Merit Raise Policy Guidelines

All departments and units must have an approved policy for distributing merit pool money to bargaining unit faculty who meet or exceed expectations for teaching; research, scholarship, and creative activities; and service. Current unit policies are posted on this website under Departmental Policies.


Any changes to current merit review policies must follow the CBA policy development process. The department or unit head, dean, vice president, provost or designee may call for changes to the established governance policy of a department or unit by informing the unit faculty of the change being considered, thereby initiating the unit’s process for policy revision. In addition, the faculty of each unit can call for a review and possible revision of the merit raise policy either through a process established in the unit’s internal governance policy or at a regular faculty meeting. In order to begin this process, faculty can ask the unit head to initiate the review and revision of the unit’s merit raise policy. Revision of policies would then follow the process outlined in CBA Article 4, Section 1.

Provost’s Guidelines

The Provost requires that merit review policies consider the following:

  • The specific mandatory criteria and other factors that might be used to evaluate teaching, scholarship, creative activities, research and service, in alignment with Article 19 (NTTF Review and Promotion) and Article 20 (TTF Review and Promotion).
  • The kind of process that would work best in the department or unit, including
    • If a committee is charged with making recommendations, who is eligible to serve on that committee and how is that committee selected?
    • Is there a role for a faculty activity report?
    • Is there a role for self-assessment? What information is sought?
    • What is the role of teaching evaluations?
    • Is there a role for peer review?
  • A description of the standards that identify various levels of performance, as well as the way in which levels of performance will be utilized and described. For example, descriptors could be: exceptional, highly effective, effective, improvement required; or exceeds, meets, below expectations; or outstanding, above average, acceptable, needs significant improvement, inadequate performance. Policies should describe how the levels are used in determining individual merit increases.
  • Whether increases will be as a percentage of base salary, or flat dollar amounts, or is that left to the discretion of the department head?

Additional guidelines:

  • Merit increases cannot be across the board.
  • Merit increases for faculty should be based solely on performance as evidenced by teaching, scholarship, creative activities, research, and service.
  • Merit increase policies must include clear criteria and factors.
  • Merit increases should be given on the basis of systematic comparative evaluation of merit, and in consideration of each individual’s professional responsibilities and total contributions.
  • Regardless of appointment FTE, each faculty is eligible for consideration for the highest merit rating. The salary adjustment for each is prorated based on FTE.
  • The process for evaluating accomplishments should be clearly described; open and transparent; and incorporate a collegial and consultative structure.
  • The process must minimally include timely performance reviews; the consideration of a current CV, as well as any relevant material submitted that is not captured in the CV.
  • Faculty should be informed of the amount of their merit increase.
  • Each time merit increases are awarded, it should be clear what period of time is under consideration. In general, reviews for merit increases should evaluate performance in the time period since the last merit raise.
  • The provost must approve any individual salary increase that is greater than 10% of base salary, including merit and any other raises given at the same time.
  • Faculty should be notified annually of where they can find information on merit review standards and related matters.

Note: Examples of various college and department existing criteria and procedures are posted on this website under Departmental Policies.

For administrative guidelines covering the FY 18 salary increase cycle see the Human Resources website .