Faculty pay to be determined by merit, peer evaluations
New system gives some faculty first pay raises in years
A new peer review system for determining faculty salary increases will take effect in paychecks this month, following a proposal by University President Teresa Sullivan that was implemented in July. Faculty merit raises will now be determined by reviews from other faculty in the same department, rather than exclusively by department chairs.
Departments developed independent rating systems with unique criteria for the new system, and official reviews are then conducted by a committee of faculty appointed by department chairs.
“[Criteria for faculty raises include] teaching, research, scholarship, service to their department, school, the University, and national organization,” said Maurie McInnis, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. “It is a full holistic approach.”
In past years, department chairs in the College, Engineering School and Nursing School submitted direct reports on the performance of faculty members in each school.
Prof. Patricia Wiberg, chair of the Environmental Sciences department, said the Dean’s Office sent department chairs an email saying that while many of the evaluation criteria would be the same under the new system, the role of peer review committees would be crucial. “We need [department chairs] to distribute the salary pool among [their] faculty in ways that are tied tightly to these performance evaluations,” the email said.
Review panels look at written material, student evaluations and publications as part of the process, McInnis said, but there are no interviews conducted by the panel.
“The peer review process can be time-consuming, depending on how in-depth the review of each person is,” Wiberg said. “There were about 35 faculty reviewed in Environmental Sciences.”
Prof. Bill Halliday, chair of the history department, said the review process went over smoothly in his department, and the raises were welcomed after several years of salary freezes.
Both McInnis and Wiberg said the honor code plays an important part in maintaining the value of review panels — helping to ensure faculty would conduct honest evaluations of their peers. “[Cutting deals for positive reviews] would be dishonorable,” she said. “In addition, the results of the peer review are provided to department chairs and the Dean’s Office, who could easily tell if the system was rigged.”