on our campus,” wrote Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) in the statement. The Alma Mater Society, which owns the space, put out a statement too. “Queen’s Students for Liberty was given an opportunity to remove these two denigrating comments, and return the space to one of inclusive, free dialogue for all,” wrote president Doug Johnson. “When the club failed to act, the offensive material was removed.” A free speech wall erected at Carleton University in January was torn down by a student who claimed it was anti-gay.
2. Speaking of free speech and hate speech, students at Towson University in Maryland are fighting back against a white supremacist group’s declaration that it will start “night patrols” on campus. At a student-organized rally, the university’s president praised efforts to peacefully oppose the White Student Union. Matt Heimbach, spokesman of white group, told ABC News he believes multiculturalism is being forced on America. Yes, this is really happening in 2013.
3. Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia, annouced Wednesday that he will step down in 2014 and then he gave an interview to The Ubyssey student newspaper. Heather Munroe-Blum, principal of the equally well-respected McGill University, who is also stepping down, did an exit interview of sorts with campus media too. The differences between the questions student reporters asked are a reminder of the contrast between generally sunny UBC students and the almost endlessly antagonistic McGill crowd. McGill student reporters asked questions like, “How can McGill say that it’s part of Quebec, and, at the same time, call tuition fees sacred?” and “Do you think [the police] could have had different tactics?” Meanwhile, at UBC, The Ubyssey reporter asked Toope questions like, “Do you think raising UBC to a global level is one of your core achievements?” For the record, I think it’s obvious that both Toope and Munroe-Blum have been strong leaders.
4. Bill Clinton told reporters ahead of a meeting with student leaders that he sees the cost of college as a major problem. “We can’t continue to see the cost of education go up every decade when wages are flat,” he told Inside Higher Education. “I think the only sustainable answer is to find a less expensive delivery system,” he added, saying the next step is, “for someone to certify what you need to know and then figure out some way of validating the merits of these online courses.”
5. The University of Calgary Dinos sports teams have unveiled a new logo, which is, obviously, a dinosaur. More interesting is that Calgary also announced a five-year partnership that will put Nike swooshes on uniforms. Speaking of corporate sponsorship deals, the Petro Canada Hall at Memorial University in Newfoundland has been renamed for Suncor Energy, which donated $50,000, reports The Muse student newspaper. There once was a time when there would be major outcries against corporate sponsorship deals on campus. Apparently that’s no longer the case.
Five things students are talking about today (February 27th)
1. Research from the University of Guelph has shown that university arts majors and those in similar college programs are generally slower to pay off student loans than business, health and engineering students, even when starting salaries are controlled for. Sociologist David Walters, one of the researchers behind the study, said it’s unclear why, though his theories include “lack of numeracy” and less “life-planning skills” among arts types. I’d lean toward the life-planning skills—they did choose arts degrees, after all. And considering how critical of capitalism the arts tend to be, they’re probably more resentful about having to pay them back and more likely to want to stick it to the man by paying as slowly as possible. It makes sense. In Quebec it’s arts students who encouraged everyone to skip school and demand free tuition. (Disclaimer: I have an arts degree.)
2. A Ryersonian editorial gives two thumbs up to Tim Hudak’s plan to invest more in degrees that lead to jobs. The Ontario Progressive Conservative leader’s Path to Prosperity White Paper suggests financial aid be based on students’ choices of programs. “Decisions about who should receive loans,” it reads, “should involve assessments of future employability and reward good academic behaviour.” Naturally this led to a backlash from those in fields where degrees don’t (directly) lead to jobs, including from Professor Pettigrew. The Ryersonian says agriculture, fashion, family studies, theatre, philosophy, anthropology, archeology and political science should get less money while science, technology, engineering and math should get more.
Andrew Petter’s role is not to innovate but to simply manage
I just finished up my work for the Christmas holidays by interviewing Stephen Toope, UBC’s President, for a good hour or so. He conducts an annual interview with the student media each year, and it’s always a valuable opportunity to examine the mindset of a man leading of one of Canada’s largest universities.
Right now, UBC is moving forward on a number of “big picture” items: governance of lands, a new strategic plan, sustainability partnerships with Vancouver , and Toope is going about it confidently. But that’s to be expected. He’s been President for nearly five years, and having been reappointed to another five-year term in the summer time, is intent on seeing his vision for the university come to fruition.
The conversation made me think of Metro Vancouver’s other university—Simon Fraser University—and its new President, Andrew Petter, a former provincial NDP cabinet minister. Despite 35,000 students and a good reputation for a institution only 45 years old, SFU plays York to UBC’s U of T—not so much second fiddle as not part of the national conversation. Petter’s arrival at SFU merited a small story from the Vancouver Sun, but otherwise, his first few months have merited little attention.
Will this change? The university is well suited for growth in the next few years: With a recent move to the NCAA, and the development of satellite campuses throughout the lower mainland, SFU is in a strong position, so Petter’s job in the coming years may be more of a managerial one than anything else.
I asked Sam Reynolds, an SFU journalist, about what effect, if any, Petter’s first semester as President has had on the Burnaby campus, and here’s what he had to say:
Petter steps into the shadow of former SFU President Michael Stevenson. Under Stevenson, SFU continued to move away from relative isolation on Burnaby Mountain to being a vibrant part of the Metro Vancouver community with the extensive expansion of the University through openings of three new campuses. Stevenson inherited a University plagued with problems after a tumultuous decade, from academic program cutbacks and budget shortfalls to a long running sexual harassment case involving a swimming coach and a Science undergrad turned Fox News contributor.
Overall the student body of SFU as a whole has been rather blasé about the change in guard.
