New UAlbany president

robert jones ualbanyUAlbany announced today that the SUNY Board has appointed Robert J. Jones as the university's next president. He's currently a VP in the University of Minnesota system. He'll start at the beginning of 2013.

Jones' background is as a scientist. From the UAlbany press release online:

A native of Dawson, Georgia, Dr. Jones has more than three decades of higher education leadership experience as well as academic expertise spanning plant physiology and urban and international development. He earned a bachelor's degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State College, a Master of Science degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. After earning the Ph.D., he joined the University of Minnesota faculty as a professor of agronomy and plant genetics. He is an internationally recognized authority on plant physiology and has published numerous scientific papers, manuscripts and abstracts. His research focuses on the role of cytokinins in stabilizing grain yields of maize against environmental stresses and global climate change. Over his career, he has trained many students who have gone on to leading careers in higher education and research.

Jones will be paid $385,000 plus "a supplement of $110,000" from the SUNY Research Foundation, along with a $60,000 housing allowance. George Philip, UAlbany's current president, got $281,230 in 2011, according to SeeThroughNY. (Philip also has a large pension from his time as head of the New York State Teachers' Retirement System.)

As Nick points out, Jones is a bit of a surprise pick (publicly, at least) -- his name wasn't on the list of finalists leaked to the Times Union in July.

George Philip has served as UAlbany president since 2007, first as interim president, then in a permanent role starting in 2009. The school announced last November that Philip was retiring.

photo via UAlbany


A total compensation package of $555,000 annually (not to mention generous benefits)? The students and faculty should be screaming bloody murder. This is for running one state university, not the whole university system, or a giant corporation, or the State of New York.

To put this in perspective, Gov. Cuomo makes $179,000.

$495,000 plus $60,000 for housing. Is it really necessary for UAlbany to pay a higher salary than the president of the United States receives? Nobody willing to work for $300,000?

Bob Jones got the job because John Smith turned it down.

I agree that half a million dollars is a lot of money. In comparison to one local private university, however, Jones' reported compensation is a bargain: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute president Shirley Ann Jackson's 2009 total compensation was $1,771,877, according to an AOA post last year.

Looking at the compensation another way: RPI's cost of its president's compensation per student is $256. The University at Albany's is $33 per student.

Also -- I hope the UAlbany faculty keep this princely salary in mind when they finally vote on their UUP contract that will certainly include years of no raises and diminished benefits like all the other public employee contracts.

Hopefully this guy will bring something new to the table.

Things were really looking up under Kermit Hall imo. It led to years of stagnation when he died.

A few observations about Jones - he did all his schooling and work at public universities. I can get behind that! Also, he studies plants. Landscaping at UAlbany consists of basically a splattering of weeds growing out of concrete blocks. I hope he can work on that! I, for one, welcome our new robot overloads. ;)

It's stunning that a national search was held and the new President, who will be a state employee, did not ever have any meetings with the campus community, save for private sessions (one assumes) with the search committee. The entire process was shrouded in secrecy and the decision to hire Jones was left to a small handful of people who were not elected to represent the students, faculty, or staff.

The salary is frightfully high--even by the standards of our current President.

And chrisck is right, the faculty union is certain to get a contract filled with furloughs and higher medical costs. Morality will continue to plummet. UAlbany students will continue to pay more and get less.

The secretive search process, which all but shut out faculty and students, and the reports of this astronomical salary and benefit package all make it very hard for the UAlbany community to welcome this as good news.

Dr. Jones could go a long way toward restoring trust and confidence in UA's leadership if he started out by reversing the most egregious decisions of the previous administration -- the deactivation of five programs and the hikes in tuition.

Is no one going to make the Bob Jones University joke? No one?

"Morale" I meant....

Although, the ethics and morals of many within the campus administration seem pretty dreadful too.....

Well, he doesn't appear to be an empty suit or a brainless jock. If he has any sense at all of the academic mission of the university he'll represent an improvement over the status quo. That said, the salary is absurd. While it may buy him a mega-mansion, it will cost him credibility amongst the faculty and students.

Glad someone's going to profit off the huge waste of time that college education has become, since it's sure as hell not going to be the students.

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