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Author Notes:

Corresponding Authors: Kathleen H. Burns, Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Miller Research Building Room 447, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. Email: kburns@jhmi.edu

Ralph H. Hruban, Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Carnegie 415, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA. Email: rhruban@jhmi.edu

Acknowledgments: Mabel Smith, Jim Creech, and Ed Pigo were essential in developing and executing the initial plan and Mike Johns in approving its use.

The authors also acknowledge the membership of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Taskforce on Faculty Compensation and Faculty Compensation Committee, those who conducted the 2013 Faculty Satisfaction Survey, and the Subcommittee Responsible for Revision of the Silver Book.

Disclosures: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


Research Funding:

The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


  • Pathology
  • academic relative value unit (RVU)
  • performance-based incentive compensation (PBIC)
  • research RVU (rRVU)
  • faculty salary
  • Bonus/Supplement/Incentive (BSI) component

The Evolution of Earned, Transparent, and Quantifiable Faculty Salary Compensation

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Journal Title:

Academic Pathology


Volume 5


, Pages 237428951877746-237428951877746

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Faculty value equitable and transparent policies for determining salaries and expect their compensation to compare favorably to the marketplace. Academic institutions use compensation to recruit and retain talented faculty as well as to reward accomplishment. Institutions are therefore working to decrease salary disparities that appear arbitrary or reflect long-standing biases and to identify metrics for merit-based remuneration. Ours is a large academic pathology department with 97 tenure-track faculty. Faculty salaries are comprised of 3 parts (A + B + C). Part A is determined by the type of appointment and years at rank; part B recognizes defined administrative, educational, or clinical roles; and part C is a bonus to reward and incentivize activities that forward the missions of the department and medical school. A policy for part C allocations was first codified and approved by department faculty in 1993. It rewarded performance using a semiquantitative scale, based on subjective evaluations of the department director (chair) in consultation with deputy directors (vice chairs) and division directors. Faculty could not directly calculate their part C, and distributions data were not widely disclosed. Over the last 2 years (2015-2017), we have implemented a more objective formula for quantifying an earned part C, which is primarily designed to recognize scholarship in the form of research productivity, educational excellence, and clinical quality improvement. Here, we share our experience with this approach, reviewing part C calculations as made for individual faculty members, providing a global view of the resulting allocations, and considering how the process and outcomes reflect our values.

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© The Author(s) 2018

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).

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