One of them fixes kids’ broken hearts, one’s a millionaire skin doctor, and another teaches students about evil.
What they have in common: they’re all college professors in Florida, and they all get bigger paychecks than the rest of their universities’ faculty.
They’ve gone through years of schooling to be the top paid at each of Florida’s 11 state universities. This is what it takes for them to make six figures –– or seven, in one case.
School: New College of Florida
Total pay: $113,317.90
NCF Professors’ median pay: $64,633.20
Fun Fact: His son is a blues and rock guitar player in North Carolina
If you’ve ever thought about the moral implications of a baby deer burning to death in a forest fire, chances are you can learn from NCF’s Dr. Doug Langston.
Langston, who has worked at New College since 1977 (when it was part of University of South Florida), is a professor of philosophy and religion. Is this the name of a class or his two subjects? If the latter, why are subjects capitalized?
The deer dilemma is part of one of his classes, “The Problem of Evil,” which asks: If God exists, why is there evil? “There is no right answer,” Langston told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in 2005, “What you discover is that there are a variety of ways” to see things.
But teaching deeply philosophical classes is just one of many things Langston has done at the Sarasota university.
According to NCF spokesman Jake Hartvigsen, Langston gets top dollar because of how long he has taught there and how much work he’s done for the college.
During his 34-year career at NCF, Langston’s been the institution’s dean, associate dean, warden (the highest position attainable before 2001, when NCF was part of USF), Board of Trustees member, library dean, Division of Humanities chair, and headed the school’s effort to find its first president when it gained independence in 2001, according to Hartvigsen.
If you’d like to see what other classes Langston teaches, check out his faculty web page at http://faculty.ncf.edu/langston/. In addition to his academic record, he’s also included tracks from his son, Nat Langston’s band, which plays in Asheville, North Carolina.
School: University of West Florida
Total pay: $198,315
UWF Professors’ median pay: $64,502.35
Fun Fact: Usually teaches classes of 100 — the biggest allowed
The West Florida professor who makes the most money teaches classes about, you guessed it, money. And he teaches it well, according to students.
As part of the Pensacola university’s Department of Accounting and Finance, Professor Doug Waggle received UWF’s U-Care award in June 2009 for “a ‘can-do’ attitude in his day-to-day work,” according to the university’s website, and he regularly teaches classes of 100, the maximum class enrollment allowed.
The accounting and finance department chair also gets positive reviews on RateMyProfessor.com, a website where students post their evaluations of professors they’ve had. On that site, Waggle is rated 4.1 on a five-point scale which takes into account factors like helpfulness, clarity and easiness.
Waggle is “one of the best finance teachers, if not the best,” according to a RateMyProfessor comment. “He can be a little dorky at times, but he is a real nice guy who isnt [sic] afraid to have fun in class … and will go well out of his way to help students. I am not in his class anymore and still go to him for advice.”
The UP tried to reach Waggle or someone in his stead for comment, but no one has responded as of press time.
School: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Total pay: $251,000
FAMU Professors’ median pay: $72,000
Fun Fact: He was involved in media coverage of the 2011 Casey Anthony trial
Before 2008, FAMU’s College of Law seemed to be on the brink of collapse.
According to Florida Trend, the American Bar Association — which decides law schools’ accreditation — released a report in 2008 showing that FAMU’s law college was rife with distrust amongst faculty, and between students and administrators.
Additionally, just over half of FAMU law college students passed the Bar exam. But then, in 2009, FAMU managed to earn accreditation. What changed? Northern Illinois University’s law dean, LeRoy Pernell, became FAMU’s law dean.
“The situation initially was complicated by the fact that there were detractors,” Pernell told the Trend, “There were people who felt that the school wasn’t going to succeed. We brought in in excess of 16 new teaching positions the subsequent fall and that had a profound impact.”
After Pernell became the college’s dean, it ranked number one for most diverse law school in the nation — in ‘09 and ‘10 — according to the Orlando Business Journal.
In February 2009, 52.3 percent of law college students passed the bar exam. The ABA expects law colleges to have a 75 percent pass rate to earn accreditation, though other factors are considered, the Trend reported. By July 2011, FAMU had a 65 percent pass rate for the state bar exam, according to the Florida Board of Bar Examiners’ July 2011 exam results.
As dean of the Orlando-based law school, LeRoy Pernell is also involved in local media’s crime and court coverage. During the Casey Anthony murder trial, where Anthony was accused of murdering her baby, FAMU made local news when its law students went to the trial hearings as part of their classes.
