Regents to review, decide on goals for UT System presidents’ pay-for-performance bonuses at meeting

Alexa Ura

During its upcoming meeting Thursday, the UT System Board of Regents is expected to consider approving recommended goals that the presidents of the System’s nine academic and six health institutions must meet to earn 10 percent pay-for-performance bonuses the board approved earlier this year.

In a September email obtained by The Daily Texan through an open records request, Pedro Reyes, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, asked each UT System president to propose performance criteria for the bonuses to be based on, including three or four incentive pay plan goals and proposals for incentive payments, by Oct. 1.

Recommended performance goals, which should be closely tied to each president’s role as the institution’s leader, include increasing degree completion rates, four-year graduation rates, philanthropy and degree affordability, Reyes stated in the email.

During its August meeting, the board approved a proposal for bonuses equal to 10 percent of each president’s base salary that could reach a peak of 15 percent if all goals are met or surpassed.

UT President William Powers Jr. is one of the nation’s highest paid educational executives and is the highest paid academic president in the UT System.

Last year, Powers earned $613,612 in base salary, and his total compensation was almost $150,000 more than his base salary. From base salary and the bonus alone, Powers could earn between $674,973 and $705,653 under the new plan.

In a recent interview with The Daily Texan, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said the UT regents are also expected to vote during the upcoming meeting on what percentage of each president’s salary the bonus will be tied to.

Cigarroa said the incentive pay plan would provide more fair compensation for already well-compensated presidents because one-time pay outs would be based on year-to-year performance instead of permanent increases to base salaries.

“This is a two-way street in the sense that the presidents submit goals of what they’d like to accomplish over the year and likewise we can provide some direction,” Cigarroa said.

In his email, Reyes stated incentive accomplishments could be measured over a one-year or three-year period, depending on whether each goal is short-term or long-term. Presidents will receive incentive awards annually at the end of every performance cycle, according to an outline of the incentive pay plan sent to UT System presidents.

Pay-for-performance bonuses are common in the business sector, and the incentive pay plan, which received support from the Texas Association of Business and the Texas Public Policy Foundation in the past, falls in line with one of the nine pillars that make up Cigarroa’s Framework for Advancing Excellence, a UT System action plan adopted last year.

The regents will meet Thursday.

Printed on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 as: Goals, incentive pay up for review

Incentive Plan Letter

Incentive Plan