SUBJECT: Policy on Faculty Salaries


The determination of appropriate salary offers in junior recruitments has been a frequent source
of disagreement in recent years. In many cases the faculty salary scales provide competitive
salaries, and the only issue is determining the appropriate step for appointment. However, in a
growing number of cases, the salary scales do not allow us to make appropriate salary offers.
This has given rise to disagreement between department chairs and deans on the one hand and
higher levels of review, especially the Budget Committee, on the other, which felt the need to
adhere to a policy of permitting deviations from the salary scales i.e., decoupled salaries only
when this was needed to respond to competing offers from peer institutions.

This policy placed the university at a competitive disadvantage in junior recruitments and led to
anomalies and inequities in the remuneration of junior faculty. Discussions on this topic in the
course of the past year led the Budget Committee to propose new guidelines. They are in
accord with the views developed by the Provost and Vice Provost, and will now guide salary
policy for untenured faculty appointments and advancements.


The salary offered for an untenured appointment will be that identified by the appropriate step and
salary scale, except when

  1. The appointee can be shown to be equivalent in attainments and promise to
    other recently recruited junior faculty members in the same department or
    discipline who did have outside offers from peer institutions. Such outside
    offers, made in the same year or in the very recent past, can be taken into
    consideration in establishing the appropriate salary to be offered to the new
  2. The salaries paid to junior faculty can be shown, by recent compilations of
    comparable salary data from peer institutions, to require deviation from
    the university’s salary scale. Such evidence should not be anecdotal, but
    based on systematically assembled data, preferably from professional
    associations. Such evidence may be more difficult to evaluate than that of
    exception 1, above, but can be useful in cases where there are no recent
    appointments at Berkeley to establish the market salary.

The advancement of junior faculty, just as that of all faculty, has been limited to the salary increases
provided by the steps of our salary scales except in cases of retention, where an outside offer from
a peer institution can be used to justify salary decoupling. Policy will now provide for an additional
justification for recommending decoupling in the case of untenured faculty:

In cases where junior faculty experience “salary inversion” (salaries no higher than those paid to
more recently hired comparable junior faculty), such inversion can be taken into consideration to
justify decoupling, or further decoupling, the salary of junior faculty. Such requests should be
made only when the record of the junior faculty is wholly satisfactory, such that there can be no
doubt that the salary distinctions are derived from recent market developments rather than from


The new policies outlined above allow new types of evidence to be introduced to the process of
setting the salaries of junior faculty. It is only to be expected that the implementation of these
guidelines will lead to differences of interpretation and questions about the adequacy and relevance
of specific pieces of information. Department chairs should be in contact with their deans when
preparing cases that invoke the new policies. The new policies also leave unaddressed the
comparable problems faced in the recruitment and compensation of tenured faculty. While the
problems are comparable, the solutions are more complex. We hope to be able to address them
in the future. Meanwhile, the policies described in this memo are an important step to making
Berkeley more competitive in the recruitment and retention of the outstanding junior faculty on
which our future depends.

Questions can be directed to the Academic Personnel Office at Appolicy@uclink.berkeley.edu

Jan de Vries
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Faculty Welfare

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