College of Liberal Arts

Faculty Counteroffers

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A counteroffer is the University’s response to a faculty member who has received or is in the process of negotiating a serious employment offer from a peer institution. In general, the College of Liberal Arts will attempt to respond in a productive manner to official offers made to our faculty from peer institutions. That said, it should be noted that not every outside offer warrants a counteroffer from the college.

Each counteroffer situation presents unique circumstances and issues. These guidelines will fit with most cases, but if it is necessary to work outside these guidelines, the chair should request assistance of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

How It Works

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  1. Faculty member notifies chair. When an outside offer becomes imminent, the faculty member should inform their chair as well as any other departments/centers where he/she holds a non-zero time appointment. The tenure-home chair should discuss with the faculty member what terms would be acceptable as a counteroffer and request a copy of the outside offer. The chair should then alert the Budget Council/Executive Committee(s) and the associate dean for academic affairs of the potential outside offer.
  2. Department decides on recommendation. Upon receipt of a copy of the outside offer, the chair should consult with members of the Budget Council/Executive Committee. Consideration should be given to the individual’s contribution to the department’s mission, the ranking of the institution making the offer, and other appropriate factors.
  3. Chair submits request to dean. Based on the recommendation of the Budget Council/Executive Committee, the department submits its recommendation to the associate dean for academic affairs by creating a new faculty offers record in the faculty offers database. This recommendation must cover all aspects of the counteroffer, including any considerations of salary, research funds, endowment use, staff or research support, space, workload, leaves, child care commitment, etc. that we might include in our counteroffer. An electronic copy of the outside offer should be attached to the faculty offers record.
  4. College responds to request to counter an offer. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs is the point person in the college on counteroffers, however he/she will work closely with the Dean and Associate Dean for Business Affairs to assure that our counteroffers are both competitive and sustainable.

    In cases where offers from non-peer institutions are received, the college’s response will be determined by the individual merits of the institution, the faculty member involved, and the needs and interests of the department and college. Counteroffers in these cases are not automatic and some will not produce a counteroffer. In those cases where a counteroffer is deemed appropriate, a substantial contribution from the department’s faculty merit pool will be required.

    The standard request to counter an offer from a peer institution is a 50/50 split between the dean and the provost. If the institution is not a peer institution, it is expected that the request should be a 33/33/33 split with the department, college, and the provost. In both cases, departments should be prepared to contribute to the counteroffer with research funds, reduced teaching, salary, or other resources.

    If the dean approves the request to counter an offer, the request will be forwarded to the provost. If the provost approves the recommendation and funding, an official approval will be sent to the Dean’s Office with a copy to the chair.

  5. Chair extends counteroffer. At this point, the chair must draft a formal written offer to the faculty member and submit it to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or his/her designate for review. The offer letter should outline all terms of the counteroffer as approved by the provost. It should also have a place provided for a dated acceptance signature. Consult the sample counteroffer letter here.

    Upon verbal or email approval, and with any necessary revisions, the formal counteroffer letter should be extended to the faculty member.

  6. Faculty member responds to counteroffer. If the faculty member accepts the terms, he/she should sign the counteroffer letter and return it to the chair by the close of business of the deadline date. If the faculty member does not accept the counteroffer, he/she should inform the chair in writing of his/her resignation by the deadline date. The chair should send the original response (either the signed acceptance letter or resignation) to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who will in turn forward it to the Provost.
  7. Home department implements counteroffer terms. It is then up to the chair to inform the staff administrator of the final outcome, so he/she can implement all terms of the counteroffer, making changes to the next budget and appointments as appropriate, as well as making sure funds are appropriately transferred and purchases underway.


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Last Modified: 6 August 2009