The only real challenge Petter has faced in his inaugural term is that of a negative response by student activists to a donation to SFU’s Woodward’s campus by Vancouver based gold producer, Goldcorp. These activists claim that Goldcorp has a rather sordid history of human rights abuses through their mining operations in the Global South and this donation is merely an attempt to distract the public and repair their image. Despite this manufactured activism, the student body as a whole is rather indifferent and nonchalant about the subject.
Petter has inherited a University that substantially redeveloped itself during the last decade. Petter’s role will not be to innovate, but to manage. SFU will face considerable, though not serious, financial pressure during the next decade and if Petter brings the University through this turbulent time unscathed he can call his term a success.
Pay packages appear to be bigger out West — but that may be because BC and Alberta disclosure is more honest
Aspiring university presidents and senior academics looking to maximize their market value may want to look to Western Canada, where the leading universities appear to be offering their top executives compensation superior to that offered in the rest of Canada.
According to the most recent salary disclosures, at least six Western Canadian university administrators are making more than Ontario’s most highly paid university president, McMaster University’s Peter George. In 2008, George reported salary and benefits worth $534,000. During the 2007-08 fiscal year, four senior executives at the University of Alberta, including the president, were paid more. Indira Samarasekera, the U of A’s president, received salary and benefits worth $627,000. Her number two, provost Carl Amrhein, earned $618,000. Two other executives at the U of A earned more: Phyllis Clark, VP of finance and administration, received total compensation worth $654,000 and Don Hickey, VP of facilities and operations, received $668,000.
The president of the University of Calgary, Harvey Weingarten, earned $557,000 in total compensation in 2008. Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia, received total compensation worth $579,000.
In Ontario, the next highest paid president after McMaster’s George is Waterloo’s David Johnston; in 2008, he received $488,000 in total compensation. The third most highly paid Ontario president was York University’s Mamdouh Shoukri at $464,000.
The pay seems higher out West — and that is in part due to the stated objective of some Western universities to offer executive pay that meets or exceeds what’s offered by top institutions in the rest of Canada and the United States. For example, UBC explicitly benchmarks its president’s salary against those peers. “UBC is one of the highest ranked universities in Canada, and one of the top 40 universities in the world,” says the university’s statement on senior administrator compensation. “As such, UBC seeks to retain and attract the best senior administrators it can by remaining competitive in its compensation practices with other large research-intensive universities represented by the G13 (i.e., leading research-intensive universities in Canada), and in particular the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta, and with the global market for senior administrator talent generally.”
David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto, reported $430,000 in total compensation in the most recent year: $380,000 in salary and $50,000 in benefits.
The pay packages appear to be larger out West, but that may be partly an accounting wrinkle: compensation disclosure by Alberta and BC universities is more honest and complete. In Ontario, as in BC and Alberta, executives must report base salary and other compensation. However, Alberta and BC appear to be fully (or at least more fully) expensing the cost of their senior administrators’ supplemental pension payments, whereas Ontario’s salary disclosure does not appear to include this. Pension costs are not cash payments made in 2008, but rather the estimated present cost of the pension benefits earned in 2008. Many Canadian administrators are going to get large pensions on retirement, the cost of which in the present is substantial, and should be recorded and disclosed. Out West, it is.
For example, U of A president Samarasekera’s total compensation of $627,000 exceed that of every Ontario university president. However, her base salary of $436,000 is less than the base pay given to the top three Ontario presidents. What puts her total compensation over the top is $191,000 in “other non-cash benefits.” The largest part of that is pension benefits. UBC’s compensation disclosure for president Toope breaks it down even further: $378,000 in salary, a bonus of $50,000, “other compensation” of $65,000 and pension expense of $85,000. Ontario’s Sunshine Law salary disclosure covers the first three of those items but does not appear to completely cover pension expenses.
For example, it was revealed last year that, on retirement, McMaster’s George is set to receive a golden handshake of $1.4 million, paid out at the rate of $99,999/year for 14 years. This does not appear to have ever been accounted for in McMaster’s disclosures under Ontario’s Sunshine List. (It is not clear how such a payment — which McMaster does not consider a pension — would be treated by Alberta or BC compensation disclosure requirements). Nor does it appear that Peter George’s supplemental pension benefits have been disclosed as completely as those of his Alberta and BC peers. McMaster’s Sunshine Law disclosure says that George received salary of $524,000 and “taxable benefits” of less than $10,000. It seems a safe bet that the cost of his various pension and other benefits is considerably larger than this, but Ontario’s transparency law does not require quite as much transparency as BC and Alberta.
Comparing “total compensation” at Alberta/BC universities with those in Ontario is thus not always an entirely equivalent comparison, as it may somewhat understate the compensation of Ontario administrators. (That wording is deliberately chosen: it’s not that Alberta and BC are overstating executive compensation, but rather that Ontario is understating it). The bottom line, however, is that senior administrators in Alberta and BC are well paid, and at top universities, senior executives’ salaries compete with what is offered by leading universities in Ontario. No matter how you slice it, Western presidents aren’t getting short changed. For example, in 2008, U of A president Samarasekera’s total compensation rose 6.1 per cent.
(Ontario presidents aren’t exactly suffering, either).
And what about those senior execs at the U of A who earned more than the president? The university’s annual report explains that “in the current year, certain individuals became eligible for an additional six month professional leave. Included in non-cash benefits is the equivalent of an additional six months salary for Vice-President Finance and Administration ($176,000) and Vice-President Facilities Operations ($179,000).”
The two VPs, Clark and Hickey, were not paid those benefits in 2009 — but, in another act of Western accounting honesty, the university calculated and reported the cost of their six month leaves (which they will take later, perhaps after retirement) on its 2008 statement of executive compensation.