Top five highest-paid women deans

By Rohit Jammu and Jenni Kallenback

The salaries for the top 10 highest-paid deans remained largely the same from 2020 to 2021.

Jeffrey R. Brown, dean of the Gies College of Business, was the only dean that saw a salary increase according to September data from the University of Illinois Trustees Gray Book.

Out of 15 deans, 10 are men and five are women. Eleven are white, four are Asian American and one is African American, according to the 2020-2021 Women at Illinois report.

Below is an analysis of the salaries for the top five highest-paid women deans at the University.

Eunice E. Santos, dean of the School of Information Sciences

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    Santos was the fourth highest-paid dean in both 2020 and 2021 and the highest-paid female dean. Santos, who first started in 2019, received a salary of $414,167 with a proposed salary of $422,450.

    She has since led a research team that developed a new computational framework to analyze how to best communicate new medical guidelines and encourage their adoption. The appointment of Santos also makes her the only woman to currently serve as dean among schools ranked in the top ten for library and information studies by the U.S. News & World Report.

    Venetria K. Patton, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

    Patton was hired August and received a salary of $355,500 with no proposed change. Patton also comes in second as the highest-paid female dean and sixth highest-paid dean overall. 

    She is the most recently hired dean at the University. Patton’s teaching and research focuses on African American and diasporic women’s literature. She is the author of two monographs, co-editor of “Double-Take” and editor of “Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature.”

    Kimberlee K. Kidwell, dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

    Kidwell received a salary of $322,200, with no change in proposed salary. Kidwell, ranked third highest-paid female dean and eighth highest-paid dean overall, was hired in 2016. She was also the first full-time female professor at Washington State University, the first female wheat professor there and the University’s first associate chancellor for Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives.

    Cheryl D. Hanley-Maxwell, Dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences

    Hanley-Maxwell received a salary of $280,500 with a proposed salary of $330,550. She ranks fourth highest-paid female dean and twelfth highest-paid dean overall.  Of the five current University deans who earned a combined 10 academic degrees from the Champaign-Urbana campus, Hanley-Maxwell is also the only one with three. Being hired here in her current capacity in 2016, she also met her future husband during her days as a student in C-U.

    Tracy E. Sulkin, Dean of the College of Media

    Sulkin received a salary of $247,500 with a proposed salary of $264,515. Sulkin, coming in as the fifth highest-paid female dean and 14th overall, has been a member of the Illinois faculty since 2002. Hired in 2018 in her current capacity, she also served as the director of graduate studies and associate head for undergraduate programs in the political science department and was chaired the Undergraduate Education Task Force for the campus strategic planning process.


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