Standard Salary Equity Review Policy

The Standard Salary Equity Review Policy focuses on analysis of salaries, performance and market among faculty at comparable stages of the career cycle. It does not focus on compression as such, and is distinct from the Compression-Equity Initiative announced in 2010.

Standard salary equity review does not qualify for central campus funding.

Guidelines for Implementation

The Standard Salary Equity Review Policy mandates periodic review of faculty salaries to assess whether individuals are appropriately and equitably paid in comparison with peers at UW-Madison.

Find specific guidelines for implementing faculty salary equity review.

Frequency of Review and Career Merit

In addition to reviewing the annual accomplishments of a faculty member for the annual merit exercise, it is important to consider salary equity in relation to career merit. At a minimum, such evaluations should occur at times when in-depth career-merit review and evaluation already take place: reappointment in the third year of the probationary period, promotion to associate professor, promotion to full professor, and each five-year post-tenure review

Funding Sources

If salary adjustments are considered appropriate, they must be funded using existing funding sources:

  • From the annual merit pool in years when there is a pay plan (which comes from campus funds)
  • Via regular promotion base adjustment (which comes from the unit’s continuing base budget)
  • From the faculty block grant (which comes from central administration to address equity, along with market and performance)
  • As a base adjustment for “individual equity” under existing rules (which comes from the unit’s continuing base budget).

A combination of any of these may also be used. This list is not exhaustive: some units have found other sources of funds for equity adjustments.

Departmental salary equity recommendations are submitted to deans for review and approval.

Option to Appeal

Academic units may use any equitable process for review of salaries. However, if a faculty member is not satisfied with the outcome of a review under procedures established by a local unit, then the faculty member is entitled to a review.

As per FP&P 8.15, a faculty member who believes that he/she has been dealt with unfairly should first seek a mutually satisfactory resolution of the problem at the departmental-level and then at the school- or college-level. If a mutually satisfactory resolution cannot be found, the faculty member may bring the matter to the attention of the University Committee.

APIR Supporting Information

Information sources have been designed by Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR) to assist in salary equity reviews. Deans, directors, department chairs and faculty may review faculty salary data in both table and scatter plot form for each academic unit (school, college, department). This information is password protected: the password will be sent in a separate email message.

Please keep in mind that these tables and plots should be used only as a starting point for assessing whether an individual’s salary is appropriately related to career merit. For example, an individual whose salary is about average (near a regression line for salary vs. time since degree) may be underpaid on the basis of career merit relative to his or her peers if he or she is an exceptional performer. An individual whose salary is below average may or may not be paid appropriately relative to career accomplishments.

Privacy Notice

Certain elements of these data are collected from employees on the condition that the data will be used only for limited affirmative action and related university purposes. Therefore, your access to the data is given with the understanding and agreement that you will not disclose the information to others who do not themselves have access.


Beth Meyerand
Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs
Office of the Provost

APIR data access and accuracy

Allison La Tarte
Associate Director
Academic Planning and Institutional Research