“Nothing illustrates how the system functions like reality, and I think that the students are very fortunate to see the law come alive,” he told Orlando-based CFNews13. Pernell also commented on the case’s jury selection to CBSMiami, saying that it would be tough to find jurors who hadn’t heard about the case.
Before taking the job as FAMU’s law dean, Pernell was law dean at Northern Illinois University and Vice Provost of Minority Affairs at Ohio State University, according to FAMU’s website. For more, check out his bio page at http://law.famu.edu/go.cfm/do/Page.View/pid/119.
School: University of North Florida
Total Pay: $285,000
UNF Professors’ median pay: $58,746.66
Fun Fact: Lived on campus when he moved to UNF so his kids could graduate middle school in Michigan
As a new dean, Ajay Samant already knew students’ needs long before he started living in their dorms.
When he got the job as business college dean, Samant briefly lived in UNF’s dorms while his family looked for a house. Now he’s dean of one of the top 294 business schools in the country, according to the Princeton Review.
Samant makes students’ future his main priority, teaches finance, and earns the university’s top pay as business dean.
After working as an Associate Dean and Interim Dean of Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University, Samant brought eighteen years of experience to the University of North Florida’s Coggin College of Business in 2010.
He started his job as dean, though, by planning to make the Coggin College’s programs better.
One program the college wanted to improve was UNF’s mentorship program, which pairs students with business professionals to learn about the industry, according to the Financial News & Daily Record.
“Given that so many of our graduates choose to remain in the Jacksonville area,” Samant said. “I think my first, most important duty is to maintain the quality of education and take it a notch further.”
Samant said the college wanted to give students the chance to study abroad or “what we call transformational opportunities,” he said in September 2010 according to the Daily Record.
The UP tried to contact UNF and Samant about their progress on those programs, but they didn’t respond as of press time.
School: Florida Gulf Coast University
Total pay: $218,000
FGCU Professors’ median pay: $60,839.75
Fun Fact: He got his position after FGCU failed to find anyone else in a nationwide search
Hudson Rogers didn’t apply for the job that earns him more than any other faculty member at FGCU.
Although he’ll teach a few classes here and there, Rogers is not considered a full time teaching professor, according to FGCU spokeswoman Susan Evans. She said most of this money comes from his position as Dean of FGCU’s Lutgert College of Business.
Rogers currently earns $4,000 more than his mentor, former business dean, Richard Pegnetter did when he retired in 2011, according to naplesnews.com. FGCU held a national search for a new dean and Rogers was on the search committee, but didn’t apply. When the committee couldn’t find anyone, Rogers was offered the job in July and took it.
This isn’t the first time Rogers has been a dean. He was Associate Dean of the Lutgert College for six years and “was highly respected for the work he did there,” according to Evans.
In 2003, naplenews.com reported that Rogers helped get the college accredited by the Associate to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which accredits business and accounting programs.
He then became Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for FGCU’s Academic Affairs, making $137,000 a year.
In 2011, Rogers replaced the founding Dean of the College of Business, Richard Pegnetter.
“It’s humbling because Dick [Pegnetter] is one of my mentors,” Rogers told naplesnews.com. “I’ve worked very, very closely to him, and I’ve never thought of living in the house that Dick built, if I can use that term. He has big shoes to fill.”
Rogers’ position at the College of Business however, is not permanent. The college’s accreditation expires in 2013 and so does his term as dean.
Whether or not he’ll become a permanent dean after 2013 isn’t up to him. “In part, that’s a question for the provost,” he told naplesnews.com in 2011. “But, I have not allowed myself to think two years down the road. I think the issue we face right now is to make sure the college continues to march forward in its goal toward re-accreditation.”
Whether he becomes a permanent dean or not, Rogers will end his term in 2013 $436,000 richer.
School: Florida Atlantic University
Total pay: $329,100
FAU Professors’ median pay: $73,425.22
Fun Fact: In the 1990s, he helped find a treatment and cure for geriatric incontinence
Boca Raton is known as a retirement community, and FAU’s top-paid professor specializes in the elderly.
That geriatrician, Dr. Joseph Ouslander, is the Associate Dean for Geriatric Programs at the university’s college of medicine. According to his FAU bio page, Ouslander’s research highlights include geriatric incontinence — those who’ve fallen victim to a fall or a bout with insomnia.
Although Ouslander is focused on research, rather than teaching, he is nationally renowned in the world of geriatric care.
