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Minnesota State chancellor's 3-year contract approved

ST. PAUL—The leader of Minnesota's largest higher education system will get $507,000 in annual salary and benefits when his new contract starts Aug. 1.

Minnesota State trustees Wednesday approved a three-year contract for Devinder Malhotra, who has been interim chancellor since August.

Trustees made Malhotra the permanent successor to the retired Steven Rosenstone this month after agreeing that a second national search did not produce the right candidate.

Malhotra, 70, had been plucked out of retirement after serving as St. Cloud State University provost and later interim president of Metropolitan State University. He is getting $408,000 in salary and benefits this year as interim chancellor.

Starting in August, Malhotra will get a $390,000 salary plus $117,000 in yearly benefits — $48,000 for housing, $27,000 for transportation, $12,000 for professional development and a $30,000 supplemental allowance.

That beats the $491,160 that Rosenstone made in the final year of his contract.

Malhotra also will get a big reward if he completes his three-year term: a lump sum payment worth three months' salary (at least $97,500) and a two-year appointment as a distinguished senior fellow for academic affairs at half his chancellor salary (at least $390,000 over two years).

Rosenstone's last contract gave him six months' worth of severance pay and benefits.

If trustees fire Malhotra without cause before his term ends in July 2021, he'll get six months' pay.

Malhotra said Wednesday that he's been "humbled by the outpouring of support" from those within the system of 30 two-year colleges and seven universities and from the community at large.

He pledged to provide campuses with the data tools to improve student outcomes and to demand innovation through the system.

"This kind of thinking needs to permeate everywhere in our organization. We need to encourage risk-taking, learn from our failures and incorporate risk assessment and management in all our strategies," he said.

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has a $626,450 salary plus use of the Eastcliff mansion and retirement contributions worth $225,000 next year and $325,000 in 2020, the last year of his contract.