Guidelines for Implementing Faculty Salary Equity Review

The University of Wisconsin is committed to maintaining equity in faculty salaries. A major gender pay exercise was commissioned by former Chancellor Donna E. Shalala in 1990. As a result of the study, the Faculty Senate adopted a plan to provide salary adjustments to women faculty in June 1993.

In addition, the Senate called for a follow-up study that would make further recommendations to ensure gender pay equity on a continuing basis. Periodic gender pay equity reviews, as recommended in the follow-up study, have been conducted since then. The policy was modified in 2002-2003 to include the review of any faculty member who experienced salary inequity. The guidelines for examining equity in faculty pay are outlined below.

The purpose of the procedures is to assess whether an individual faculty member’s salary is appropriately and equitably related to career merit in comparison with peers at UW-Madison and to make merit-based salary-equity adjustments where appropriate. The procedures use existing campus policies and procedures for making salary decisions, and they are to be carried out at the specific times when individual faculty should be evaluated for career merit.

The procedures were developed in consultation with the University Committee, the Equity and Diversity Resource Center (EDRC) Advisory Committee, the Faculty Compensation and Economic Benefits Commission, the Committee on Women in the University, as well as the academic deans.

Basic Method for Salary Equity Review

The following are the procedures to be followed by all campus units to ensure salary equity by evaluating individual faculty members’ salaries in comparison with peers’ salaries at specific times in their careers.

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Tenure-home departments conduct review

The tenure-home department(s) will conduct the salary equity evaluation using data provided by Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR), and departmental processes that already exist for the establishment and review of salaries, as specified by Faculty Policies and Procedures.

Frequency of review

Each faculty member’s salary will be evaluated for equity relative to career merit at the time of each major faculty review and evaluation: in the third year of the probationary period, at the time of promotion to associate professor or full professor, and at each five year post-tenure review.

In addition, salaries must be evaluated in response to a request from the faculty member.

Departmental report and recommendation to the dean

For each faculty member reviewed, the departmental report will include a recommendation (whether for an increase or no increase) and a justification in writing, with reasons and a statement of the factors used to reach the decision.

Deans will review all salary equity decisions (whether or not an adjustment is recommended) to determine whether they are fair and are supported by adequate documentation. The faculty member reviewed may appeal using existing departmental appeal procedures.

Salary adjustment approval and funding sources

Any salary adjustment approved by the dean and the Academic Personnel Office will be made during the normal annual salary exercise.

No special campus-level funding is available for equity pay adjustments. If 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.

Detailed Guidelines for Salary Equity Review

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Step 1: Identify the faculty members whose salary must be reviewed

  1. Each faculty member’s salary will be evaluated for equity relative to career merit at the time of each major faculty review and evaluation:
    • In the third year of the probationary period
    • Promotion to associate professor
    • Promotion to full professor
    • Each five-year post-tenure review
  2. Salaries must also be evaluated in response to a request from the faculty member.
  3. Exclude those faculty members who will certainly not be on the payroll after July 1, because of retirement, resignation, or non-renewal of contract.
  4. Note that academic staff, including clinical faculty, are not included in this exercise, either as persons under review or as “comparables.” This exercise of pay adjustment is focused exclusively on tenure-track and tenured faculty members.
  5. Gather current curriculum vitae and activity reports on all faculty members to be reviewed. Prior years of activity reports may also be reviewed.

Step 2: Identify comparable faculty members

  1. For each female faculty member selected or nominated for a gender-related equity review, the department will conduct a salary comparison with three male faculty members. To assess any other inequity for any selected or nominated faculty, the department will conduct a salary comparison with three other faculty members.
  2. The identification of comparable faculty members is a key to the process. It is unlikely that each faculty member can be matched to three faculty members who are exactly comparable in the variables listed below for consideration. Departments are asked to find the three most comparable faculty members, restricting the choice to faculty members within the department unless the faculty members in the department are so unlike the faculty member with respect to the listed variables that valid judgments could not be made on those comparisons. If one or more comparable faculty must be found outside the department, the written report must explain in the justification why a comparable outside of the department was chosen and on what basis the selection was made.
  3. For each faculty member, select three faculty members who are comparable in the following respects:
    • Years since degree; years of work experience relevant to the position; years of service at UW-Madison
    • Responsibilities of the position, nature of work performed (example from within one department: laboratory research as opposed to extension/outreach)
    • Rank (If there are not a sufficient number of comparable faculty within the school or other unit used, comparable faculty at a higher rank can be utilized.)
    • Affiliation with a particular department, program, center, office, etc.
  4. Comparable means “similar,” not “the same as.” It is expected that one or more of the comparable faculty may have some differences in the factors listed above.
  5. If you cannot identify three comparable faculty within the department, seek them from units in which a faculty member has a formal faculty relationship (e.g. is a voting member of two executive committees, a voting member of two departments or an affiliate), and/or from units that do work similar to his or hers. They need to be units with a similar market value in salaries.
  6. A decision as to comparability at this step of the analysis should not include merit or performance. That comparison is to be done at the next step.
  7. Gather current curriculum vitae and activity report(s) on the three faculty comparables.

