Chapter 7. Faculty Salaries and Benefits

Brown University's policy is to determine salaries on the basis of rank, merit, and performance while endeavoring to maintain a fair balance within departments and the within the University. Salary levels are meant to be competitive with those offered at peer institutions in the United States and these levels may also be influenced by factors such as the availability of faculty in certain disciplines. Average salaries may thus differ among departments due to market forces. All non-discrimination statements contained in Chapter Three of this handbook apply to the setting of faculty salaries.

7.1 Annual Salary Review

The appropriate divisional Dean shall review salaries annually for the purpose of ascertaining whether they actually reflect these policies, and shall compile a report which gives the median and average salaries, as well as the range of salaries, within pertinent categories by discipline, rank and length of service, comparing the situation of women and minorities with that of non-minority males. The categories shall be chosen so as to make pertinent comparisons possible, but without compromising the confidentiality of individual salaries, which are disclosed only to department chairs and to administrators who need the information in order to carry out their duties. This report shall be given to the FAC, to the FEC, and to the department Chairs.

All faculty are entitled to comparative salary information from the Dean of the Faculty, Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences, or the Dean of Public Health.

7.2 Schedule of Salary Payments

Brown University normally follows a practice of paying all faculty in twelve equal installments for services rendered during the nine-month (or, in the Division of Biology and Medicine or School of Public Health, ten-month) academic year. These installments are ordinarily paid from July through the following June. (This schedule may be adjusted for new faculty members whose contracts begin in September.) Thus for most faculty members, their July and August checks are, in effect, salary advances for their work in the following academic year. If a faculty member receives pay in July and August and, for some reason, does not fulfill his/her employment obligations during the regular academic year, all or part of the July and August pay may have to be repaid to Brown. Checks for in-coming new faculty are not released by the Office of the Controller until proper authorization is given that office to do so. (See Chapter 6.7.)

7.3 Additional Compensation for Faculty Members Employed by Brown University

An appointment as a full time faculty member at Brown University carries primary professional responsibility to the University and a level of compensation, in the form of salary and benefits or equivalent, from Brown University commensurate with these responsibilities. Consequently, faculty members are not normally eligible for additional compensation from the University.

However, additional compensation from the University may occur, during the summer and/or the academic year, as long as the normal duties of the faculty member are not reduced in order to fulfill the additional responsibilities. Written requests for consideration of additional compensation must be submitted by the faculty member to the appropriate divisional Dean, in advance of the activity, and endorsed by the Chairperson of the department. Requests should contain sufficient information for a determination to be made that the activity qualifies for consideration under this policy and that the faculty member's normal duties are not compromised in any way.

Activities warranting such added compensation should be beneficial to the University and involve services distinct from those which are ordinarily expected of a faculty member. Teaching, research, the advising and counseling of students, service to the department and to the University are among those duties normally expected of a faculty member.

Examples of activities considered for additional compensation from the University include:

  • summer teaching activities, e.g., for the Summer Studies Program;
  • academic year teaching activities not involving regular or special students of Brown, e.g., the Pfizer Program in the Division of Biology and Medicine; or
  • consulting services unrelated to the research or teaching activities of a faculty member and not involving any external contract or grant in which the faculty member has a decision-making role.

Note: The compensation of faculty members during the summer under external grants/contracts is not considered "additional compensation" for the purposes of this policy since the activities performed are ordinarily an extension of those activities performed during the academic year. Faculty will continue to be eligible for such summer salary provided the total commitment does not exceed the period of time allowed them - up to three months, except for faculty in the Division of Biology and Medicine, where the maximum period is two months.

7.4 Charging Academic Year Salaries to Grants and Contracts

Depending upon the effort devoted to different activities each month during the academic year, it may be appropriate for a faculty member to charge a percentage of his or her research activity to a grant or contract, if the 
funding agency permits this. As a result of the salary savings that are realized, the Dean will set up a Grant Incentive Fund to provide research support for the faculty member. This does not apply to faculty members whose academic year salary is not normally covered by the DOF budget or to those already covered by other approved arrangements, e.g., departments in the Division of Biology and Medicine or in the School of Public Health. The guidelines for this fund are the following:

