Cherry Blossoms

Competitive and pre-emptive offers

Dean's Office contact: Divisional Dean

UPDATE (11/16/2023): Until further notice, there is a moratorium on new A/B salary requests.

The fundamental purpose of the A/B Salary Policy for Faculty Retention is to insure that sufficient mechanisms exist to support the retention of University of Washington tenured and tenure-track faculty consistent with the University of Washington Faculty Salary Policy. This policy is also founded upon the principle that individual salary decisions must be based on merit assessed by a performance review conducted by faculty and administrative colleagues pursuant to the Faculty Code.  Such a policy insures that the University of Washington is able to retain the best faculty.

Although an A/B salary agreement affects the proportion of a faculty member’s salary that is supported by state-committed funding, it does not affect a faculty member’s permanent, indefinite appointment with the University.

Generally, an individual may not receive a retention salary adjustment (of any kind) for a period of three years from the effective date of the most recent retention adjustment.


When a faculty member receives a formal competitive offer or when a pre-emptive offer is being considered, the chair must notify the Divisional Dean to discuss an appropriate response. After a response is approved, the chair may negotiate directly with the faculty member. Experience shows that retention success is closely tied to the chair's efforts.

The University Policy Directory states that the faculty of each academic unit shall document biennially the level of consultation, if any, they deem necessary before competitive salary offers may be made.

Retention guidelines. 

Because the College shares significantly in the costs of retention, the standards for making retention offers must be high.

  1. The individual must have both an outstanding academic record and a major impact on University programs and colleagues consistent with rank and experience.
  2. The individual needs to have been deemed highly meritorious in recent reviews.
  3. The competitive offer must come from a comparable institution or department. Response is unlikely to offers from institutions of significantly lesser reputation, even if the offered salary is higher. The College will not respond to offers from industry or other non-academic employers.
  4. Consideration is given to the length of time since a previous retention offer was made. University policy requires a minimum of three years between retention offers.
  5. Following the individual department guidelines, the department must approve the making of a retention offer.

Components of retention offers

  1. While retentions are funded by the College, there is a limited amount of resources available.  Departments should be thoughtful in their consideration of when to pursue retentions.  
  2. Other elements involving one-time funding will be provided through a combination of departmental, College, and University resources.

Making a retention offer

  1. The department will follow its adopted procedures to approve the request for a retention offer. Once approved at the department, the following materials are sent to the Divisional Dean for review:
    • A copy of the competitive offer letter, or a letter from the chair outlining the circumstances that might lead to a pre-emptive offer;
    • The chair/director’s statement in favor of retention, giving the department’s response and addressing the retention guidelines listed above;
    • The faculty member's curriculum vitae and copies of student and peer teaching evaluations for the past three years.
  2. The materials are reviewed by the Divisional Dean and Dean, and a decision is made concerning the retention offer.  At this point, the Divisional Dean will fill out the Retention Salary Adjustment Form (and/or the A/B Retention Salary Adjustment Request and the A/B Retention Salary Agreement for A/B retentions only) and send it, along with other required documentation, to the Provost for approval. 
  3. Once the Provost has approved, the form will be forwarded to the chair and department administrator.  The deans office will also upload the final form to DocFinity for the personnel file.
  4. When details of the offer are finalized, a draft of the offer letter to the faculty member must be reviewed in advance by the Divisional Dean and Ivy Mason-Sharrah (see Competitive offer response sample).
  5. Once the offer has been accepted by the faculty member, the unit must request a compensation change in Workday.  In addition to the request, the approved retention form(s) must be uploaded to Maintain Worker Documents in Workday.
  6. A salary counteroffer will not take effect until the faculty member declines the competitive offer in writing, and this decision must be in hand in time for the salary increase to be processed (normally sixty days). The salary counteroffer should be made effective at the beginning of the month and should be within 30 days of the Dean’s office approval.
  7. When the negotiations are completed and the faculty member has submitted his/her decision in writing, the department must complete the Report of competitive offer form and submit it, with attachments, to Julianna Jones.  Please submit the form and supporting documents as a single PDF.  If not sent at the time the offer is accepted, the form must be received by the effective date of the retention.

For more information, see the AHR website on retention salary adjustments.