Guidelines for Extending Retention Offers to Outstanding Faculty Members

The quality of the University of Texas at Austin depends critically on hiring and subsequently retaining outstanding faculty members.  Thus, the Executive Vice President and Provost’s (EVPP) Office is very interested in working with the deans to support retention of our best faculty.  Deans are encouraged to make efforts to retain high-performing faculty including those with (1) superior records of scholarship and creative activity (consistent with their rank, experience, and role) and/or (2) superior contributions to UT Austin through teaching, mentorship of students, leadership, service, and contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Deans, department chairs, and center directors are also encouraged to identify retention risks before a faculty member actively seeks outside offers or opportunities.

These guidelines specifically address faculty compensation in the form of salary, appointment to endowments, discretionary funding, teaching relief, and space for research labs and studios.  Deans, department chairs, and center directors should also consider intangible factors that contribute to the retention of a faculty member, such as mentoring, climate, and community when developing a retention offer.

Each school/college should develop their own guidelines for the steps that faculty need to follow to alert the leadership that they would like to be considered for a retention offer.  The processes should allow the faculty member to self-identify or be identified by a colleague.  In departmentalized units, a faculty member should first contact the department chair, while the faculty member should contact the dean’s office in non-departmentalized units.

Overview of Process

Additional details about the three options and the information needed to support a request for a retention offer are summarized below.

Retention Offer with Request for EVPP Resources

For scenarios in which the dean is seeking EVPP resources in support of a counteroffer or a preemptive retention offer, the following materials should be submitted using this Smartsheet link:

  1. Letter from the dean to the provost providing:
    1. An overview of the situation and the strategic importance of retaining the faculty member at UT Austin within the context of initiatives within the school/college
    2. A short description of the faculty member’s record of excellence and impact of the faculty member’s work related to scholarship/creative activity and/or contributions to UT Austin through their teaching, mentorship of students, leadership, service and contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion
    3. Assessment of the quality of the competing program relative to the faculty member’s discipline at UT Austin (for counteroffers). If the competing program is not a peer, provide a strong justification for why a retention offer is warranted.
    4. Brief discussion of the impact of the proposed salary increase on the salary structure within the department/division/unit and the other faculty members who would be adversely impacted within the department/division/unit
    5. Summary of any counteroffers or preemptive retention offers extended to the faculty member within the past five years
    6. Proposed financial split between college/school, EVPP, and other units on campus (if applicable) for items listed in draft retention letter.
  2. Recent CV for faculty member
  3. External offer letter (for counteroffer, if shared by faculty member)
  4. Draft retention letter from UT Austin outlining the key aspects of the proposed offer. If the dean is still negotiating with the faculty member about some aspects of the retention offer, it may be necessary to get EVPP approval for the salary first, and then address other issues.  Possible items to include in a retention offer include (list is not exclusive):
    1. Increase in 9-month academic rate and/or salary supplement
    2. Appointment to an endowment or as fellow of an endowment
    3. Commitment of summer salary for a specified period
    4. Commitment of GRA/TA support for a specified period
    5. Commitment of one-time and/or recurring discretionary funding
    6. Teaching relief for a specified period
    7. Commitment of research/studio space
    8. Commitment of appointment to a leadership role

Review by EVPP

The request will be reviewed by members of the EVPP Faculty Retention Evaluation Committee (senior vice provost for academic affairs, senior vice provost for faculty affairs, senior vice provost for resource management, and vice provost for faculty diversity, equity, and inclusivity) using the following criteria:

Primary Considerations

  1. The excellence and impact of the faculty member’s record of scholarship/creative activity and other professional contributions
  2. The excellence and impact of the faculty member’s contributions to UT Austin through their teaching, mentorship of students, leadership, service, and contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  3. Strategic importance of faculty member’s contributions to initiatives within the school/college
  4. Timing of retention offers if multiple offers have been extended. (Barring exceptional circumstances, retention offers will not be approved more than once every three to five academic years for an individual faculty member).

Secondary Considerations

  1. Available funding within the school/college and recommended distribution of funding
  2. Quality of the competing program
  3. Impact of the retention offer on the existing salary structure in the faculty member’s home department/division/unit
  4. EVPP budgetary constraints

The EVPP Faculty Retention Evaluation Committee will share their recommendation with the provost, who may engage the dean in further discussion before making a final decision.  The committee will work with the provost to respond to the request for retention support within two days of receipt of all materials.

Deans are asked to inform the senior vice provost for faculty affairs (facultyaffairs@utexas.edu) and the senior vice provost for resource management (academicbudget@utlists.utexas.edu) when the faculty member decides to accept or reject the retention offer.

Retention Offer without Request for EVPP Resources

If the college/school plans to extend a retention offer that does not require additional resources from the EVPP, the following information should be submitted using this Smartsheet link:

  1. Recent CV for faculty member
  2. External offer letter (for counteroffer, if shared by faculty member)
  3. Draft retention letter from UT Austin outlining the key aspects of the proposed offer. Possible items to include in a retention offer include (list is not exclusive):
    1. Increase in 9-month academic rate and/or salary supplement
    2. Appointment to an endowment or as fellow of an endowment
    3. Commitment of summer salary for a specified period
    4. Commitment of GRA/TA support for a specified period
    5. Commitment of one-time and/or recurring discretionary funding
    6. Teaching relief for a specified period
    7. Commitment of research/studio space
    8. Commitment of appointment to a leadership role

Retention Offer Not Extended

If the college/school decides not to extend a retention offer, then the following information should be submitted using this Smartsheet link:

  1. Recent CV for faculty member
  2. External offer letter (for counteroffer, if shared by faculty member)

Annual Data Gathering

Each fall semester, the senior vice provost for resource management will share with each dean the list of faculty members who separated from their college/school during the previous academic year.  The deans will be asked whether any of these faculty members made the decision to leave UT Austin without requesting a retention offer.

Retention (requiring EVPP resources)

Submit required information at the link below.

Submit here

Retention (not requiring EVPP Resources)

Submit required information at the link below.

Submit here

No Retention Offer

Submit required information at the link below.

Submit here