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To assist faculty members, chairpersons/directors, and the Dean’s Office in making decisions regarding special merit salary requests for faculty who may be deserving of special consideration based on their accomplishments and the need to address market pressures.

Applies to: 

Faculty within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Policy Statement: 

The College wants to encourage faculty members to remain at KU without the need to seek offers from other institutions. The following guidelines have been developed to assist faculty members, chairpersons/directors, and the Dean’s Office in making decisions regarding special merit salary requests for faculty who may be deserving of special consideration based on their accomplishments and the need to address market pressures.

The Good-Faith Criterion:

Underlying the following guidelines is the assumption that all parties are acting in good faith. The Dean’s Office assumes that requests for special merit salary increases will be brought forward only in cases where the faculty member is clearly underpaid relative to peers or when, because of market pressures, there is reason to believe that a salary adjustment would prevent a faculty member from being actively courted by comparable or better institutions. Faculty members should not be using this as a mechanism merely to negotiate a better salary or more equipment outside of demonstrated merit. The chairperson’s/director’s responsibility is to fairly represent the unit’s opinion on what is in the best interest of the unit, College, and the faculty member involved. The Dean’s responsibility is to insure that the faculty member is treated fairly, and that the best interests of all involved are served.


  1. In certain cases, faculty members may be underpaid vis-à-vis their peers at similar institutions.  By undervaluing our best faculty we may be placing ourselves in a position of not being able to compete effectively to keep them should they be approached by other institutions.  In these cases, a special merit salary increase may be requested.  Either the chairperson/director or the individual faculty member may initiate such a request.  If the faculty member initiates the request, it must go first to the chairperson/director for evaluation.
  2. Special request for a salary increase should be submitted in writing and shall include past data on merit evaluations in the unit.  It is expected that the faculty member has received high ratings from the faculty member's unit on average over the previous five years. Requests should include a current c.v. and evidence of compression using data about salaries in the faculty member’s specialty at comparable institutions. The request should take into account such factors as seniority, special accomplishments in scholarship and/or teaching, administrative responsibilities past and present, and market pressures. Such requests are forwarded with the chairperson’s/director’s comments to the Associate Dean and then to the Dean of the College.
  3. In the case of a faculty member who is actively being courted by a comparable or better institution(s), all offers from competing universities must be presented in writing.  No tentative or oral offers will be considered in this process. 
  4. Special requests should normally be submitted early in the spring semester and be forwarded to the Dean’s Office so that they can be taken into account with the normal merit salary considerations.  Such requests should be made no more than once for any individual in any three year period.
  5. Chairpersons/directors will represent the unit’s views in their negotiations with the Dean’s Office.  The chairperson/director must make a strong case for the importance of rewarding the faculty member to the unit, College, and University.  Faculty who do not feel their chairperson/director would represent them adequately may approach their contact Associate Dean directly.  They should inform their chairperson/director that they are doing so.
  6. For a special merit increase to be approved, the terms depend on the number of factors: the size of the discrepancy between the faculty member’s salary at KU and those of peers at comparable institutions, the salaries of colleagues at KU who are judged to be of comparable worth in accomplishments, how much the unit is willing to contribute from its own merit allocation to reward the faculty member, and the extent that additional space, equipment, etc. is required.  If the special merit increase comes in response to an offer from another institution, a case must be made to the Dean that the institution the individual is considering is at least the quality of the University of Kansas.  Better salary offers from lesser institutions will not ordinarily be considered in these negotiations.  It is incumbent upon the chair/director to make this case.  It is possible that the faculty member is being recruited by a very good department in the less comparable university; if this is the case, the chair/director will be asked to provide appropriate arguments.
  7. New salaries become effective at the start of the next academic year (on August 18th.)  The College does not make “off-cycle” salary adjustments.  If a salary increase is made, it is usually presented as being the merit increase for the next fiscal year.  For example, if a retention increase is made in the fall semester and the College is awarded merit salary in the following spring semester, the faculty member with the retention offer is typically excluded from the merit pool.  Understanding this application of merit can help set expectations with the faculty member. 

Associate Dean
Dean's Office, 200 Strong Hall
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Lawrence, KS  66045

Approved by: 
The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Approved on: 
Monday, October 1, 1990
Effective on: 
Monday, October 1, 1990
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Retention, Faculty, College
Change History: 

06/22/2017: Updated contact information

07/07/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.

09/28/2015: Added VII to the document. 

10/01/2003: Revised

10/01/1990: Approved by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

School/College Policy Categories: 
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