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Faculty Salaries

Appendix A
Appointment Letter of February 17, 1998, from Provost Lee Huntsman

(Professor John Young from the School of Art was added to the committee after this letter was sent.)



February 17, 1998

ad hoc Advisory Committee on Faculty Salaries

Professor Charles Hirschman, Chair, Department of Sociology, Box 353340, Chair
Professor Nelson Fausto, Chair, Department of Pathology, Box 357470
Professor Thomas Fleming, Chair, Department of Biostatistics, Box 357232
Professor Vandra Huber, Department of Management and Organization, Box 353200
Professor Earl Hunt, Department of Psychology, Box 351525
Professor Mark McDermott, Department of Physics, Chair, Faculty Senate, Box 351271
Ms. Helen Remick, Assistant Provost for Equal Opportunity, Box 354560
Professor Greg Zick, Chair, Department of Electrical Engineering, Box 352500

Ex-Officio Member:
Mr. Phillip Hoffman, Assistant Director, Institutional Studies, Box 351263, Resource Expert

Dear Colleagues:

One important way in which the University of Washington maintains a competitive edge and ensures the vibrancy and morale of the faculty is through salary compensation. While we will continue to argue vigorously in the state legislature for faculty salary increases, it is also important to have a salary policy and an allocation approach that reflects our commitment to equitable salaries. For this reason, I am asking that you serve as an ad hoc advisory committee to review the UW approach to faculty salaries.

The charge to this committee has four important components:

  1. To undertake a critical evaluation of the merit review process (Faculty Code, Section 24- 55; 24-57). In 1997, we encountered significant problems in the interpretation of the Faculty Code governing merit reviews. Some department chairs reported a nontrivial gap between the code, or its interpretation, and the actual operational characteristics of departments. Since merit reviews and accompanying salary awards are principal tools of academic management and leadership for department chairs, a review of the intersection of the Code and departmental merit review processes is in order.

  2. To arrive at a clear and defensible characterization of the salary situation at the UW. Many analyses have been conducted to date. It will be the responsibility of this committee to judge their adequacy, collect additional data as needed, and undertake relevant analyses.

  3. To suggest a unit-level approach to salary considerations. While merit review is largely conceived as an individual-level process, it is also true that units differ in their merit and market characteristics. First, there are differences at the disciplinary level in terms of salaries: a new assistant professor of English expects -- and is paid -- a salary different from that of a new assistant professor of finance. This is due not to the merit of the individual professors themselves, but to the various factors that determine differential salaries by field. Second, units differ in their performance. How should departmental merit and market considerations be used in determining salary distributions?

  4. To characterize an ideal salary system. Given the considerations in (1)-(3) above and relevant constraints, what would an ideal salary system look like for this institution? How far off the mark from this ideal system is the present one? What parts of the present salary system as described in Chapter 2, Part IV of the University Handbook, are most in need of immediate attention?

I am grateful to you for agreeing to serve on this most important advisory committee. Please make your recommendations by May 15th. I expect these recommendations to be taken under advisement by the Board of Deans, the Faculty Senate, and other key decision-making bodies.


Lee L. Huntsman

cc:   Dr. Richard L. McCormick
Dr. Theodore Kaltsounis
Dr. Debra Friedman


Faculty Salaries