Cal Poly’s president’s salary highest in the CSU

January 25, 2011

Jeffrey Armstrong

The California State University Board of Trustees approved a $350,000 yearly salary for incoming Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong, making him the highest paid university president in the CSU system, at a board meeting on Tuesday night.

In addition to his salary, he is provided with housing.

Former Cal Poly President Warren Baker previously held the top paid president position at the CSU making $328,000 a year.

Meanwhile, Cal Poly has reduced its student body numbers because of budget constraints. At this time, university officials have not determined the number of applicants the university can admit in fall 2011, because the state will not provide budget numbers until February.

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Logic dictates that it is better the one get laid off for sake of twenty

That is 20 less people filing for unemployment and 20 less people going into foreclosure

And 20 more people to better serve the young children trying to get an education that they are paying quality money for.

@crusader…thanks for sharing your points on why you think Baker was a good Cal Poly president. I will refute a couple of points and then share my reasons why I think he was a not.

1. I agree that Cal Poly has many new facilities. However, this is not atypical of what has occurred in many other campuses (UC Davis, UCSB, UCLA, UCSD, UC Merced of course, Cal State Fullerton, and SDSU come to mind since I am most familiar with those CA public schools). I would only give credit to Baker for the facilities that were NOT funded through the chancellor’s office (such as Spanos stadium). But, I will concede that Baker did bring a lot of $$$ to the campus.

2. School curriculum…I am not sure what to make of your statement. So he cut the 3 year HVAC certificate program in the 80’s, and he cut the interior design program in the early 90’s. I can assure you that all program cuts stem from budget shortfalls and not “keeping pace with the hiring world’s demands”. To me, Baker was just doing the obvious here.

3. You made this point in one of your posts…”If I am to believe US News and World Report, CPSLO remains one of the finest universities in the USA…”…ah, no…you are misstating how the rankings are reported. US News and World Report qualifies their rankings based on the type of university. Cal Poly is lumped in the “Regional Universities”. US News does not have a comprehensive list. Princeton Review did not include CP in the top 373 universities, and Forbes ranked CP #202. My point is that not only are the rankings meaningless, but Baker didn’t do squat to move CP up or down any list.

4. “He has also provided a long and steady tenure at the top.” I already addressed that fact. He provided tenure because HE COULD NOT GET A JOB ANYWHERE ELSE (and not for lack of trying).

Now… to my reasons why he was not a good president.

1. In the four years I attended CP, I only saw Baker once, which was at my commencement ceremony. My perception at the time was that he was totally apathetic towards students. In speaking to students since I graduated, most still share that sentiment. This is not the hallmark of a good president.

2. I’ve been a resident of the City of San Luis Obispo since coming to Cal Poly in the 80’s, and I am involved in various community activities (social, recreational, service, etc.), and NOT ONCE have I seen president Baker fraternize with the surrounding community. The City of SLO, as well as other communities in the area, is part of a symbiotic relationship with CP, and you would think that Baker would interact with the civic leaders, neighborhood groups, etc., But, I have never seen any evidence of that. In my opinion, the relationship between Cap Poly and the surrounding community is not strong enough.

3. In my professional and personal life, I deal with CP staff quite a bit (professors, department heads, and support staff). Almost without exception, people do not speak kindly of Baker. Moreover, there is quite a bit of dysfunction in various departments, and Baker is directly attributable for his hands-off approach.

So, insofar that he did not run CP into the ground, he was a good steward of the school. But, there is no way I think he can be considered a good president. Mr. Armstrong, with his ridiculous $350K salary plus fringe benefits, will not have much difficulty in setting the bar higher. My two cents…

1.) I don’t know too many CS schools that grew facility-wise like CPSLO did during Baker’s tenure. Actually none other did. Interesting you compare CPSLO largely to UC schools in far larger cities.

2.) Don’t lie. He cut the entire ET department to focus on ENGINEERING. CPSLO is a UNIVERSITY not a “technical school.”

3.) So? CPSLO **IS** one of the finest non-PhD granting universities in the entire USA. It’s in the TOP TWO in its “region.” Please don’t lie again by trying to spin it differently. On second thought, I’m not going to read any further. Three was enough coming from you.

1. Re-read your own posts. You made the following statement “Other CSU/UC campuses have changed very little during Baker’s tenure while Poly has absolutely blossomed.” I gave you examples of CSU’s and UC’s that refute your statement and you call me a liar.

2. Ok…he cut the ENTIRE ET program, when I mentioned just one of concentrations within the program (I guess, I should have listed welding technology, etc., as well). I guess in your eyes I am a liar.

3. Cal Poly is a good university. As I stated before, I am a Cal Poly grad (so is my wife). I, however, don’t have illusions on how it ranks amongst others in the nation as I realize it is a State school. The issue is how much is directly attributable to Baker. You mad the following “It I am to believe US News and World Report, CPSLO remains one of the finest universities in the USA…” and I simply pointed out that this is just not the case unless you qualify the statement (public school, western region, non-PhD granting, mid size, rural setting). Again, somehow I am a liar again in my effort to point out this fact.

So, you disagreed with me calling Baker a DOLT. You are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine…but I assume that you have already stopped reading my post :-) Have a nice day sir (or madam).

I’m moving to Central California and applying for a job at the Cal poly school apparently SOMEONE has opened the safe and is giving out dollar bills WHOO HOOO

Despite endowments, personal competency or any other factors-this is outrageous, especially these days. Ivory tower thinking at its worst. I hope Brown will cut the salaries of the trustees, college presidents and other high ranking folks that probably make way more money than they are worth. This latest action proves my point. I bet if the job paid 100k with a couple minor perks we might have hundreds of applicants, most of them well qualified. Same with plenty of other positions across the land (from sea to shining sea!). Yeah, what bull, freedom for the rich and connected, crumbs for the rest of us.

Remember way back when shame was actually a reason to do the right thing?

Our public officials have none these days, and it seems to be the normal behavior to game and rip off the system all in the name of it “ain’t illegal” attitude.

SLO county seems to have more then its share of elected thieves .

Outrageous to me are professors with tenure AND a bargaining unit who work 20 hours/week and have 3 months off every summer despite being paid a great deal of money.

This is a hard one to swallow especially as a Cal Poly employee. The majority of us (CP employees) have not seen a raise in 5+ years. Additionally, student fees keep increasing while enrollment decreases. It is my understanding CP is courting out-of-state students as they bring in more money while at the same time, defeating the founding purpose of CSUs … to serve California residents. I say shame on the Board of Trustees for entertaining and approving such a starting salary for CP’s new president. And by the way, the majority of staff that are hired at CP start at the entry level or if lucky, 5% above entry level (that is what HR will approve). Seems like there is a bit of inequity here! And if CP would like to pay me a housing and travel allowance, I’d be more than willing to accept vs. me paying for a permit to hunt for parking and struggling to afford the home I live in.