UR Finances 101: Frequently asked questions

How are faculty salaries determined?


Individual faculty members’ salaries and raises are determined within the schools or departments.  Except for compensation for administrative duties, faculty salaries are not set by the central administration (i.e. the President’s or Provost’s offices). Unit budgets are set and the apportionment to individual salaries is largely under the control of the administrative head of the unit.  In the schools, this is the senior dean. In larger schools, individual raise pools are assigned by the dean to subunits, typically the departments, and the department chairperson allocates the raises to the individual faculty salaries. In most cases, the dean or unit leader is responsible for reviewing and approving these individual allocations.


The factors that result in the specific value of a given faculty member’s salary vary significantly across the University.  Determining factors include:


·       Salary when hired (and hence the effects of compounding);


·       Rank (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, full Professor, etc.);


·       Effective “Market Rates” for faculty with similar specialties that are externally established for the region and for the Nation.  These include regional cost-of-living differences;


·       Scholarly productivity and research performance (“Merit”);


·       Teaching and service performance;


·       Overall unit budgets;


·       Individual-specific history (retention negotiations, intellectual property generation, administrative responsibility, equity adjustments, exceptionally poor or strong teaching or research performance, etc.).


Approval of the school’s budget, including the overall salary pool, is usually the only role the central administration has in setting faculty salaries.


In many cases, the guaranteed portion of a faculty member’s salary is less than the maximum gross salary that can be earned over a twelve-month period. It is often possible for the individual to increase her or his take-home pay by supplementing the guaranteed portion of the salary. The sources can include salary derived from external research funds.  For some faculty this added income is received as summer salary.  For research faculty, it is often expected that a substantial portion of the gross salary is to be funded by external grants. In many of these cases, there is a base or guaranteed salary portion that determines the maximum possible annual take-home pay.   For some faculty members, there can be substantial clinical income which is not necessarily limited by any University salary decision.

Two useful references for faculty salaries are the presentation by Provost Kuncl to the Faculty Senate in May, 2008, and a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.


Last revised December 12, 2008.

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