7.4.1 Grant Incentive Fund

  1. In general, 70% of the dollar amount of academic year salary and benefits charged to the grant will be placed in a Grant Incentive Fund (GIF). However, 100% of such funds will be placed in a GIF if they could otherwise have been charged to cover summer salary (in keeping with the rules of the grant) but are allocated for academic year salary in order to better reflect the actual distribution of effort over the course of the entire year.
  2. If the funding agency requires any caps to salaries, then the maximum rate at which activity can be charged must not exceed that cap.
  3. The normal overhead rate will continue to apply on academic year salaries charged to a grant.
  4. The GIF is made available to a faculty member as a flexible research fund, which may be used for legitimate research expenses in accordance with University policy. As is the case with all research funds, the balances revert to the University when a faculty member resigns or retires.
  5. No overhead will be charged when funds are expended from the GIF. If the funds are used to support summer salary, the prevailing benefits rate will be charged to the GIF.
  6. There will be no time limit on the use of balances in a GIF. However, total expenses in any given year may not exceed 50% of the faculty member’s academic year salary.

7.4.2 Course Buy-Out

It may also be possible to use funds from grants and contracts to reduce teaching obligations during the academic year, subject to the following conditions:

  1. The normal teaching load must be more than one course in a given semester.[1]



    [1] This policy refers to departments reporting to the Dean of the Faculty. The Division of Biology and Medicine and the School of Public Health may have other practices.

    In such cases, a faculty member who wishes to devote significant time to research may, be relieved of teaching one course, with approval of their department chair and the Dean. This should not result in the faculty member teaching less than one course per semester. (It will therefore exclude faculty in some science departments with a normal teaching load of one course per semester.)

  2. The department Chair must assess the impact of the proposal on the department's curriculum. Teaching relief will only be considered if the department's curricular needs can be met.
  3. In general, 25% of academic year salary (plus benefits), from a grant that provides usual fringe and overhead, would allow for a one-course reduction.
  4. The appropriate Dean will provide funding to cover a portion of the cost of hiring an adjunct faculty member to teach the course.
  5. Any faculty member who wishes to have no teaching responsibilities during a given semester should apply for a leave of absence. It remains possible to use grant funds to cover salary during a leave of absence.

7.5 Consulting and Other Incidental Employment Activities

Consulting by faculty of Brown University is a privilege and not a right. Faculty at Brown are expected to devote the bulk of their professional energies to the University. In accordance with the University’s conflict of interest and conflict of commitment policy, the University provides that faculty may devote no more than 20 percent effort, or an average of one day per week, to outside business activities. More extensive outside activities must receive prior approval from the appropriate divisional Dean and could require a concomitant reduction in assigned University duties and compensation.

A faculty member is free to consult or engage in other contractual arrangements during the summer, as long as:

  1. s/he is cognizant that Brown remains the primary employer, continuing to provide a range of customary benefits during such a period
  2. s/he therefore continues to be in compliance with all the Faculty Rules, specifically those pertaining to Conflict of Interest or Conflict of Commitment, and the Patent and Invention Policy
  3. s/he does not “double-dip” in the sense of charging a grant or contract for a summer month (to augment the academic base salary) at a time s/he is also earning additional compensation from an employer. Note that this does not include incidental income such as book royalties and honoraria for lectures.

In entering into consulting agreements, faculty should make clear that their primary duty is to Brown University and is subject to the University’s procedures and policies on intellectual property. Faculty consulting with external organizations must be certain that it is understood that the faculty member is acting in his/her individual capacity and not on behalf of Brown University.

All consulting activities, whether during the academic year or during the summer hiatus, must be in compliance with the University’s Conflict of Interest Policy. Although it is not the intent of the University to infringe on a faculty member’s independent consulting research, faculty should be aware that a potential conflict of interest may arise when a university researcher has outside interests that are very close to his or her university research activities.

Thus, faculty entering into consulting agreements which may present a conflict of interest or which are of some extended duration must disclose and discuss the proposed consulting arrangement with the appropriate Dean prior to entering into any agreement with another educational or research institution or an external organization.

Faculty research-related conflicts of interest that are not appropriately disclosed, discussed and managed could compromise public confidence in the integrity of the University’s commitment to its core values:

  • The commitment to educating students;
  • The commitment to academic freedom;
  • The commitment to advancing the range and depth of knowledge and understanding of the natural world and our human condition;
  • The commitment to the safety of patients under the care of University faculty and participants in research;
  • The commitment to open and timely communication and dissemination of knowledge; and
  • The commitment to protecting both the appearance and the actual integrity and objectivity of research, instruction and public service.

