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TTU Exec Committee Sends New Oldham Contract For Trustee Approval

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
TTU Exec Committee Sends New Oldham Contract For Trustee Approval

Tennessee Tech’s Executive Committee approved a new six-year contract for President Phil Oldham Thursday.

If approved by the full Board of Trustees Thursday afternoon, it would replace the current contract with Oldham and take the university through 2028.

Board Chair Trudy Harper said the committee’s goal was to institutionalize some performance metrics for the president.

“Also to get him to a place that I believe is representative of market both in terms of compensation and in terms of a contract,” Harper said. “I have spent a lot of time looking at what our peer institutions have done.”

The contract also includes a retention bonus. It does not include annual raises. Harper said that would be decided upon following the executive committee’s annual review.

“I feel good that will get us comparable to our peers that is our legitimate peers,” Harper said. “We have a couple of LGI (Locally Governed Institutions) institutions that are leading larger institutions in larger cities with different demographics, but for our university, I think this is appropriate.”

The contract has Oldham’s annual salary at $375,000. For each year year of service, Oldham would receive a retention on June 30th that tops out at $100,000.

For example, Oldham would receive $25,000 this year. In 2023, he would receive $50,000. In 2024 and 2025, the retention bonus increases to $75,000. The bonus then caps at $100,000 for 2026, 2027, 2028 and thereafter.

The contract has performance metrics that focus on enrollment, student success, university development, research and campus improvements. Trustee Tom Jones said he likes the structure of the contract, but the unknown of the future could change the metrics.

“Nobody predicted COVID for example, and during this time, enrollment numbers were a challenge,” Jones said. “Things may change in the the economy, in the world that may affect how the university moves forward. We have to be prepared to understand that we may have to adapt.”

Trustee Dan Alcott calls the contract an improvement, because a bonus after the fact means the university would need to find the money. For example, delaying a hire or not filling a position due to concerns about what happens a year with the state budget.


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