In November 2011, the Star Tribune reported that the state of Minnesota would fund a program to give nursing homes tools to assess and treat patients with ailments like dehydration or fever at the nursing homes — instead of sending them to the hospital, where patients risk infection.
The Tribune reported that Ouslander helped develop that program, called Interact, and that it could save the state $3.1 billion a year. He also told the Minneapolis-based news outlet that he receives phone calls every day about the program.
His work doesn’t stop at research, though. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Ouslander advises the federal government on health care. According to his curriculum vitae, he’s also been on the Boca Raton Community Hospital teaching staff, Associate Professor for UCLA’s geriatric medicine program and Director of Research and Education for the Jewish Home for the Aging of Greater Los Angeles.
And his work week’s pretty long. In an email, Ouslander told the UP he works 60 hours per week, and a third of his pay doesn’t come from the state. “My actual FAU salary is not any higher than any other tenured professor, and is lower than it would be if I took opportunities at other schools.”
School: Florida State University
Total Pay: $386,456
FSU Professors’ median pay: $79,422
Fun Fact: Spent 20 years of his career as an Army physician and gives medical care to the poor of Tallahassee.
As his university’s medicine dean, Dr. John Fogarty oversees a faculty of more than 1,900 physicians around the state of Florida who teach clinical medicine to FSU students, according to FSU spokesman Doug Carlson.
As chair of the Council of Florida Medical School Deans, Fogarty gives medical care to uninsured, under-insured or low-income patients in Tallahassee every Friday, Carlson said.
Fogarty also helps raise money to keep FSU financially stable, Carlson added, and makes sure the main campus in Tallahassee and the six regional campuses follow the standards of the non-profit Association of American Medical Colleges.
In 2008, he became FSU’s medicine dean. As dean, he takes part in selecting and recruiting medical students. On days when applicants go in for their interviews and tours of the campus, Fogarty often joins them at lunch and tells them about FSU’s medical school, according to Carlson.
“He likes to say that we are trying to produce more of the kinds of doctors Florida needs most,” Carlson said. “To do that, we need to make sure that those students who truly believe in the service ideal of being a physician are the ones we encourage to come to school here.”
Fogarty tries to make the student body diverse by giving financial aid to minorities, who might not have the same opportunities as white medical students.
“Dr. Fogarty has established scholarships for students from underrepresented backgrounds as our top fundraising objective,” Carlson told the UP, but didn’t specify what these scholarships are.
Carlson added that Fogarty currently teaches a doctoring class for first- and second-year med students on how to listen to and interact with patients.
School: University of Central Florida
Total Pay: $445,780
UCF Professors’ median pay: $70,040
Fun Fact: UCF’s top-paid professor doesn’t just teach — she’s also the founding dean of UCF’s College of Medicine and a leader of a growing medical campus worth $2 billion, according to the New York Times.
She’s Dr. Deborah German, and she leads the development of the campus, Medical City in Lake Nona, Orlando. It’s a cluster of hospitals, universities and research institutions which, according to its website, includes a Veterans Affair hospital and research institutes for UF and UCF.
“We are working at warp speed here,” German told the Times during Medical City’s construction in 2010. “Three and a half years ago, the architects weren’t even chosen. Now it’s fully operational.”
Medical City could potentially have a big impact in the economy once it’s done. According to UCF spokeswoman Wendy Sarubbi, Medical City is expected to create more than 30,000 jobs and have a projected annual economic impact of $7.6 billion by 2017.
Aside from her work at Lake Nona, German also teaches her specialty, rheumatology, which involves diagnosing and treating joint, muscle and bone diseases. She taught rheumatology to first-year medical students last fall, and will teach skin and musculoskeletal system classes this semester, Sarubbi said.
German also oversees UCF Pegasus Health, a university medical program where doctors from the College of Medicine treat patients around the community.
As dean, she oversees and leads developments in both the Medical Education (M.D.) program and the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. According to her university web biography, she’s hired a faculty and staff of over 200 people, appointed over 800 volunteer faculty, and raised money to give four-year scholarships to the Charter class.
German, Sarubbi said, earned her M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and did a fellowship in Rheumatic and Genetic Diseases at Duke University. She joined the faculty at Duke’s Medical School and studied adenosine metabolism –- how energy is transferred in the process of metabolism –– in the Howard Hughes Medical Insititute in Maryland.
German became founding dean of UCF’s College of Medicine in 2006.
School: Florida International University
Total Pay: $552,750
FIU Professors’ median pay: $82,248.83
Fun Fact: His salary is bigger than FIU President Mark Rosenberg’s $535,903
Dr. John Rock takes FIU’s medical students out of the comfort of the classroom and into the real world to make better doctors of them.
