Third of AgCenter faculty earn at least $100,000 - News

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Third of AgCenter faculty earn at least $100,000

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Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:58 pm

Although some faculty members receive relatively small salaries from the University, their total paychecks are likely much larger if they have a joint appointment with the LSU Agricultural Center.

According to the AgCenter’s website, 12 University departments “include faculty [with] full-time extension appointments or joint appointments with research and teaching.” These departments include agricultural chemistry; agricultural economics and agribusiness; animal sciences; the Audubon Sugar Institute; biological and agricultural engineering; entomology; experimental statistics; food science; human ecology; plant, environmental and soil sciences; plant pathology and crop physiology; and renewable natural resources.

A total of 139 faculty members have joint appointments, according to salary information provided by the AgCenter. Both the University and the AgCenter pay portions of such a faculty member’s salary.

AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson said a joint appointment means a faculty member’s teaching commitment is with the University while he or she conduct his or her research through the AgCenter. Most of the appointments are with the research division of the AgCenter, but a few are with the cooperative extension service, he said.

The average total salary for a jointly appointed faculty member — University and AgCenter portions combined — is $96,710.

The AgCenter’s information shows 37 percent of its faculty receive total salaries of $100,000 or greater. That is more than twice the percentage — 15 percent — of University-only employees who earn at least $100,000, according to The Daily Reveille’s salary database.

About 36 percent of all AgCenter faculty total salaries comes from the University. On average, the portion of a jointly appointed faculty member’s salary paid by the University is $35,837.

Richardson said teaching, research and extension were all part of the College of Agriculture until 1972, when the Board of Supervisors created the AgCenter as an autonomous campus to house research and extension. The research division is where scientists create new information, while the extension service transfers findings from laboratories to farmers and others who work with the AgCenter, he said.

The reorganization of the LSU System could reunite the College of Agriculture and the AgCenter, but the joint appointment system will remain intact, Richardson said.

“The only thing I think reorganization’s going to change is probably what title this person here has that sits in my chair, and we’re actually looking at the Texas A&M model where this person would also be dean of the College of Agriculture, so that’ll really tie things together,” he said.

That arrangement would allow better coordination between teaching and research, which Richardson said is important because the AgCenter has more money invested in research and outreach than the University does. Plus, the AgCenter ranks among the top 30 creators of intellectual property in the U.S., putting it in the same ballpark as universities such as Johns Hopkins, Stanford and Duke, he said.

“A lot of people still look at us as plows, sows and cows,” Richardson said. “We’re going to make more royalty income off of intellectual property, off our science this year to the factor of about 100 over what the campus is going to make.”

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