I wonder if you could share current dean salaries?

Date: April 2017


Hello Deans,

In a recent Ask a Dean, you answered a question about graduate funding.

You cited many current expenses, including $250,000/year for childcare grants. In order to better contextualize these numbers and in the spirit of transparency, I wonder if you could share current dean salaries, and the yearly percent raises to those salaries in the last decade? If nothing else, is the cost of one dean comparable to the cost of funding all graduate childcare?

If money is so tight, I wouldn’t expect administrative salaries to have increased very much, especially considering temporary cuts to RA stipends in 2014 and cuts to engineering summer stipends during the summer of 2016.

Respectfully yours,

A Grad Skeptical of Trickle-down Economics


Dear Grad Skeptical of Trickle-down Economics,

Thank you for your Ask a Dean question. 

I don’t have access to information on current dean salaries other than my own, nor information on yearly percent raises in the last decade, but I can provide some insights below. 

In addition, your statement about cuts to RA stipends is incorrect. Please see the information posted about assistantships on the Graduate School policies page, and you’ll see as shown in the graphs that RA stipends were not cut, and you’ll find this explanation in the narrative: 

“For the first time in several decades, for the 2014-15 academic year a different stipend rate was approved for TA/GA compared to GRA/RA appointments in response to faculty concerns about financial pressures on research grants. However, the vast majority (nearly 90%) of campus units that year voluntarily increased GRA/RA stipends so that all assistantships would be paid at the same stipend rate. Responding both to a GPSA resolution on this topic and actual behavior of campus units, in 2015-2016 all assistantship stipends were equalized again at the same required 9-month minimum rate. Thus, all types of assistantships have experienced a 2.5% average annual increase over the past eight years.”

Regarding your questions about a decade of deanships, I was appointed as Dean and Vice Provost in 2010, then Senior Vice Provost in 2015. In addition to providing leadership for the Graduate School and graduate education at Cornell, my duties also include overseeing undergraduate admissions, financial aid, and the university registrar. I also continue an active research program as a Professor of Natural Resource Policy (and have 3 peer-reviewed publications in press thus far this year). 

Regarding your comments about my role as Dean (which is only a portion of my entire portfolio), I’ve secured external awards to support graduate student success and professional development from the National Science Foundation for inclusive excellence in graduate education ($90K), the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation for the preparation of future faculty ($129K), the Computing Research Association and NSF supporting postdoc networking and training ($78K), NSF supporting Cornell’s participation in the national network for the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning ($143K), the Council of Graduate Schools supporting graduate student financial literacy education ($40K), the Council of Graduate Schools for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Teagle Foundation to support developing assessment skills for future faculty in the sciences and humanities ($50K), and the Teagle Foundation supporting the preparation of graduate students to become 21st century engaged teaching scholars ($125K). I also serve as the institutional principal investigator for the umbrella award overseeing all of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships that are earned by our excellent graduate students (a value of about $34M over 5 years).

Thank you again for your question.

Warm regards,


Barbara A. Knuth
Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School