September 16, 2019 | 74° F

Rutgers administrators, top professors given $5.5 M. in 'incentive pay'

Photo by Garrett Steffe |

 President Robert L. Barchi's incentive pay is calculated differently than other faculty members at Rutgers because it is decided by the Board of Governors, who determine his work to see if he met the University's goals. 

Rutgers gave more than $5.5 million in “incentive pay” to approximately 700 top administrators and professors last year. The “at-risk” or “incentive pay” method for distributing payments based on their job performance is added on to their base salaries, according to an article by NJ Advance Media.

The additional checks ranged from less than $100 to $169,273, which were given to University President Robert L. Barchi. Barchi’s “incentive” pay is calculated differently, as it is determined by the Board of Governors, which evaluate his work and determine if he has met its goals. Like most top administrators, Barchi has incentive pay as a condition on his contract, according to the article. 

The rest of the top five incentive payouts were given to administrators from the medical school, according to the article. Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS), was paid the second most with $141,359. Three of the 4 medical school administrators had base salaries higher than Barchi’s $705,305, with Leonard Lee, chair of the Department of Surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (NJMS), making $1,891,500 in base pay alone along with $115,745 in “incentive” pay. 

Rutgers is among a growing number of higher education institutions to use the “incentive pay” programs to give employees financial rewards for meeting goals set by their bosses. The programs are similar to those used in private corporations, according to the article.

“Part of total compensation is considered guaranteed base and the remainder is designated as ‘at risk,' attainable by achieving annual goals,” Rutgers officials said in a statement. “This strategy is standard among businesses and other organizations focused on inspiring leaders and achieving excellence.”

The amount of administrators at the University was a concern raised by the Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) during its contract negotiations, The Daily Targum reported earlier this month. The part-time lecturers (PTL) bargaining team, who is still negotiating a contract, said it is the most affected by this issue. 

“At any university, the ratio of part-time faculty to full-time faculty directly affects the quality of education. The higher the ratio of contingent faculty, the more the students lose. Rutgers now has a ratio of 70% contingent faculty members,” said Teresa Politano, president of the PTL Faculty Chapter and PTL in the School of Communication and Information, in a statement to the Targum. 

Brendan Brightman

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