Portland State has created a new position for the former director of information technology, promoting him to associate vice president of partnerships, planning and information.
As the associate vice president of partnerships, planning and information, Gregory will add to his previous duties the role of facilitating the growth goals for the school through cooperation with Portland business and government entities.
Desrochers said she developed this position specifically for Gregory to devote more time in cultivating relationships with entities like the City of Portland, TriMet and the Portland Development Commission.
Mark Gregory received an annual salary increase from $144,000 to $148,000, according to Kathy LaTourette, associate vice president for human resources.
Around the same time Gregory was promoted, the information technology department faced $358,000 in budget cuts as a part of the budget crisis hitting the university. Gregory terminated the positions of multiple members of his IT staff to make up for this budget shortfall.
“It is difficult to say to someone, ‘You are doing a great job, and if we had the money, we would keep you,'” Gregory said, “but that is essentially what I had to do.”
Lindsay Desrochers, the vice president of Finance and Administration, said that the decision to add Gregory’s new position was made before those cuts were known. She said that even in times of decreasing budgets and letting employees go to cut budgets, the university is still hiring.
“I needed the executive capabilities of this individual, and he very much wanted to grow into that. I think we’re getting a bargain, frankly,” Desrochers said. “At the same time you make [budget] reductions, you also make some investments. As we grow more students, we have to add more faculty. We are a growing institution.”
Desrochers said she looked among her staff for a person who possessed the skills needed for the job.
“I needed someone who could assist me with all the infrastructure development of the campus, the relationships with the city and legal agencies,” Desrochers said. “I needed someone who could navigate that world, who already had a good understanding of how the campus functions.”
Despite the raise, LaTourette said that most Portland State faculty earn less than their counterparts at other Oregon universities and around the country.
“The usual salary for a chief information officer in the Oregon University System is right around $200,000,” LaTourette added. “Gregory is earning significantly less than his counterparts, and that does not take into consideration his added responsibilities.”
The head of any technology department on a college campus, Gregory said, is one of the highest paid positions. Moving to a more administrative position would not necessarily mean a giant leap in income, he said.
Gregory said he has filled out his IT management team because he needs to spend more of his time fulfilling his new responsibilities. He said he is dealing with drastic change as he spends about one-third of his time working in IT, when he used to spend over 75 percent of his time there.
“That is a real big change. Hopefully I can get that closer to 45 or 55 percent as I get familiarized with my new job,” Gregory said. “A large part of my reason to do the job was to learn something new and to get engaged in a new area. It is very much in the future; it is thinking far forward, and I like that kind of thing. That’s what is exciting to me.”