Professor’s salary for former provost of WSU is criticized

PULLMAN — Former Washington State University Provost Steven Hoch may face some resentment when he returns to work as one of the best-paid history professors in the country.

Some members and former members of the school’s department of history are upset that Hoch will be paid $245,000 per year, far more than the market rate for such faculty, the Lewiston Tribune reported Tuesday.

The school is contractually obligated to pay nine-elevenths of the $300,000 administrative salary Hoch lost last week when President Elson Floyd relieved him of his duties as provost. He was guaranteed a tenured faculty position when he was hired earlier this year.

“I would not envy him in terms of what I think would be resentment on the part of many of the faculty,” said retired WSU history professor LeRoy Ashby. “If one thinks in terms of equity in the department, I would be hard-pressed to make the case for him making anything near that amount.”

“At no point in my career did I approach even half of that (salary),” said Ashby, who taught 36 years.

Hoch came to WSU from the University of Kentucky, where he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He has repeatedly declined to comment on the case, saying he will talk after the issues are resolved.

Hoch, an expert in Russian history, was granted paid personal leave on Sept. 23 after just seven weeks on the job. He will officially step down as provost on Oct. 31 and join the history faculty.

The university has not released any information on why the change occurred. The provost is the academic head of the school.

Richard Hume, who has taught history in Pullman since 1968, said it will be hard for Hoch to prove he is worth the money.

“He has a big salary; does he have big responsibilities?” Hume asked. He also wondered what Hoch’s salary would do to the history department’s need to fill three vacant positions.

“We don’t have that much money,” Hume said. “We’re lucky if we can buy our paper and pencils.”

WSU has instituted a hiring freeze in the face of an expected tight budget year.

Another history professor, Jerry Gough, said he didn’t know where Hoch’s expertise would fit in the department’s curricula.

“Russian history is not as popular as it once was,” Gough said.

Floyd on Monday announced the nine-elevenths calculation will not be used in future contracts.

“Instead, we will use new language that compensation of an administrator returning to faculty status will be proportionate to the market and at a level not to exceed the highest salary of the faculty members within the department at the same rank,” Floyd wrote in a letter to the WSU community.

Information from: Lewiston Tribune, www.lmtribune.com

Talk to us

More in Local News

A worker disassembles a fluidized bed incinerator at the Edmonds Wastewater Treatment Plant on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
In Edmonds, $26M goes to a cleaner way to get rid of poop

The city will reduce its wastewater carbon footprint by dumping an incinerator and using new technology.

The Voting Commissioners of the Washington State Redistricting Commission released draft Legislative District maps Tuesday. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Early maps of legislative districts endanger some incumbents

Under one redistricting proposal, Mill Creek joins Everett. Under another, Monroe joins Wenatchee.

Tuesday's career fair will be at Everett Community College, which incidentally is also one of the participants. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Snohomish County Career Fair set for Tuesday at EvCC

Job seekers can connect with more than 40 employers at this year’s annual event.

Driver who died in Everett car crash identified

Thomas Ogden, 43, was driving Tuesday morning on Rucker Avenue at 41st Street when another car crashed into his.

Granite Falls altercation: Dog killed, man shot in head

A 20-year-old man allegedly shot an intruder, 54, who threatened two people and killed their dog.

Man found dead in Mountlake Terrace homeless camp identified

Oscar Banos Mejia, 40, was discovered in the bushes along the Interurban Trail on Friday afternoon.

Police respond to a crash in which Isaiah Funden, 24, of Marysville, died after his motorcycle collided with a car Monday morning on the Snohomish River Bridge. (Everett Police Department)
Motorcyclist who died in Everett bridge crash identified

The Marysville man, 24, was involved in a collision with a car and ejected into the Snohomish River.

Callie Childers 20210921
Car of slain Marysville woman was set on fire

Her body was found along a remote stretch of U.S. 2, east of Stevens Pass. Her car was found near Snohomish.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff (center) takes a ride on light rail from the Angle Lake Station in Seatac with King County Executive Dow Constantine (left) on Sept. 21, 2016. (Ian Terry / Herald file)
CEO of fast-growing Sound Transit system to step aside

The search will begin soon to replace Peter Rogoff, who leads the multibillion-dollar transportation network.

Most Read