At the University of Alberta, the president and vice-chancellor, Indira Samarasekera is retiring next summer. Her position pays 400,000 Canadian dollars ($368,500 USD) and is now up for grabs. The committee is expecting top talent in the application pool, but what they didn’t expect was Canadian academics applying for the position in groups of four.
56 Canadian teachers and educational administrators have applied, but they are clearly fed up with the high pay that is country-wide.
The stunt was created by Kathleen Cawey and three friends, who decided to skewer the University of Alberta’s comparatively modest participation in the top-heavy university economy
“As you will see from our CVs,” the group writes, “we are eminently suited to fill this position. Indeed, we believe that by job-sharing this position, we would be able to do a better job than any one person could do—and the salary is certainly ample enough to meet the needs of all four of us. Indeed,” they continue, “for many of us one-fourth of your proposed minimum salary would double or triple our current wage.” They are quick to point out the advantages of a four-for-one deal, quipping: “We will even share one academic gown.”
A large complaint within the educational community is the corporatization of universities. When you look at the recent revelation that some of the highest paid US college presidents also see the largest increase in student debt, it starts to be clearer. At Ohio State University, E. Gordon Gee received a $6 million retirement package, even though he retired in disgrace.