Vizzini will be paid as much as Mike Pence to teach engineering at WSU


Matt Crow

Former Provost and Senior Vice President Tony Vizzini in his office in fall 2017. This year Vizzini is being paid $243,288 to teach aerospace engineering.

Former Wichita State provost Tony Vizzini will be paid $243,288 this school year to teach aerospace engineering — making him the highest-paid faculty member in the College of Engineering.

Vizzini will make $212 less than Vice President of the United States Mike Pence. The next-highest-paid aerospace engineering educator makes $153,407, and the department average, not counting Vizzini, is $92,584.

Vizzini, who left his provost position in January “to focus on his professional goals,” was named a finalist for several chancellor and president positions at other universities last school year, and had been job hunting since at least spring of 2017. While on academic leave, Vizzini continued to receive his $297,353 salary.

“It’s been a while since he’s taught, but you look at his resume and it’s pretty amazing,” Joe Kleinsasser, director of news and media relations at WSU, told The Sunflower in June, before Vizzini’s salary had been set. “Just the fact that he was even considered for president positions at a couple schools says a lot.”

Vizzini, an MIT graduate, has been at WSU since 2013. Prior to that, he spent four years as dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Western Michigan University, five years as professor and department head of Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State, and 17 years as an associate professor at the University of Maryland.

“When you have someone in that situation who’s been a provost at a pretty high salary and his background in academia being what it is in his field, with his level of experience, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a higher than average salary,” Kleinsasser said.

Vizzini’s salary is fully funded from restricted use sources, meaning it does not come from tuition or the State General Fund. David Miller, WSU budget director, said program fees within the College of Engineering pay Vizzini’s salary.

Restricted use sources either fully or partially fund seven other aerospace engineering positions for a total of $312,056.

Program fees for the College of Engineering held steady at $50 in WSU’s Fiscal Year 2019 tuition and fees proposal, approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in June.

Vizzini declined an interview with The Sunflower.