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AA/PPS 04.01.50 - Faculty Merit and Retention Salary Adjustments

Faculty Merit and Retention Salary Adjustments

AA/PPS No. 04.01.50 (7.10)
Issue No. 3
Effective Date: 2/05/2020
Next Review Date: 1/01/2024 (E4Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Associate Provost


    1. Unless otherwise mandated by the Texas Legislature or by The Texas State University (TSUS) System Board of Regents, the primary mechanism to award permanent faculty salary raises at Texas State University is through the merit procedures outlined in this document. This policy is supplemented by department, school, and college annual performance evaluation policies and workload policies. This policy also addresses salary adjustments for faculty retention purposes.

    2. All continuing percent-contract faculty are eligible for merit raises awarded through this process, with the exception of doctoral and graduate assistants, chairs or directors, deans, and a few specially-assigned faculty identified by the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs (VPAA).

    3. Merit raises are unrelated to tenure and promotion salary increases. Faculty members should not be denied merit they would otherwise earn because they have been promoted during the year in which merit is awarded and received a salary increase as a result of promotion.

    4. The merit process and merit raises are not the appropriate vehicles for seeking to redress perceived salary inequities. AA/PPS No. 04.01.51, Faculty Salary Equity Study, describes the periodic equity study conducted by the university to ensure a salary system that fairly compensates faculty members.

    5. The president shall determine the percentage of money that will be allocated to merit raises. As soon as is practical after available funding is known, the provost and VPAA will announce the Academic Affairs’ decision regarding the distribution of new faculty salary dollars (e.g., the amounts to be spent on merit adjustments).

    6. The provost and VPAA will distribute the funds available for merit raises to each college using a formula that is based on the budgeted salaries of continuing percent-contract faculty in each college. Instructions to the deans will include the evaluation period to be considered, which should be communicated to merit-eligible faculty.

    7. College deans will distribute the funds among departments or schools with the option to retain no more than ten percent of each department’s total to make other adjustments deemed appropriate following review of departmental recommendations. College deans shall not unilaterally add merit for individual faculty members, but may make adjustments following consultation with the appropriate department chair or school director.

    8. All merit raises from funds allocated to departments or schools will be recommended by chairs or directors on the basis of policies adopted by departments or schools and colleges. These recommendations will be based on annual evaluations conducted in accordance with approved policies for the performance evaluation of faculty and faculty workload.

    9. College deans and the provost and VPAA have the responsibility to approve and periodically review departmental evaluation policies, workload policies, and any other policies and procedures associated with salary adjustments.


    1. An annual performance evaluation will be conducted for all merit-eligible faculty, regardless of whether funds are available for merit raises. Any faculty member whose performance fails to meet department or school expectations will be subject to actions prescribed for continuing and non-continuing faculty in AA/PPS No. 04.02.10, Performance Evaluation of Continuing Faculty and Post-Tenure Review and AA/PPS No. 04.02.11, Performance Evaluation of Non-Continuing Non-Tenure Line Faculty.

    1. A merit raise shall be defined as additional permanent salary to be awarded to faculty members whose performance was clearly exceptional during the designated merit evaluation period.

    2. When merit raises are to be given, faculty will be evaluated for merit purposes on the basis of clear criteria, documented performance, and accomplishments at Texas State during the identified evaluation period.

      1. Each department or school shall adopt criteria that reflect faculty responsibilities in the areas of teaching, research, scholarly or creative activities, and service. Effort in each of these areas should be weighted according to the faculty appointment type, duties, and assigned workload for the individual faculty member.

      2. Criteria and processes that are adopted and approved by the college dean must be clearly documented, disseminated to all faculty, and followed consistently and rigorously.

      3. Merit awards should be based on meritorious performance for the identified evaluation period, normally three years. The rolling multi-year period allows faculty who have stellar accomplishments in one or two years, but fewer in the others, to qualify for an averaged degree of merit.

      4. Merit increases should be based on the faculty member’s performance, faculty appointment type, duties, and assigned workload. For example, a lecturer whose primary responsibility is teaching should not be penalized for lack of research and scholarship or creative activity.

      5. The department or school is the most appropriate level for making merit determinations and resolving objections to them. In developing merit recommendations to the dean, the chair or director shall convene the department personnel committee, or its designated group, to review the annual evaluations of eligible faculty for the relevant period and to secure the advice of that group regarding merit salary increase recommendations. Before making final merit recommendations, chairs or directors shall be required to indicate to each faculty member, without necessarily mentioning a specific amount or percentage of increase, whether the chair or director intends to recommend that faculty member for merit and the approximate level of merit determined for that faculty member (e.g., high, medium, low).

      6. After receiving the chair’s or director’s preliminary recommendations, faculty who believe their accomplishments have been overlooked or undervalued may, within five working days, request a meeting with the chair or director. At this meeting, the chair or director shall explain the reasons for the level of merit or for denying merit, and the faculty member may ask the chair or director to reconsider the preliminary decision on the basis of accomplishments or achievements that may have been initially overlooked or undervalued. After reconsidering the accomplishments of all faculty who request a review of their activities, the chair or director will proceed to make final merit recommendations to the dean.

      7. Faculty who are dissatisfied with the chair’s or director’s final merit recommendation may appeal to the college dean and shall be afforded an opportunity to meet with the dean to offer information in support of their appeal (see Section 04.).

      8. Chairs or directors may, but are not required to, inform their faculty of the final merit award for all faculty members in the department or school.


    1. Individual appeals of the chair’s or director’s final merit recommendation may be made to the college dean. If the dean upholds the chair’s or director’s recommendation, they shall provide a rationale to the appealing faculty member. The college dean’s decision is final.

    2. All merit determinations, including those resulting from an appeal, must be finalized and merit awards made during the current merit cycle. No merit increase resulting from an appeal shall be withheld until the next merit cycle.

    3. A summary of all appeals submitted to the dean using the Merit Appeals Form, however they are resolved, must be maintained on file in the dean’s office. Subsequent appeals regarding performance evaluation and merit recommendations may be made through the faculty grievance process (see AA/PPS No. 04.02.32, Faculty Grievance Policy).


    1. Texas State is committed to an effective program of faculty retention, including appropriate and competitive salary compensation. Deans, chairs, and directors are encouraged to develop practices for investing in faculty before they seek or receive offers from other institutions. Based on the following parameters, the university may consider a counter-offer or pre-emptive salary adjustment for a faculty member. It is the faculty member’s responsibility to notify the chair or director of an impending outside offer or related circumstances.

      1. Each counter-offer or pre-emptive salary adjustment presents unique circumstances and factors. Minimally, the faculty member under consideration must have received above-average merit evaluations in recent reviews, possess an outstanding academic record, and have had a clear impact on university programs consistent with rank and experience.

      2. Retention scenarios are first assessed by the chair or director and dean. After consultation with the personnel committee, the chair or director and dean may make a recommendation to the associate provost for a salary adjustment.

      3. Upon acceptance of a pre-emptive or counter-offer salary adjustment, the faculty member agrees to remain employed at Texas State for a minimum of three additional years.

      4. Salary adjustments to retain specific faculty members do not justify salary adjustments for other faculty members.

      5. Additional guidance on the process is available online from Faculty and Academic Resources.


    1. Reviewer of this PPS includes the following:

      Associate ProvostJanuary 1 E4Y

    This PPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State Academic Affairs policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Associate Provost; senior reviewer of this PPS

    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs