Preemptive Retention and Retention


Preemptive Retention and Retention

Questions concerning the guidelines for faculty preemptive retention and retention in the College of Liberal Arts should be directed to the Office of Faculty and Academic Affairs.


General Statement

A department may, at its own discretion, pursue with the college a preemptive retention or retention arrangement for a member of the regular (tenure-track and tenured) faculty. Authorization from the college is required before a preemptive retention or retention offer may be extended. These guidelines describe the processes to be followed when considering a preemptive retention or retention arrangement.


Terms

The most common terms that comprise a preemptive retention or retention arrangement include enhancements in support of the faculty member's scholarly research and/or creative work, and/or an increase in the faculty member's base salary.

Enhancements in Support of Research and/or Creative Work. This may include funding for the faculty member's scholarly research and/or creative work. It also may include support for teaching assistants, editing a scholarly journal, participating in a scholarly or professional conference, or a temporary reduction in teaching responsibilities. The department will be asked to cost-share enhancements.

Salary Increase. Any increase in the faculty member's base salary will be effective the following academic year. Increases to a faculty member’s base salary as part of a preemptive retention will generally not exceed 10%. Faculty retention salary increases effective FY16 are subject to a shared expense structure.

  • Shared Expense Structure. For retention salary increases that are above the average percentage faculty merit increase for FY16, the college will centrally fund 75% of the difference in salary, and the department will fund the remaining 25% of the difference from its merit pool. This applies to the first year of the arrangement.
    • In other words, the standard merit increase from the unit merit pool is applied. Of the remaining amount needed to arrive at the agreed-upon new salary, 25% is funded from the unit merit pool, with the remaining 75% funded by the college.
  • Departmental Contribution. The departmental contribution will be met through the merit pool, not other sources of funds such as alumni donations. If the total dollars needed for the department to cover 25% of the increased salary for the retentions above the average increase in a give year exceeds 25% of the merit pool, an installment plan is permitted.
    • Example: a department has a merit pool that amounts to $75,000 and its share of a set of retentions is $25,000 beyond the average merit pool increase. This is a retention percentage of 33.3% of the merit pool. The department could opt to pay $18,750 (which is 25% of the merit pool of $75,000) in year 1 and pay the remainder in year 2, or it could pay it all in year 1 if it so chose. The maximum is 3 years to pay out the departmental share. To extend to three years, the departmental share in year 1 must equal 25% of the pool, and the department payment in year 2 must equal the merit dollars contributed toward the retention in year 1.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What if a department retains someone and they leave the U before the three-year time period has passed? Would the department still be responsible for the dollar amount equal to 25 percent of the salary increase? A: Yes.

Q: Does the 25%-of-the-merit-pool provision apply to all retentions or just to new retentions in a given year? A: Just new retentions. If a department is carrying over a retention share payment into a second year, that amount does not count against the 25% provision for that year. Thus a department would need to pay the second year of the installment plus up to 25% of its merit pool for any new retention costs.

Q: Isn’t this just "taking money out of departments' merit pools"? A: That is one way of putting it. "Departments deciding if they want to invest in a retention" is another way. The model of 25/75 is a hybrid -- it says that Department X makes an investment of 25% toward a retention, but also that the other 30 departments in the college are also making an investment in the retention, because the remaining 75% comes, in effect, from those departments for the first year. After the first year, the weight of the salary increase is being borne by all 31 units.

Q: Isn’t this new and unusual? A: It is not new but, rather, is the restoration of a policy that was put on hiatus for one year. And the concept of the 25/75 model is not unusual. Many institutions require a 50/50 split between the department and the college. In some cases, a department has to budget for the increase in perpetuity. I.e., a department wishing to pay a professor $25,000 as a result of a retention would need to determine how to pay a proportion of that cost (typically 50%) in perpetuity.

Q: What if there is no merit pool in a given year? Is the department still responsible for 25% of the salary increase? A: Yes. The College more broadly -- which is to say all other departments -- will be paying the increase immediately, thus the department will contribute its share when the merit pool resumes.

Q: Does the cost sharing apply to preemptive retentions also? A: Yes.


Preemptive Retention

Background

In fall 2013, the CLA Dean’s Office and the Council of Chairs engaged in a series of conversations regarding the College’s current preemptive retention policy, and potential changes to the retention guidelines. The Council of Chairs reviewed and discussed a number of options with regard to the revised guidelines, ultimately indicating their strong preference to keep the guidelines in place while simultaneously increasing the rigor under which preemptive retentions are reviewed and approved by the Dean of CLA. The guidelines below reflect the College’s understanding of what the Council of Chairs discussed and collectively approved with regard to preemptive retentions, as well as a shared acknowledgement on the part of the Dean’s Office and department chairs and directors that, in a climate of limited resources, we must work together to invest in our collegiate strengths.

Guidelines

A preemptive retention offer is extended by the Dean of the College to a highly productive and esteemed faculty member to remain at the University of Minnesota when another peer (or more prestigious) institution expresses a serious interest in recruiting that faculty member. The goal of a preemptive retention offer is to convey the institution’s appreciation for the contributions made by the faculty member. It is the expectation that such retentions are neither routinely requested nor rewarded, and that departments—specifically, departmental chairs—will provide a compelling, evidence-based case regarding the necessity of retaining a specific faculty member, and the estimated impact on the unit should the faculty member leave for a different institution. It is also mutually understood and acknowledged by both the college and academic units that preemptive retentions may inadvertently increase salary and research inequities among the faculty in a specific unit, as well as impacting the college’s merit pool for the subsequent academic year.

Preemptive retention offers are ultimately made at the discretion of the dean and accepted by the faculty member before the faculty member leaves for a finalist interview at a peer or more prestigious institution. To be eligible for a preemptive retention offer, a faculty member must present evidence of a written invitation to a campus interview for a position at the competing institution. In return for accepting a preemptive retention offer, the faculty member agrees to withdraw from consideration for a position at any other institution, and will be unable to bring forward an additional preemptive retention or retention offer for a period of generally four years. Therefore, chairs and directors are asked to be highly selective in requesting preemptive retentions on behalf of their especially meritorious faculty. Additionally, and in order to better provide a broader context for the preemptive retentions that are ultimately brought forward to the dean, chairs and directors are responsible for informing the Associate Dean for Arts & Humanities or the Associate Dean for Social Sciences of all preemptive retention requests from their respective units that are not forwarded to college administration for consideration. Chairs and directors should also remain mindful of the fact that funding for preemptive retentions, faculty merit, new faculty lines, and spousal hires are drawn from the same finite pool of money, and increased funding to one of the above categories will inevitably result in a decrease to the remaining categories.

Procedure

Chairs/directors are asked to provide the following information in a Request for Preemptive Retention Letter when contacting the college with a request for a preemptive retention offer:

  • What are the principal reasons the faculty member is attracted to the other institution?
  • What is the standing of the department and the institution where the faculty member is a finalist, and how do the department and the institution compare with our own in terms of prestige/productivity/ranking in the profession?
  • Does the department have a Ph.D. program? What kind of reputation does it have in the faculty member’s field/sub-field.
  • What is the recent history of merit increases, special merit recognition, nominations for awards or special recognition?
  • Is the faculty member equitably compensated relative to peers in the unit? If not, then why is this the case? What impact would the proposed preemptive retention offer have on existing salary equity issues in the department?
  • Why does the department believe the faculty member has a high probability of being offered the position and/or that the CLA would be unsuccessful with a retention offer?
  • How would the loss of the faculty member diminish the distinction and standing of the department?
  • What is the department’s process of handling retention situations? What is the level of faculty support in the unit for the proposed preemptive retention offer? Does the faculty support a preemptive retention offer even if it would create or exacerbate equity issues in the department?
    • The college does not prescribe an established protocol that must be followed in the department. In some departments, review by the faculty equal or senior in rank to the candidate is standard practice; in others, the executive committee serves in an advisory capacity to the chair/director. In all cases, it is the responsibility of the unit chair/director to bring preemptive retention matters to the attention of the college on behalf of the faculty, and to report fully on the degree of support among the faculty, including majority and minority views, if any.
  • The unit head is expected to propose specific terms (i.e., salary, enhancements in support of scholarly research/creative work) for the preemptive retention offer.

Retention

Guidelines

A retention offer is extended jointly by the college and a department to induce a productive faculty member to remain at the University of Minnesota after that faculty member has already received a written offer from another peer (or more highly ranked) institution. In return for a retention offer, the faculty member agrees to withdraw from consideration for a position at another institution.

Procedure

Chairs/directors are asked to provide the following information in a Request for Retention Letter when contacting the college with a request for a retention offer:

  • What are the principal reasons the faculty member is attracted to the other institution?
  • How does the competing department/institution compare with our own in terms of prestige/productivity/ranking in the profession? Does the department have a Ph.D. program? What kind of reputation does it have in the faculty member’s field/sub-field?
  • What is the faculty member’s current salary and what research support is available to the faculty member? Please include research funds, course releases, internal and external leaves and grants) as well as the remaining balance in the faculty member’s existing research account.
  • What is the cost of living differential between the Twin Cities and the place where the faculty member is being recruited?
  • Are there any salary equity issues in the department? Salary equity considerations and questions must be carefully considered and thoroughly addressed.
  • What is the department’s process of handling retention situations? What is the level of faculty support in the unit for the proposed preemptive retention offer? Does the faculty support a retention offer offer even if it would create or exacerbate equity issues in the department?
    • The college does not prescribe an established protocol that must be followed in the department.  In some departments, review by the faculty equal or senior in rank to the candidate is standard practice; in others, the executive committee serves in an advisory capacity to the chair/director. In all cases, it is the responsibility of the unit chair/director to bring retention matters to the attention of the college on behalf of the faculty, and to report fully on the degree of support among the faculty, including majority and minority views, if any.
  • In light of the outside offer, the unit head is expected to propose specific terms (i.e., salary, reserach funds, course releases, etc) for the retention offer.

Effective Spring 2009; Updated Fall 2012 
Revised Fall 2013Updated Fall 2015