7.6 Summer Salary

While those faculty who are paid for work performed during the academic year (9 or 10 months) may be compensated during the summer for consulting or other work (e.g. from grants and contracts), the University, as the faculty member’s employer, must be assured that summer consulting or other activities do not interfere or conflict with the faculty member’s primary obligation to the University. Full-time summer consulting or other contractual arrangements should be reviewed by the appropriate divisional Dean and reported on the Conflict of Interest form.

All effort devoted and corresponding salary charged to sponsored projects must be in compliance with sponsor and University policies. Committed effort on a sponsored project should be devoted exclusively to the activity supported by that sponsored project. Other activities performed during the summer months, e.g. any administrative or academic activities, vacation, writing new proposals, may not be charged to sponsored projects.

Note that sponsors may have restrictions on summer salary. Faculty should therefore consult their grant terms and conditions prior to committing summer effort. Any questions regarding sponsor terms or conditions should be directed to the Office of Sponsored Projects.

7.7 Salary Complaints and Grievances

If a faculty member believes that his or her salary is inappropriate, the faculty member should normally express the concern to the department Chair and request a salary review. In this review, he or she may meet with the Dean, and then the Provost should this be necessary to address the concerns raised. The Dean shall supply the faculty member with a copy of the annual report on salaries. If the faculty member is not satisfied and believes that the specific situation is due to discrimination against women and/or underrepresented minorities, the faculty member may then request that the Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity review the complaint.

7.8. Benefits

Detailed information about employment-related benefits is available through the Office of Human Resources.

There are in addition some other programs available to Brown faculty:

7.8.1 Faculty Travel Fund

The Faculty Travel Fund (FTF) is available to voting members of the Brown campus-based faculty for assistance in meeting the costs of one professional trip during any fiscal (budget) year, July 1-June 30. The FTF is designated to support trips to attend conferences and to do scholarly research or field work. Faculty may apply for reimbursement for more than one trip per academic year, with a total reimbursement cap of $1500. Faculty are also eligible for a one-time supplement of up to $600 for a single trip to present a paper at an international conference. This $600 supplement will not count against the $1500 Faculty Travel Fund total. A faculty member on sabbatical leave may apply to the FTF for aid in supporting travel expenses for scholarly research incurred in the course of one trip during that leave. For more information, see the Faculty Governance Travel policy.

7.8.2 Dependent Care Travel Fund

Funds are available to support faculty who wish to attend academic conferences and/or work with collaborators at other institutions but who have child care responsibilities which may make this difficult. Awards of up to $750 per year are available to assist regular faculty (Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and Professors) with expenses incurred in association with professional travel. Examples of expenses that may be supported include additional, above-the-ordinary, hours of care for dependents at home; contracting for childcare at a conference; or even taking a caregiver to a conference or on a short research trip. Spouses, partners, and other family members are not normally eligible for travel expenses or compensation. Application for funding should be made by completing the online form at least 30 days in advance of the trip. The applicant should include details of the conference or other event, an explanation of its importance for professional development, the name and age of the dependent requiring care, a description of the arrangements for which support is requested, and a budget. Please note that under current tax law, this is treated as a taxable benefit and is subject to tax withholding.

7.8.3 Parental Teaching Relief

Brown University provides one semester of classroom teaching relief for faculty members who are primary caregivers for newborn children or newly adopted children. This is not considered to be a leave, and the faculty member's responsibilities to conduct research, advise students, and participate in University and departmental affairs remain unchanged. This policy is intended to provide sufficient time to faculty members coping with the demands of being primary caregiver to an infant or newly adopted child.

All full-time regular faculty are eligible for this benefit during the semester in which birth or adoption occurs, or in the immediately following semester (if birth or adoption occurs between semesters, the teaching relief can be taken in the following semester). Faculty members wishing to receive teaching relief should contact their department Chair and the Dean, preferably six months in advance of the requested relief, indicating the period during which teaching relief is requested and verifying that he or she will be the primary caregiver during that time.

An untenured, tenure-track faculty member who avails herself or himself of parental teaching relief is entitled to an extension of her or his contract by one year unless the faculty member requests otherwise. Such extensions are automatically awarded at the same time as teaching relief for the care of a new child is granted. If the faculty member does not requesting teaching relief, she or he must apply in writing to the appropriate Dean, and request that her or his contract be extended. See Chapter 10.2.1, Parenting a New Child

Temporary teaching funds are provided to the department in cases of parental teaching relief. At the time of the initial request of teaching relief from the faculty member, Chairs should contact the office of the appropriate Dean to apply for assistance.

7.8.4 Other

See also information on the website of the Office of the Dean of the Faculty regarding the Faculty Development Fund, Lectureships, and other opportunities.