On Campus

Who is Ontario’s best paid professor?

Being a business prof pays well, but being an English prof can pay even better—under certain circumstances

English students feeling trepidation about their employment prospects, fear no more. Last year’s top paid prof in Ontario was, for once, an English professor. But if you plan to strive for this distinction, your career path may have to take a minor detour.

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That’s right: David Atkinson — who is listed as a “faculty member” on Ontario’s salary disclosure list — made off with a whopping $467,835.75 plus $19,323.97 in taxable benefits in 2007. His $487,158 total annual take makes Carleton University’s Atkinson not only the highest paid professor in Ontario, but also higher paid than most university presidents, including University of Toronto president David Naylor.

While everyone else in the $400,000 range on the salary disclosure list has administrative duties listed to explain their salaries, it may be Atkinson’s choice not to be an administrator that earned him the top paid prof title. Atkinson served for 15 months as president of Carleton University starting in August 2005. He abruptly resigned on November 20, 2006 under mysterious circumstances, and returned to work as a professor in the English department.

Perhaps fortunately for the Carleton coffers, its $400,000+ English prof announced in January that he will become president of Kwantlen University College in Vancouver starting in July.

Samy Mahmound, in comparison, was paid $337,173.60 to actually be president of Carleton last year.

Aside from Atkinson, Ontario’s other highest paid professors are, not surprisingly, from business schools, not English departments. Ontario’s second highest paid professor is Brian Golden of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business. Golden’s total compensation for 2007, including salary and taxable benefits, was $303,490.32.

Golden barely beat fellow Rotman professors of Strategic Management Joel Baum ($296,748.94) and Brian Silverman ($293,143.20) for the title.

Other University of Toronto professors making more than $250,000 in salary included seven business professors, four medical professors, and one engineering professor. Many business, medical, science, and engineering professors at the University of Toronto made more than $200,000.

The only other professors, without administrative titles, making more than $250,000 in Ontario are Paul Beamish of The University of Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business and Russell Belk of York University’s Schulich School of Business.

Many part-time professors at Ontario medical schools made over $200,000. Dozens of full-time professors at business and law schools also made over $200,000.

The salary disclosure list confirms a study by the American Association of University Professors which showed that professors in professional schools make at least 50 per cent more than the average humanities professor.

However, for those who make it to the senior administrator level, being schooled in the humanities has no effect on salaries. Both Atkinson, and highest paid university president Peter George of McMaster, have their terminal degrees in the humanities. Lorna Marsden, a sociologist, made $483,124 during her final six months as president of York University.

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