Education

Here’s why this SWIC economics professor’s pay was second only to the college president

An economics professor was the second-highest paid employee at Southwestern Illinois College in recent years.

Professor Dennis Shannon’s take-home pay was second only to College President Georgia Costello over fiscal years 2016 and 2017, according to the BND’s Public Pay Database and the Illinois Community College Board’s salary and benefits portal.

In 2017, the community college board lists his pay as about $178,205, excluding benefits. (According to the board’s website, colleges submit their salary data for the portal June 15 and estimate final payments through June 30, which is the end of the fiscal year.)

SWIC spokesperson Jim Haverstick said Shannon’s gross earnings for the year — his income before taxes and deductions — totaled $182,848, compared to Costello’s $213,620.

It’s not unusual for a professor, even at a community college, to earn a six-figure salary.

Professors are paid based in part on their years of experience and level of education. Those who teach extra classes or take on other duties see a bump in pay.

Shannon, for instance, has worked at SWIC since 1975. He has a master’s degree in business administration from Southern Illinois University, plus 60 graduate credit hours in his discipline of economics.

In 2017, Shannon earned more than $50,000 on top of his base salary for teaching extra classes in the fall, spring and summer semesters.

In response to a request for comment, Shannon referred the News-Democrat to Haverstick, the college’s spokesperson.

Across the metro-east, at least 117 college and university professors earned between $100,000 and $180,000 this past fiscal year.

At SWIC, there were 50 professors besides Shannon, who all had extra duties at the college. Lewis and Clark Community College had 16 professors making six-figures.

According to one official, these professors can actually save their colleges money.

Not only is our goal to recruit qualified faculty to teach our students, but we also work hard to create a culture in which qualified faculty are supported and retained.

Lori Artis, Lewis and Clark Community College vice president

Lewis and Clark Vice President Lori Artis said colleges don’t need to hire more professors to meet students’ demands for classes if the faculty they already have are willing to take on extra work.

All of Lewis and Clark’s highest-paid professors either taught more classes or took on tasks like coordinating programs, according to Artis. Their base salaries were between $81,000 and $88,000, with about $20,000-$35,000 in extra duty pay.

Colleges also pride themselves on offering highly educated and experienced faculty.

“Not only is our goal to recruit qualified faculty to teach our students, but we also work hard to create a culture in which qualified faculty are supported and retained,” Artis said.

Professor Randall Gallaher, for example, has a master’s degree in natural sciences and has worked at Lewis and Clark for 20 years. He was the college’s highest-paid professor in 2017, with take home pay of about $123,829, according to the Illinois Community College Board.

Gallaher teaches science, technology, engineering and math.

At the university level, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville had 50 professors whose total pay was more than $100,000, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. All but 11 of them earned additional compensation over their base salaries.

Lindenwood University-Belleville and McKendree University in Lebanon are private institutions, so they don’t provide salary information.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes

At a glance

The following are the largest estimated payments professors earned in fiscal year 2017 from their college or university, excluding benefits:

  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville: $181,686
  • Southwestern Illinois College: $178,205
  • Lewis and Clark Community College: $123,829

Source: Salary information provided to the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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