The founding dean of FIU’s College of Medicine helped start a new program that gets students working in the community. Each student is assigned to treat a family in the Miami area, just like a real doctor would, according to an NPR report.
Rock told NPR it was an attempt to make them better physicians for when they start their careers, and to improve the health of people in Miami.
He isn’t just the medicine dean. He’s also FIU’s senior vice president of Medical Affairs. After 25 years of experience in hospitals in several different states, administrative roles like that were not new to him.
According to his FIU staff biography page, Rock was director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at John Hopkins Medical Institution in Baltimore. He was also chairman and director of residency training programs at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
He earned his M.D. at Louisiana State University in 1972 and did his residency at Duke University’s Medical Center. More than 30 years later, he went back to school and earned an M.S. in public health at Harvard University in 2003.
Rock was the fourth person in the country to lead and develop a new medical school since 1980.
School: University of Florida
UF Professors’ median pay: $95,432.27
Total Pay: $884,540.80
Fun Fact: He once put an artificial heart in a 9-year-old
Dr. Mark Bleiweis specializes in fixing the hearts of kids and babies.
As head of UF’s Department of Surgery, he does not teach classes. “Dr. Bleiweis’ classroom is the operating room, where residents and medical students learn from this skilled surgeon,” said UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes.
Bleiweis is also the director of the UF Pediatrics Congenital Heart Center and an associate professor of pediatrics and surgery in the UF College of Medicine. According to his biography, he was the university’s first congenital heart surgeon, treating people whose hearts have abnormalities from birth.
According to Sikes, Bleiweis has repaired the hearts of “tiny babies, including one who weighed less than 3 lbs.” He implanted a Berlin Heart in a nine-year-old boy who was awaiting a heart transplant in Shands at UF, the school’s not-for-profit hospital. A Berlin Heart, designed for kids under 17, is a device that uses a pump to temporarily restore the heart’s normal blood flow when a donor unavailable, according to Children’s Memorial Hospital’s website.
Sikes also said Bleiweis was the lead cardiothoracic surgeon involved in the separation of conjoined twins, and then treated one of the twins for congenital heart disease, which is present from birth. A cardiothoracic surgeon is involved in surgically treating diseases of the organs inside a patient’s chest.
Aside from being a heart surgeon, he also has some administrative duties at the university’s medical center, according to Sikes, though she didn’t elaborate on what they are.
School: University of South Florida
Total pay: $1,415,098
USF Professors’ median pay: $84,722
Fun Fact: Owns a house with a $1.24 million market value according to Hillsborough County Property Appraiser
Dr. Neil Fenske gets under people’s skin — literally.
As chairman of USF’s dermatology department, Fenske is the only millionaire professor in the Florida state university system.
However, most of his income comes from his USF dermatological practice. The Tampa Tribune reported that, in 2008, Fenske made $1.49 million — but earned $1.28 million seeing patients.
Plus, Fenske is a nationally renowned dermatologist.
In 2008, Women’s Health magazine named him one of the 17 best dermatologists for women in the US.
In 1996, he co-wrote an article for the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology based on hundreds of studies showing correlations between smoking and wrinkles. That study, which he wrote with fellow USF dermatologist Jeffrey B. Smith, gained national attention from the Associated Press. He also has over a hundred written and co-written skin studies under his belt.
But Fenske didn’t luck his way into being a millionaire, nor was he born into it. According to Manatee-Sarasota Medical News, he was born and raised on a farm in Blue Earth, Minn., and wore a girl’s jacket to school. That’s all his family could afford for $1.50.
As for food, “SPAM was a staple,” he told the News, “and hot dogs and hamburgers were served on thin white bread because buns were ‘too expensive.’”
Over his 34-year career practicing at USF, Fenske accumulated interesting patients, like Outback Steakhouse CEO Chris Sullivan, who has gone to Fenske over the past 15 years.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of skin cancer issues personally and in my family. Over time I observed how [Fenske] was teaching young doctors and how innovative he was in his practice and teaching,” Sullivan told the News. “They did not have a dermatology chair at USF and I knew he had done a fantastic job of building that department.”
In 2006, the Tampa Business Journal reported that Sullivan donated $2 million to endow the position of Chair of the Dermatology Department, making the up-till-then dermatology program into an official department of USF.
“Personally, he has impacted me very positively and I like the way he goes about his business. He’s an outstanding educator and an outstanding doctor,” Sullivan told the News.