GRAND FORKS -- University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy’s chief of staff, who will begin working remotely in Texas in May, received a $30,000 pay increase late last year, a raise university officials say aligned with her job duties and the pay associated with them.

UND spokesman David Dodds confirmed Friday, Feb. 15, that Foster was promoted to chief of staff between October and November. The promotion came with a $30,000 pay raise. Foster’s previous title was “special assistant” to the president.

Foster was hired in 2016 at a salary of $80,000. In June 2017, she was given a pay increase to $84,000.

Dodds said a market study was completed in October 2018 to look at the proper compensation and title for someone completing Foster’s duties.

“As it is with all employees across campus, when it’s found that their compensation needs to be more in line with their level of job responsibility, sometimes adjustments are made,” he said.

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The market adjustment had already gone into effect prior to Foster deciding to leave, Dodds said.

He said it is his “strong belief” the university felt the adjustments were necessary, regardless of whether Foster was leaving the university, to have a “fairer compensation of her responsibilities.”

Earlier this week, UND announced via its University Letter blog that Angelique Foster would be staying on as chief of staff. However, she will be doing that work remotely from Texas while maintaining a $114,000 salary and having up to $25,000 worth of travel expenses paid for each year.

Dodds said the changes surrounding Foster’s title and salary brought her “a little more” in line with her actual duties and the compensation for them. He noted Foster’s salary “still is much lower than the median and average salary of her regional peers in higher education.”

Foster has been a part of Kennedy’s staff since his first day in office on July 1, 2016. The two have worked together since 2012 when Kennedy was working as a professor and director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Replacement search

A search to replace Foster began on Nov. 7, 2018, after she said she intended to leave UND. The search closed on Dec. 7.

Dodds said 30 internal and external candidates applied for the position, six were deemed qualified for the position and eventually three finalists were selected for an on-campus interview with the executive council serving as the search committee.

Dodds said the executive council’s top candidate would have cost UND an estimated $100,000 more in salary than Foster’s current compensation, plus the moving expenses.

“At the suggestion of executive council members, Angelique was asked to consider continuing her role splitting her time between Dallas and Grand Forks,” he said. “Angelique’s proven track record in helping to ensure actions relating to our One UND Strategic Plan and the reservoir of trust she has built with the members made working in such capacity more attractive.”

Dodds said it is anticipated that Foster will be on campus every other week.

He added that UND currently has 118 employees who work remotely, 88 percent of which are faculty and 12 percent are staff members.