University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Presidential Orders

Executive Order

No. 64

Faculty Salary Policy



The fundamental purpose of the University of Washington Faculty Salary Policy is to allow the University to recruit and retain the best faculty. To accomplish these two objectives, the faculty must have confidence that their continuing and productive contributions to the goals of their units and to the University's missions of teaching, research, and service will be rewarded throughout their careers. To compete for the best faculty, the University must be competitive with its peers. To retain the best faculty requires a similarly competitive approach. Therefore, the University places as one of its highest priorities rewarding faculty who perform to the highest standards and who continue to do so throughout their appointments at the University. This policy is designed to provide for a predictable and continuing salary progression for meritorious faculty.

Salary funds must be used to attract, retain, and reward those faculty whose continuing performance is outstanding, while recognizing that disciplinary variations exist in the academic marketplace. Accordingly, the University's Salary Policy must allow for differential allocations for individuals and units. This includes the necessary flexibility to address market gaps that develop between UW units and their recognized peers, to acknowledge existing and future differentials in unit performance and contribution, and to recognize that differing funding sources and reward structures exist among schools, colleges, and campuses. The policy must ensure that equity considerations and compression are also addressed as needed. The University's Salary Policy is founded upon the principle that individual salary decisions must be based on merit as assessed by a performance review conducted by faculty and administrative colleagues. Salary adjustments for performance and retention, as well as salary awards stemming from differential unit performance and marketplace gaps, are based upon a consultative process of faculty and administrative evaluation. Merit/performance evaluations are unit-based and reward the faculty for their contributions to local units as well as to the University's goals.

This policy is built on an expectation of meaningful deliberations between the administration and faculty. As such, the policy seeks to manifest shared governance that is at the core of the Faculty Code.

The Faculty Salary Policy is also founded on a clear understanding that the final decision on the University budget, including salaries, rests with the Board of Regents. Therefore, salary progression as envisioned in this policy, including the award of minimum equal-percentage merit salary increases for eligible faculty members, is conditioned on specific approval by the Board of Regents as part of the annual budget.


Regular Merit Allocation Procedure

Prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, the Provost will consult with the Board of Deans and Chancellors and the Senate Committee on Planning and Budgeting to formulate a recommendation for a salary distribution plan, including providing an opportunity for input into the criteria to be considered in formulating the plan. If, in times of severe fiscal stress short of a declared financial emergency, the salary distribution plan to be recommended by the Provost includes a minimum equal-percentage salary increase less than a 2% regular merit increase, an explanation of the basis for the recommendation will be provided to the Board of Deans and Chancellors and the Senate Committee on Planning and Budgeting with an opportunity to provide comment and feedback, based on the best available information about the University's fiscal situation, before a final recommendation is forwarded. The Provost shall then make a recommendation to the President for faculty salary allocations. The President shall then make a budgetary recommendation to the Board of Regents, which will include any proposed faculty salary allocations for the fiscal year.


Additional Allocation Categories

Consistent with the stated objectives, the first priority shall be to support regular merit and promotion awards to current faculty. Further, each biennium the minimum salaries by rank will be reviewed for adjustment. Other funds, as available, may be allotted among the following faculty salary adjustments:

  A. Additional merit to all faculty;

  B. Differential distributions by unit to correct salary gaps created by changing disciplinary markets, assessments of unit quality, determinations of gaps resulting from compression or inversion, or identification of inappropriate differences among individual faculty members within the unit whose accomplishments and career stages are comparable;

C. Retention;

D. System-wide adjustments to raise the salaries of all meritorious faculty.


Merit Principle and Review

The University commits to support salary adjustments based on performance evaluations for those faculty deemed meritorious after a systematic review by faculty colleagues, department chair or academic appointing unit head, dean/chancellor, and Provost. In order for these performance evaluations and merit salary recommendations to be meaningful, they must be done systematically and over an appropriate length of time to be able to make true quality assessments about performance and progress, considering the cumulative record of faculty.

All faculty shall be evaluated annually for merit and for progress towards reappointment, promotion and/or tenure, as appropriate. Subject to the conditions of this policy, a faculty member who is deemed to be meritorious in performance shall in the following academic year be awarded the 2% or the minimum equal-percentage merit increase that has been approved for that year according to the allocation procedures above. Higher levels of performance shall be recognized by higher levels of salary increases as permitted by available funding.

Any faculty member whose performance is not deemed meritorious shall be informed by the chair or dean of the reasons. If deemed meritorious in the next year's review, and subject to the conditions of this policy, the faculty member shall in the following academic year receive the 2% or the minimum equal-percentage merit increase that has been approved for that year according to the allocation procedures above. A departmental advisory committee, appointed consistent with Chapter 24, Section 24-55, Subsection H of the Faculty Code, will consider the development needs of faculty members not receiving regular merit salary increases for two consecutive years.

When additional merit funds are available the distribution should take into consideration factors of merit, compression, and equity. The additional merit pool must be distributed by departmentalized schools, colleges, and campuses as equal percentage increases to each academic appointing unit.



Each faculty member who is promoted in rank shall be awarded a 10% promotion salary increase beginning on the date the promotion is effective; July 1st for twelve-month appointees and September 16th for nine-month appointees.


Unit Adjustments

Additional salary funds may be authorized by the Provost to be used by colleges, schools, and campuses during an academic year, after appropriate consultations with the Senate Committee on Planning and Budgeting, to address occurring or foreseeable differentials in the academic labor markets and to reflect assessments of the quality, standing, and contributions of units to college, school, campus and University goals. The differentials may include determinations of salary compression or inversion and inconsistences in salaries among individual faculty members within a unit whose accomplishments and career stages are comparable. Such authorization should be informed by an assessment of market gaps and availability of funds by deans and chancellors in consultation with the elected faculty council and unit leadership.

Deans and chancellors shall consult with their elected faculty councils when developing distribution proposals for additional salary increase funds among their constituent units. The procedures of Chapter 24, Section 24-55 of the Faculty Code will be followed in distributing funds allocated to adjust faculty salaries based on merit.


Retention Adjustments

With approval from the Provost, funds may be used to adjust faculty salaries as a means to retain faculty members at the University of Washington either at the time of merit reviews or at other times as necessary throughout the academic year. Assessments of a faculty member's quality and unit contribution are essential elements in decisions to make retention adjustments. Consultative processes to recommend retention adjustments shall be established at the unit level following the procedures set forth in Chapter 24, Section 24-71 of the Faculty Code.

January 7, 2000; June 21, 2010; January 10, 2017.

For related information, see:

  • Executive Order No. 45, "Documentation of Qualifications and Recommendations for Promotion, Tenure, and Merit Increases"
  • Executive Order No. 59, "Excess Compensation to Faculty"
  • Faculty Code, Chapter 24, "Appointment and Promotion of Faculty Members"
  • Administrative Policy Statement 41.1, "Salary Payments and Employment Periods for Academic Personnel"