WPG Information Request Methodology

The goal of the Women’s Power Gap Executive Compensation in Higher Education Information Request is to capture and analyze gender and racial/ethnic data for the most highly compensated executives within our nation’s most prestigious research universities, those 130[1] institutions (93 public and 37 private) as defined by the Carnegie Classification. The data will be used to create a baseline compensation report from which to measure future progress in increasing the representation of women and people of color, particularly underrepresented minorities[2] in higher education

Data will be analyzed at both the aggregate and individual university levels for comparative purposes. However, other than for the President or Chancellor of each university, individual names will not be made public in the report and will be kept confidential. Titles will be used such as Provost, Football Coach, Dean, etc.

Executive Categories:

Executives are grouped and ranked based on four categories – Core (Academic/Administrative, including Chancellor/President), Athletic, Medical Center, and Related Investment Officers (not included in this report). We report the top 10 executives (or the maximum available) for Core, Athletic, and Medical Center categories.

Core: Includes all university executives not categorized as Athletic, Medical Center, or Related Investment Officers, and typically includes members of the Chancellor/President’s executive team, such as deans, chief financial officers, executive vice presidents, and professors.

Athletic: Includes Athletic coaches and Athletic directors.

Medical Center: Includes executives who are listed on the university payroll but, based on their title and role at the university, are also connected to the Medical Center. Given the difficulty in ascertaining the percentage of an executive’s time associated with teaching, research, and clinical practice, we elected to categorize all medical executives as Medical Center other than the EVP of Health Affairs and Deans of medical, dental, veterinary, and nursing schools.


Total Compensation is the sum of Base Comp and Other Comp. Some institutions include bonuses in Base Comp. Other institutions include this income in Other Comp. Non-taxable or deferred income is not included in compensation except if it was paid out that calendar year and then is included in Other Comp.

Private universities:

We used the most recent publicly available IRS Form 990s for 2018, reflecting compensation from calendar year 2017. Private universities are required to report their five highest paid executives, as well as all officers and key employees on the 990. As a consequence, in identifying the most highly compensated employees at a private institution, our dataset may miss other individuals who were more highly compensated than those we have listed, but were not required to be listed on the Form 990. If you wish to add these executives to the dataset, you may do so on the edit screen in Section 1: Executive Compensation.

Total compensation for private university employees is pulled from Part VII of the 990 and includes Column D in the 990 (Reportable compensation from the organization) and Column E in the 990 (Reportable compensation from related organizations).

Public universities:

There is no single source of data for all 93 public institutions. As such, we selected the site(s) that would provide the most recent and comprehensive data for each institution from the following:


Compensation data for Chancellors/Presidents has been pulled from the Chronicle of Higher Education website. All compensation was tracked for the same calendar year at each institution; for example, if we found compensation information for all executives for 2018, the Chancellor/President’s compensation for 2018 provided by Chronicle was used. If there were two Chancellors/Presidents during the same calendar year, the executive who held the position at the end of the calendar year was identified as Chancellor/President.

Position titles:

All compensation and positions are as of a certain calendar year. If compensation is from calendar year 2017, the executive’s position is from that year; both the compensation and position may differ from what they currently hold in 2020. In some instances, the executives listed may no longer be employed at the university.

Gender determination:

We defined gender in accordance with current convention, utilizing W (Woman), M (Man) and NB (Nonbinary). Nonbinary is a term used to identify a person who does not identify within the gender binary classifications of woman or man.

We used at least two methods to determine gender, such as photos and pronouns from bios, press releases, articles, and university websites. If this information is incorrect, or if an executive prefers a nonbinary categorization, an update can be made to that executive’s record on the edit screen in Section 1.

Race/Ethnicity determination:

We identified race/ethnicity for the number 1 ranked executive for the Core, Medical Center, and Athletic categories. We pulled bios, articles, press releases, university websites, and other public documents. We then identified a race/ethnic determination based on notations, such as: “first ever African-American female president.” We used the U.S. Census designations and assigned “Unknown” when the determination could not be made. We ask that you verify this information in Section 2b. Race/Ethnicity Questionnaire.

Race/Ethnicity definitions:

  1. White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
  2. Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
  3. American Indian or Alaskan Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
  4. Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
  6. Hispanic or Latinx: A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.
  7. Two or more races: A person who identifies as more than one race.
  8. Unknown: A person whose race and ethnicity are not known.


[1] Compensation data for University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus was unavailable and therefore not part of this data set.

[2] Underrepresented minority (URM) is defined as: Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latinx, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.