Launch into Leadership

Georgia State’s top paid faculty

The top 1% of Georgia citizens earns about 300,000 a year, while the top paid professor at Georgia State earns about 900,000 a year. Photo Illustration by Azam Lalani | The Signal

152 staff members at Georgia State had salaries over $200,000 in 2017. In addition to this salary, 10 staff members were reimbursed over $30,000 for travel expenses. This data was acquired through Open Georgia, a database for public records of employees of the state.

The average salary for university presidents is $287,143 and the maximum is $600,000. Georgia State President Mark Becker’s salary is closer to the maximum, at $578,639.

Becker was one of five university presidents to top $1,000,000 in pay in 2015, due to a salary bonus of $500,000 which doubled his pay according to an article published previously by The Signal.

One Georgia State professor, who requested to remain anonymous, commented on pay inequality at Georgia State specifically.

“Becker received a 100% raise when faculty received 0% for years. Do you think he’s worth it?” they said.

“This is a president who throws students out of meetings because their questions were not ‘vetted,’ puts his fist ‘thumbs down’ in the face of his Business School dean, who had the temerity to offer a view contrary to Mark’s in front of university chairs and wants to be addressed as ‘Mr. President.’”

In 2017, Ron Hunter, the head coach of the Georgia State Men’s Basketball Team, topped Becker slightly in salary.

At the top of the list, nearly breaking the $1 million mark, is Kumar Viswanathan, a regents professor at Georgia State, who procured $984,580 in the 2017 year.

Jenifer Shockley, the Assistant Director of Communications for the Robinson College of Business, gave a statement regarding Kumar’s compensation.

“Dr. V. Kumar was recruited to join Georgia State University in 2008 due to his standing as one of the world’s most prominent marketing researchers and his track record developing future scholars. In the decade since, his stature has risen even more and his presence on the faculty has attracted additional top researchers in other business disciplines,” Shockley said.

Marketing, as defined by the AMA, is Kumar’s expertise, demonstrated by his skill in creating value for himself and exchanging this for a high income at Georgia State.

“For the past four years he has ranked first worldwide among marketing scholars for productivity. Robinson’s Marketing Department is now ranked among the top 10 programs in the world for research productivity,” she said.

The top three earners at Georgia State had a combined salary of $2.1 million in 2017.

According to Andrea Jones, spokesperson for Georgia State, all three salaries are financed from different sources.

“Neither Coach Hunter nor Dr. Becker’s salaries come from tuition,” Jones said. “Hunter’s is 100 percent from Athletics funds. Dr. Becker’s compensation is a combination of state funds and Georgia State University Foundation funds. Dr. Kumar’s compensation is a combination of tuition funding and sponsored funding.”

In Georgia, the annual income required to be in the top one percent is $345,876. This puts all ten of Georgia State’s highest paid faculty well over the minimum.

“You should know that the first thing grant-getters do is to ‘buy’ themselves out of teaching,” the anonymous source said. “If the logic is that grant-supported research increases the knowledge of the faculty doing the research, but then they buy themselves out of teaching, how is this beneficial to students, other than the ones they hire to do much of the work for them?”

TOP 10 HIGHEST PAID GEORGIA STATE STAFF BY SALARY FOR FISCAL YEAR 2017:

  • Viswanathan Kumar $984,580.15
  • Ronald Eugene Hunter $598,250
  • Mark Becker $578,639.64
  • Trent Miles Gaylord $505,429.79
  • Arun Rai $466,110.65
  • Omesh Kini $443,200
  • Nathan Bennett $441,940.88
  • Vikas Agarwal $428,190.50
  • Risa Ileen Palm $413,751
  • D Richard Phillips $400,061.04

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