Faculty salary appeals process
Faculty Salary Equity Appeals Process

Updated 3/25/2004
Also see http://oaa.osu.edu/handbook/iii_equityincrease.html


Given the importance of salary to individuals, the fact that funds for salaries are limited, and the fact that in allocating those funds, decision makers must make choices that benefit some more than others, some degree of salary dissatisfaction is unavoidable. Eliminating that dissatisfaction is impossible.  However, varying salary levels among individuals should be consistent with differences in the factors that appropriately affect salary (see B.3).

This appeals process is intended to address only salary appeals that are based on the appellant's belief that his or her salary is lower than comparable faculty within his or her academic unit and that the salary disparity cannot be explained by factors that appropriately affect salary levels. The eligibility criteria for use of this process are described in B. 

Subject to Office of Academic Affairs approval, department, college, and regional campus patterns of administration may contain additional policies pertinent to this process.


Faculty who meet all of the following criteria may use this process:

  1. They are regular faculty members.
  2. They do not receive part of their OSU compensation from a health care practice plan.
  3. Their salary is 5% or more below the average salary of all other faculty of the same rank in their academic unit or in a recognized discipline or subdiscipline with a distinct salary market within their academic unit (tenure initiating unit for Columbus faculty; regional campus for regional campus faculty). There must be at least two such faculty, in addition to the appellant, for these procedures to apply.   Further, these faculty must allege that the salary disparity cannot be accounted for by:
    • Differences in years of service and years in rank.
    • Productivity in teaching, research, and service.
    • Centrality of the person's work to the academic unit.
    • Past/present administrative duties.
    • Market factors.
    • Other factors set forth as legitimate bases for salary determination in the faculty member's academic unit appointments, promotion and tenure document or pattern of administration or otherwise consistently communicated and applied in hiring and merit salary increase decisions.
  4. Three full academic years have passed since a final decision was rendered on a faculty member's previous appeal under this process.  For example, if a faculty member uses this process during the academic year 2003/04 and a final decision is rendered in that time period, he or she may not use the process again until the 2008/09 academic year.  

This process is not intended to address all bases of dissatisfaction with salary.   Faculty with salary concerns who are not eligible for review under this process may seek information about and resolution to their concerns through discussion with the head of their academic unit.


Academic unit head

For purposes of this process, the academic unit head is the head of the tenure initiating unit, be that a department, school or college except in the case of regional campus faculty.  The academic unit head for regional campus faculty is the regional campus dean-director.


The dean of a college, the director of University Libraries, or the dean-director of a regional campus.

College faculty salary appeals committee

There will be a faculty salary appeals committee at the college level (whether or not the college is a tenure initiating unit). The committee may exist solely for the purpose of reviewing salary appeals under this process or may be an existing committee (e.g. the promotion and tenure committee or college investigation committee) charged with the responsibilities described in I.1.

Because a two-level review process (department and college) is not possible for the seven colleges (including the University Libraries) that serve as tenure initiating units, and the academic unit head and dean are the same person in these units, a slight modification of the college faculty salary appeals committee is possible. In these units, the faculty member may select, if he or she wishes, an additional faculty member to serve on the college committee. This faculty member must be a full-time tenured faculty member from within the college of the appellant and may not be a member of the comparison group.

Regional campus faculty salary appeals committee

There will be a faculty salary appeals committee for the regional campuses which shall consist of one faculty member from each regional campus appointed by the dean of that campus. Terms of members shall be four years and initially will be staggered (one year for Lima, two for Mansfield, three for Marion, and four for Newark) to assure continuity of membership. The chair of the committee shall rotate among the campuses in the order of Lima, Mansfield, Marion, and Newark. Reappointment to the committee is possible.


Appeals under these procedures must be initiated no later than October 31 in order to facilitate completion of the review before salary recommendations are made for the next academic year. Every reasonable effort must be made by the parties to the review process to complete consideration of a salary appeal by mid April of the academic year.

In the event it is not possible to conclude review of an appeal in this time frame, the administrator who makes salary recommendations for the appellant will carry out that role as usual.  It will usually be necessary to update appeal materials following the annual raise process since both academic records and salaries included in the original appeal materials will no longer be current.


A college (whether it has departments or not) or regional campus pattern of administration may establish college-wide or regional campus policies for the documentation of salary appeals under this process if the college or regional campus wishes to have such policies. College and regional campus salary appeals policies must be approved by the Office of Academic Affairs before they are implemented.  They may be amended as needed subject to approval of the Office of Academic Affairs.


Except where college-wide standards for documentation of appeals are established, individual department patterns of administration may establish written policies for the documentation of salary appeals under these procedures if departments wish to have such policies.  These policies must be approved by the college office and the Office of Academic Affairs before they can be implemented.  They may be amended as needed subject to the required approvals.


