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Egstad, H. M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 33, Number VI (March 1932)

Jamison, C. L.
Should faculty salaries be deflated?,   pp. 176-178


Page 176


The Wisconsin Alumni Magazine                                           
                         March, 1932
    not having their tax dollars wasted.
    Extravagance in the operation of
    life insurance companies is just as
    costly to policy-holders as extrava-
    gance in the operation of public
    bodies is costly to tax payers. It is
    reasonable to assume, therefore,
    that the directors of mutual life in-
    surance companies are obliged to
                teaching staff? Ths s qesio haipzzinte   trindashihlengage
the most proficient men
    available for responsible adminis-
stern  neOW THAT the need for retrenchment in oper-trative positions at salaries
not a cent higher than they
         at ing expenses faces many state universities,  consider to be fair
compensation. Here, then, may be
         the question of professors' salaries once more  a reasonable standard
by which to gauge the salary
         comes up for debate. It is clear that expenses  scale of university
professors, provided the point is
must be reduced in some quarter. Should the reduction   conceded that the
men accupying the upper staff posi-
be made by taking away part of the salaries of the      tions in our best
state universities are as thoroughly
teaching staff? This is a question that is puzzling the  trained, as highly
intellectual, and as useful to society
makers of university budgets who now are facing the     as the men who administer
the affairs of life insurance
stern necessity of balancing outgo with income. Some    companies.
advisers in matters of state finance are wondering if     Does the position
of president of a life insurance
professors' salaries are not too high under existing con-  company require
a man of any broader education, any
ditions. Because those salaries were substantially in-  higher intellectual
capacity, any better administrative
creased following the war inflation, there are some     skill, any greater
physical and moral stamina, than is
persons who believe they now should be deflated. This  required of the president
of a large state university?
attitude does not prevail in Wisconsin alone, nor is it  Doubtless there
is not a university president but be-
confined to state universities. Endowed institutions    lieves that his job
is quite as arduous as the job of the
have the same problem. It is timely, therefore, to re-  most harassed life
insurance president. Do the highest
examine whatever evidence there may be that the pro-    ranking deanships
in large universities require any
fessor is worthy of his hire. To compare one universi-  less capacity and
application than do the vast number
ty with another proves little in this crisis. All univer-  of life insurance
vice-presidencies? Is the actuary in
sities are facing the same dilemma. Is there not some   a life insurance
company a more highly skilled mathe-
standard outside the academic profession by which the   matician, does he
require a longer period of training,
real worth of men of highly specialized training, broad  a broader concept
of his science than does the top
intellectual capacity and professional zeal can be      ranking professor
of mathematics in any first class
measured? Such a standard, if one can be found, would   university? Is the
medical director in a life insurance
help immeasurably to clear up this much discussed       company a more highly
skilled specialist than the pro-
question. There are undoubtedly many enterprises not    fessors who are qualified
to teach medicine in first
conducted for profit that regularly employ a highly in-  class medical schools?
Is the general counsel in a life
telligent personnel at fixed salaries, the remuneration  insurance company
more profoundly trained in the
of whom may fairly be compared with the remunera-      law than the men who
are qualified to teach law in our
tion of university professors. For example, the officers  university law
schools? Are the treasurers of life in-
-who administer the affairs of the mutual life insurance  surance companies
more highly skilled in finance; the
companies probably compare favorably with universi-     auditors more highly
skilled in accounting; the statis-
ty professors in specialized training, intellectual integ-  ticians more
highly skilled in statistics than the men
rity, and devotion to social service. The business that  who teach respectively,
finance, accounting and statis-
these men administer is conducted solely for the bene-  tics in our universities?
An unbiased person undoubt-
fit of policy-holders. The number of policy-holders is  edly would answer
each of those questions emphatic-
as great as, if not greater than, the number of tax pay-  ally by stating
that surely if universities are to live up
ers who support state universities.' Moreover there are  to their great responsibilities
they should have teach-
few tax payers who are not also policy-holders. These   ers that equal if
not surpass the qualifications of the
policy-holders are as desirous of not having their pre-   The number of policies
in force January 1, 1929, according to the statistical
mium dollars wasted as the tax payers are desirous of  abstract of the United
States, was 114,995,000.
                                                    Page 176


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