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Administration & Finance

Policy Number: 709

Policy: Research Base Salaries

Date Adopted: March 5, 2014

Revision Date: NA

References: UFA CBA 13.100 Individual Salary Base

Approved By: Royce Engstrom, President

A procedure for establishing research base rates for tenure-track faculty members was developed to provide incentive to increase research productivity at the University of Montana.    This involves a system where separate position lines for research are issued after being proposed on an individual basis, reviewed and approved by all administrative levels up to the President, and which have clear expectations for sponsored research and scholarly activity.  These contracts are separate from the regular state-based contracts for tenure-track faculty members and they are renewable subject to evaluation of researcher performance and market conditions. 

The fundamental purpose of separate research-based contracts is to ensure nationally competitive salaries for the execution of research done by tenure-track faculty members at the University of Montana.  The default standard for establishing competitive salaries is CUPA, which publishes salaries by rank and discipline annually based on a survey of participating universities.  The University of Montana comparison group is Carnegie Research Universities.

Non-tenure track faculty members who are not research faculty members (i.e., lectures) may also have separate research-based contracts with base wage increases subject to the annual renewal of the employment contract.

Research faculty members already have a research base wage.  A faculty member cannot have two contracts for the same function. The mechanism for wage advancement is the market adjustment process described in the Collective Bargaining Agreement article 13.250 or by the renewal of their annual contract.

When initiating an offer of employment a proposed research base salary can be included in the letter of offer. This proposed research base must be approved by the Provost along with all other terms of the offer.

Research base wages will be automatically adjusted for any official salary base changes.

Salary Standard

The basic comparison standard is salary for rank and discipline as defined by CUPA for research universities.  Using CUPA data for research universities one can see what would make a competitive salary nationally by rank and discipline.  In cases where CUPA figures are too general for a sub-discipline or other characteristic, supplemental data to justify a request can be developed as described below under consideration of unique circumstance.

Consideration of Existing Research Base Salaries

All research base salaries that have not been renewed within the past five years will be extended, terminated (if not used during the past three years), or subject to submission as new research base salaries if they are below CUPA salaries for rank and discipline.  Such re-evaluation will not reduce previously approved research base salaries.  

All research base salaries that have been established within the last five years (prior to adoption of this policy) will be continued at current rates, unless the faculty member wishes to establish a new rate under the salary standard guidelines noted above. 

Consideration of Unique Circumstance

If CUPA data are insufficient for a particular case such as being too general for a specific sub-disciplinary expertise, then additional documentation can be provided as evidence for an alternative to the CUPA salaries.  The most common alternative data would be salary data for three peer faculty members from  US research universities from verifiable sources.  The comparators must be at the same professional rank and the same academic discipline as the UM faculty member.  The comparison salary must be for the academic year and for the comparator’s academic base salary.

Administration & Finance

The University of Montana-Missoula

University Hall 126

406.243.4676 / fax: 406.243.5537