The faculty member using this process bears full responsibility for documenting the appeal. The following requirements apply:

1.  Documentation must be consistent with any department and college or regional campus written requirements as well as with the eligibility requirements set forth in section B of this document.  Unless department, college, or regional campus patterns of administration specify otherwise, this documentation must consist of a detailed analysis of the appellant's academic record and salary vis a vis faculty in the comparison group taking into account years of service, years in rank, and other factors that affect salary as noted in B.3.  CVs of comparators and salary information are public records and can be requested from the academic unit office.

Unless department, college, or regional campus patterns of administration specify otherwise, the comparison group must include all other faculty of the same rank in the academic unit (excluding the academic unit head).  When an academic unit contains distinct and recognized disciplines or subdisciplines which have different salary markets, the comparison group will be limited to all other faculty of the same rank in appellant's discipline or subdiscipline within the academic unit (excluding the academic unit head).

As noted in B.3, at least two comparators that meet these requirements must exist for this process to be applicable.

2.a.  The faculty member may initiate the formal appeal by presenting the documentation set forth in (1) above to the academic unit head; or

2.b.  The faculty member may initially present his or her documentation to the chair of the college or regional campus faculty salary appeals committee for informal advice as to whether the appeal, as set forth, appears to meet the eligibility and documentation requirements set forth in this document and in any written academic unit and college salary appeals documents.

The faculty member may then determine whether to proceed with 2.a. The salary appeals committee chair shall not express an opinion as to whether the appeal has merit since that judgment cannot be made based only on the appellant's perspective.

3. The faculty member may appeal to the college or regional campus faculty salary appeals committee if the academic unit head dismisses the appeal or proposes a resolution that is judged to be unsatisfactory by the faculty member.


On receipt of documentation alleging salary inequity from a faculty member, the academic unit head shall:

  1. Review the documentation. The academic unit head may request additional information from the faculty member and/or meet with the faculty member as appropriate.
  2. Dismiss the appeal or propose a salary adjustment. See Section K regarding required approvals for salary adjustments.  Salary adjustments should not be communicated to affected faculty until the required approvals have been obtained
  3. Respond in writing to the appeal. The response may provide additional analysis, as deemed necessary, and must provide a rationale for the conclusions.  Final written notice of the disposition of the appeal should either be hand delivered to the appellant or sent by certified mail.
  4. If the academic unit is a TIU within a college, forward to the college office a copy of all written material generated by the appeal for record keeping purposes.


On receipt of an appeal from a faculty member who is dissatisfied with the academic unit head's disposition of that appeal:

1.  Review the documentation submitted by the faculty member and the written conclusions of the academic unit head in light of the unit's salary criteria.

While the committee may, on occasion, request additional information from either the academic unit head or appellant, and/or meet with parties to the complaint, its review should be based primarily on the appellant's documentation and the academic unit head's response to that documentation. The committee does not develop new documentation.    An inadequately documented appeal should be dismissed.

2.  Make a recommendation to the dean or dean-director regarding:

a.  Whether a salary adjustment for the appellant is or is not warranted.

b. An explanation of its conclusions.

c. If an adjustment is warranted, its approximate amount.

The committee's recommendation to the dean or dean-director is advisory.


On receipt of a recommendation from the college or regional campus faculty committee:

1.  Accept, amend, or reject the faculty committee's recommendation.   If the dean/dean-director determines that a salary adjustment shall be made, the dean/dean-director shall determine the amount and the timing of that increase.  (See Section K.)

2.  Communicate the final decision to the appellant and to the appellant's academic unit head if that person is different from the dean/dean-director. The dean/dean-director will also communicate to the faculty salary appeals committee the final action taken on a complaint and, if the action differs from the faculty committee's recommendation, the reason for that action.

3.  Maintain in the college or regional campus office a record of all appeals, including those dismissed by the academic unit head and not appealed to the college or regional campus faculty committee.   Each record should include all written materials developed for and generated by the appeal.


Salary equity adjustments proposed as a result of using these procedures should be funded from annual raise monies available during the annual raise cycle to the extent possible.  A proposal to provide an equity salary increase from other academic unit funds, regardless of the proposed timing of the increase, requires the approval of the dean (in colleges with departments) and the Office of Academic Affairs.


A decision is final under these procedures and cannot be appealed when:

1.  The academic unit head's written conclusions regarding the matter are not appealed to the college or regional campus faculty salary appeals committee within 30 days of the date of the academic unit head's letter to the appellant reporting conclusions.

2.  The dean/dean-director accepts a recommendation of the college or regional campus faculty salary committee to dismiss an appeal.

3.  The dean/dean-director accepts a recommendation of the college or regional campus faculty salary committee to provide a salary adjustment and offers an adjustment that is at least 75% of the amount recommended by the committee.


If the dean or dean-director dismisses an appeal that was not dismissed by the faculty committee, or proposes a salary adjustment that is less than 75% of the amount recommended by the faculty committee, the appellant may appeal to the Provost. The provost or designee will review the matter and render a final decision.

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