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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Statement of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Regarding President Shirley Ann Jackson's Compensation

November 2, 2009

Statement of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Regarding President Shirley Ann Jackson's Compensation

William N. Walker, Vice President, Strategic Communications and External Relations

Troy, NY – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson’s compensation is a reflection of her extraordinary accomplishments, envisioning and leading a comprehensive transformation at Rensselaer, moving it to a top-tier, world class teaching and research institution with global reach and global impact. The value she contributes to the Institute far exceeds the amount she is paid.

During the past decade, President Jackson’s leadership has truly transformed Rensselaer. The value of the physical plant has nearly doubled resulting from $690 million in new construction and renovation of facilities for research, teaching, and student life, including investments in three major research/teaching platforms that make possible a level of interdisciplinary intellectual activity resulting in transformational discoveries and innovation. In addition, the student applications have doubled; the academic profile of the students continues to rise; scores of new teachers/scholars have rejuvenated the faculty; research volume has nearly tripled; and life-changing new student programs, services and facilities have been introduced. This transformation has been realized, in part, by a successful $1.4 billion capital campaign, which was led by President Jackson.

These are just a sampling of the metrics of change. Look in any direction, and you will see the transformation underway at Rensselaer. In addition, her global reach has raised the stature and profile of Rensselaer on the world stage. We are very proud of what, together, we have accomplished under her leadership.

Were there any changes to Dr. Jackson’s compensation as a result of the economic downturn?
The information reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education on President Jackson’s compensation is 2007 data, and precedes the economic downturn. In the last fiscal year, President Jackson volunteered to give back 5 percent of her salary to a student scholarship fund, as part of the Institute’s comprehensive response to the changing, challenging economic environment.  In addition, her Cabinet is donating 2.5 percent of their salary to this fund. Dr. Jackson’ approach to the economic crisis was clear, decisive, and strategic. She had the foresight to move quickly to address the economic downturn in its early stages. Her leadership approach brought us a planning process with built-in annual budget contingencies, so we were able to move more quickly than most institutions.

How is Dr. Jackson’s compensation set?
President Jackson’s compensation is set by the Compensation Committee of the Board of Trustees, after careful external benchmarking, and with a thorough annual performance review.


The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., is President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York. She has held senior leadership positions in government, industry, research, and academe. A theoretical physicist, she was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1995-1999). President Obama has appointed her to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Her research and policy focus includes energy security and the national capacity for innovation, including addressing the “Quiet Crisis” of looming gaps in the science, technology, and engineering workforce and reduced support for basic research. She is a Vice Chairman of the Council on Competitiveness and co-chairs its Energy Security, Innovation and Sustainability initiative. She is past President (2004) and Chairman of the Board (2005) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Philosophical Society, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and AAAS. She serves on the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, and on the Board of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a member of the Board of Directors of global companies including IBM and FedEx. Calling her a “national treasure,” the National Science Board selected her as its 2007 Vannevar Bush Award recipient for “a lifetime of achievements in scientific research, education, and senior statesman-like contributions to public policy.” Dr. Jackson holds a S.B. in physics and a Ph.D. in theoretical elementary particle physics, both from M.I.T.. (as of October 30, 2009 )

About Rensselaer
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer is the nation’s oldest technological research university. The university, which has undergone an extraordinary transformation during the last decade, offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of fields, with particular emphasis in interdisciplinary research in the areas of biotechnology, energy and the environment, nanotechnology, computation and information technology, and media and the arts. The Institute is noted for its success transferring technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.

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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.