A Raise for the Record Books

SUNY Albany nanoscience chief and professor sees his salary increase -- by $142,000, to about $667,000.
June 5, 2007

A striking, $140,000+ annual salary increase for the head of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York at Albany has attracted attention as the largest payroll raise in state history, according to The New York Post, which broke the story Monday.

Under the new agreement, the base state salary for Alain E. Kaloyeros, a professor of nanosciences and vice president and chief administrative officer for the college, rose from $525,000 to roughly $667,000.

That’s in addition to money he earns from his research efforts: In the 2006 fiscal year, he also received $258,701 based on his generation of external grants, contracts, licenses and royalties, which Kaloyeros estimated via e-mail amount to about $250 million per year. (He added in his e-mail that he turns down all offers for consulting, board service, and the like, so does not have any income external to the university).

Still, Kaloyeros’s base state salary alone is now more than double the average $325,000 presidential salary at a doctoral institution, and more than four times the average $153,951 salary for an executive vice president, according to data on administrative salaries released by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) in February. (Relative to his professorial hat, his new base state salary is more than eight times the average $81,329 brought home by full professors in the physical sciences).

Whereas in fields like medicine, professors may take home comparable chunks of change largely through a practice affiliated with a university, Kaloyeros’s compensation comes directly from state sources, as well as the research monies he generates for the public institution.

“Alain has been responsible for bringing in billions of dollars to U Albany for nanotechnology research and development … about $4 billion to date,” said Susan V. Herbst, provost and officer in charge, or acting president, at Albany. Herbst approved the raise, which was subsequently approved by SUNY's former systemwide chancellor, John R. Ryan. “Certainly in medicine, engineering, the life sciences, the great universities across the country need to pay competitive salaries to keep the very best faculty with them. We are no different.”

Kaloyeros’s salary increase comes with an increase in duties related to economic development, for which a full announcement is pending in a few weeks, Herbst said. She pointed, though, to one major economic development initiative already announced and under way: Kaloyeros’s work to bring the international headquarters for SEMATECH, a consortium of semiconductor manufacturers representing about half the world’s production, to Albany.

The young College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering, established in 2001 and headed by Kaloyeros since the beginning, has unarguably emerged as a national leader in the field. Kaloyeros, who came to Albany as an assistant professor of physics, rose from there to become “one of the main economic drivers for the development of upstate New York,” Herbst said.

“We value him immensely. He could go anywhere, as you can imagine, and we’re thrilled he’s here,” she added -- comparing him to highly paid athletic coaches, in addition to professors of medicine, as individuals who bring “tremendous value” to universities.

“For research faculty in emerging fields or fields that are of significant interest, we do in general see difficulty for most universities in attracting and retaining key faculty,” said Andy Brantley, chief executive officer of CUPA-HR. “Some universities are definitely having to go beyond what they normally do for similar positions to attract and retain key people with research expertise in those areas.”

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