Step 3: Conduct the comparison and prepare a written justification

  1. The purpose of the comparison is to determine whether any differences in salary are justified by differences in compensable factors that determine merit in that unit, such as:
    • performance in research, publication, teaching, outreach, service, and professional practice;
    • record of obtaining grants or other outside additional funding for programs;
    • market/demands for particular skills and specialties, including a record suitable for attracting offers of employment from other universities or research institutions;
    • assumption of administrative or supervisory duties that normally merits additional salary;
    • actual outside offers;
    • additional factors (other than sex) that normally determine merit pay in the unit.
  2. This review will be based on the curriculum vitae and the annual activities report or summaries of recent activities for the faculty members being compared, plus any further materials or consultations the department finds useful.
  3. Keep in mind that the three comparable faculty will receive annual merit increases in the same salary exercise. Therefore, the salary adjustment for the individual being reviewed should establish salary equity as of the beginning of the next academic year, after all four faculty members (the individual being reviewed and the three comparable faculty) have received their annual raise.
  4. Identify the dollar amount of any difference in salary between the faculty member and each of the other comparable faculty.
  5. Articulate justifications for the differences where justifications exist. The first significant task of evaluation is to determine, for the faculty member and each of the comparable faculty, what amount of total difference in salary (if any) is justified. A number of factors may have created differences between the salary of a faculty member and the three comparable faculty. Possible causes of salary difference include but are not limited to:
    • differences in degrees attained, years since terminal degree, years of relevant experience and years at UW-Madison;
    • differences in responsibilities of the position and in work performed, both currently and in the work history (e.g., a faculty member who has served as an administrator in the past, versus one who has not);
    • differences in market, e.g., a difference in the prevailing market for salaries if the faculty member and his or her otherwise comparable faculty were not hired in the same year; administrative salary increases retained by a faculty member upon return to the department; salary adjustments made to respond to outside offers; and differences in the market demand for the work performed by the faculty member and their comparable faculty; and
    • differences in performance. Judgments about such differences should be based on evidence of the faculty member’s cumulative career merit:
      • performance in research, publication, teaching, outreach and service (quality and quantity)
      • record of obtaining outside grants or other outside funding for progress. (The department may utilize additional data on the faculty member and the comparables such as five years of activity reports, student teaching evaluation scores, records of effectiveness in outreach/extension, etc.)
  6. Observe the principle that the personnel data gathered for the review (with the exception of the curriculum vitae) are confidential during the entirety of the equity review process. Only persons performing the review and the person to whom the data pertains have access to the data at this time.
  7. Though you will work with a current curriculum vitae, consider as relevant that data relevant to performance through December (or through the date used for the current merit exercise) since this is the data upon which past merit determinations have been made.
  8. For budgeted tenured or tenure track split appointments between departments, consider only the merit data relevant to performance within the department. The other department(s) is/are expected to consider the merit data relevant to performance within that unit. Where a faculty member has a tenured or tenure track appointment in more than one school, the respective deans should work out an agreement on provision of the recommendations.
  9. Consider, also, any supplemental evidence provided by a faculty member who requested a review. As with all other data, the department is responsible to determine which data are relevant and persuasive, and which are not.
  10. Assign a dollar value collectively to all justifiable differences based on the evidence available for the faculty member and the comparables.
  11. If the value of justifiable differences account for all the differences in salary between the faculty member and the comparables, then the determination is no increase in base for the faculty member and the written justification should articulate the reasons for arriving at this result.
  12. Where there are any unexplained or unjustified differences, then calculate the value of those differences and recommend an adjustment to current salary, articulating the justifications for the calculation.
  13. The written justifications for the recommendation shall reflect an examination of the faculty member’s cumulative career merit (based on qualitative and/or quantitative assessments of performance in teaching, research, outreach, and service as appropriate to the departmental mission, and in comparison to the comparable faculty members).
  14. Include in justifications the reasons for selecting the three comparables.
  15. Address any issues raised by the faculty member if they submitted supplemental evidence.
  16. Each recommendation for adjustment and each justification is accessible only to the persons performing the review and to the faculty member concerned. Any other faculty member or member of the public may not access the recommendations concerning other faculty members until the entire equity adjustment process is completed and pay increases have been finally decided upon.
  17. The Dean will review all salary equity decisions (whether or not an adjustment is recommended) to determine whether they are fair and are supported by adequate documentation. The Dean may involve the school equity & diversity committee in the review process.
  18. For those requests that warrant a salary adjustment, the documentation should be forwarded to the Academic Personnel Office (room 166 Bascom Hall) for final review and approval.

Step 4: Notify faculty members and include appeal procedures

  1. After the dean’s office receives a copy of the report, notify each faculty member of the recommendation giving them a copy of the written justifications for the recommendation.
  2. The faculty member reviewed may appeal using existing departmental appeal procedures.

Contacts

Michael Bernard-Donals
Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff
Office of the Provost
michael.bernarddonals@wisc.edu
608-262-5246

Brian Vaughan
Senior University Legal Council
Office of Legal Affairs
brian.vaughan@wisc.edu
608-263-7400

Margaret Harrigan
Distinguished Policy and Planning Analyst
Academic Planning and Institutional Research
margaret.harrigan@wisc.edu
608-263-7141

Catharine DeRubeis
HR Specialist
Office of Human Resources, Compensation and Titling
catharine.derubeis@wisc.edu
608-262-7102