Merit-based Faculty Compensation

Executive Summary

I. Roles of Faculty in Changing Time

The faculty have both basic Rights - the academic freedom guaranteed by tenure - and primary Responsibilities - contribution to the mission of the University by engaging in scholarly activities, instructional activities and service. The establishment of a merit-based faculty compensation system depends critically on a strong partnership between the faculty and the university administration, i.e., it should be initiated by the faculty and developed jointly by the faculty and the administration, at both the school and the university level. Faculty salaries should be closely linked to merit ratings, and the salary pools should be of sufficient magnitude to make distinctions of merit meaningful.

II. Faculty Activity Profile

Because of the differences among various fields of endeavor, the basic parameters for the nature, quantity, and quality of full-time work are best determined at the school level by the elected faculty governance body and the cognizant dean.

Academic Activities may be classified in three general categories:

Distribution of Faculty Effort - A Faculty Activity Profile, or Spitzer Profile, should be agreed upon mutually between a faculty member and his/her department Chair in accordance with his/her faculty responsibilities. A typical profile for a full-time, tenure-track appointment in most schools should include 35-55% instructional activities, 35-55% scholarly activities, and 5-15% service. The total must equal 100%. A faculty member may select an individualized profile with the approval of the chair and cognizant dean of the relevant units, as long as the profile does not fall below the minimum percentage for an individualized profile. In the absence of special circumstances, a faculty member should devote at least a minimum percentage of effort (e.g., 20% instruction, 20% scholarship, and 5% service) to each of the three areas of activities. Faculty Activity Profiles totaling less than 100%, with a proportional reduction in compensation, should be considered along with other incentives to encourage timely retirement.

III. Merit Evaluation

A peer evaluation based on the sound judgement of an elected faculty panel (e.g., Merit Review Committee) is the only realistic and fair form of merit evaluation. It should be able differentiate the level of faculty merit within the same academic unit to ensure a fair and equitable salary distribution. The individual school is in the best position to determine the general parameters of the evaluation criteria. These parameters should be set by the elected faculty governance body and the cognizant dean. More detailed evaluation criteria may be determined by the appropriate individual academic unit. The application of the evaluation criteria should be left to the Merit Review Committees.

In addition to the student evaluation (including both narrative comments and numerical scores compiled from a required student survey), the evaluation of the instructional effort should take into account additional quantitative and qualitative parameters: lecture hours per week, class size and course management, nature of the course, degree of difficulty in course preparation and grading, course development, post-graduate evaluation, and peer evaluation, including review of syllabi. The evaluation of scholarship activities has been less problematical and we believe that faculty are sufficiently experienced to differentiate the subtle differences in the quality of scholarly works. Service evaluation is usually dependent on the input of the Chair. It may also be measured by other external acknowledgements.

VI. Salary Recommendation

We strongly recommend an open communication between the Chair and the faculty on the guidelines (or formula) for the salary recommendations and the publication of the salary "quartiles" by rank and years in the rank at the school level. A special salary pool may be established for retention, promotion, incentive for faculty rejuvenation, and adjustments associated with other long term problems. A combined use of the percentage increase and the actual dollar increase as a quantitative measurement for the salary increase should also be considered.