(Revised – August 2007)


The Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) Department of Surgery’s Faculty Compensation Plan is designed to sustain and enhance the tripartite mission that involves clinical, research, and teaching activities. The Department of Surgery’s Mission Statement is as follows:

  1. Clinical – Apply knowledge by having superb clinical care through the best faculty, staff, medical facilities, instrumentation, and techniques in the world.
  2. Research – Discover knowledge by being the top rated Department of Surgery in the country through extramural research activities that include federal, non-federal, corporate supported and philanthropic projects.
  3. Teaching – Impart knowledge by having our teachers provide the best educational experiences possible for our medical students, residents and fellows.

In order to fulfill these various missions, the Department must have a faculty whose diverse skills and interests excel in these three areas. It is necessary to have a compensation plan that ensures competitive compensation to enable the recruitment and retention of the best faculty members possible. The primary purposes of the Faculty Compensation Plan are as follows:

  • To ensure the fulfillment of the tripartite mission and the attainment of financial viability of the Department, Divisions and Sections.
  • To incent faculty productivity and scholarship.
  • To define a method for establishing base salaries and bonuses for faculty members.
  • To delineate a process that includes effective communication with each individual faculty member regarding how compensation is determined.
  • To promote behaviors that support professional and financial responsibility and that foster decisions made in the best interests of the Department, while recognizing the inherent differences between and among the Divisions/Sections in the Department.
  • To provide a mechanism for assuring the accumulation of funds in each Division/Section for contingencies.

The effective date of this Faculty Compensation Plan is July 1, 2007. This plan supersedes and replaces all prior department and division compensation plans. The Chairman will review this plan every two years and will communicate any subsequent modifications to each Division Chief.


The Faculty Compensation Plan provides guidelines to determine faculty compensation (both base salary and incentive bonuses) and to build-up Division Contingency Funds.

Flow of Funds
Upon collection of clinically related revenue, research revenue, endowment interest, and other revenue as approved by the Chairman, the flow of funds (see Appendix 1) shall be as follows:

  1. All obligations included in the Division expense base shall be met (unless a Division deficit is approved by the Chairman).
  2. The Division surplus will be used to make individual faculty incentive payments and to build the Division Contingency Funds.
  3. At each bonus period, the Division Chief will recommend to the Chairman how much of the surplus should be used for faculty incentive compensation and how much should be put into the Division Contingency Funds. Upon approval of the Chairman, faculty incentive compensation recommendations will then be processed for payment.

Division Contingency Funds
A common set of principles guides Division Contingency Funds:

  1. These funds may include general reserves, quasi-endowment funds, BJH foundation funds, or other unrestricted funds. The target amount for these funds is equal to six months of the expected Division expense base, to be achieved within a reasonable number of years as agreed upon by the Division Chief with the Chairman.
  2. A minimum annual contribution target will be established at the start of each fiscal year by agreement between the Division Chief and the Chairman.
  3. At the end of each fiscal year, the amount of actual contribution to the fund will be recommended by the Division Chief for approval by the Chairman.
  4. Upon achieving the agreed upon level of funding, a Division may:
    – continue to contribute funds to the Division Contingency Fund, or
    – use the surplus amounts for other expenditures authorized by the Division Chief and approved by the Chairman
  5. The Chairman has the discretion to allow bonuses or other expenditures to be made if the six month expense target is not met; however, a plan needs to be developed by the Division Chief as to how this will be accomplished in an appropriate time frame.

Base Salary (X plus Y)
The Department of Surgery defines “base salary” as the “X and Y” components of the compensation that make up the faculty member’s annual appointment. The “X” component means the base salary paid to faculty as established by the Department in accordance with the school-wide policy. The school policy requires base salaries to be at least $55,000 for associate professors and at least $70,000 for full professors. In the school-wide policy, the “Y” component means additional salary above the base amount paid to the faculty as part of their annual salary (for such things as administrative responsibilities, academic rank, clinical productivity, etc.). Even though the Department of Surgery’s Faculty Compensation Plan combines the “X and Y” components, the minimum base salary requirements of WUSM school-wide policy mentioned above are still enforced. This will be the salary amount in the annual appointment letter sent to each faculty member by the Dean and the amount in which the benefits will be calculated.

The guiding principle of base salaries is the expectation that each faculty member will generate, through clinical receipts and extramural research funding, amounts equal to or exceeding his or her base salary (X and Y), clinical operating expenses (including payroll and non-payroll related expenses, malpractice, professional development, Dean’s Tax and Department Tax) and individual research expenses not funded by outside sources. The base salary will be determined by the Division Chief and approved by the Chairman. Items that will be taken into consideration, among other factors, are the following:

  • Rank
  • Independent investigation and scholarly accomplishment
  • Regional and national recognition
  • Teaching accomplishments and achievements
  • Clinical competence
  • Service to WUSM, the University, the Affiliated Hospitals and the Community

Incentive Bonus
The incentive bonus (referred to as the “Z” component by the WUSM school-wide policy) is the additional compensation paid to faculty as bonus payments based on truly exceptional performance criteria in the following areas:

  • Clinical activity, efficiency, quality, and safety
  • Research/Scholarship productivity
  • Teaching/Educational accomplishments and achievements
  • Leadership/Administrative activities and accomplishments
  • Contributions to the institutions
  • Other achievements

The method used to determine individual incentive compensation may vary by faculty member. Each faculty member will have an annual discussion with their Division or Section Chief about their base salary, and incentive bonus compensation.

Bonus payments may be paid twice per year – mid-year payments (usually in December) and year-end payments (usually in July). The year-end bonus payments will be made if the Department can meet its financial obligations.

We anticipate total compensation (“X, Y and Z” components) to be between the 50th and 80th percentiles of the most recent AAMC Faculty Salary Survey Report (for the Consortium Schools).

A faculty member who joins or leaves the Department during an incentive period, may receive incentive compensation on a prorated basis if it is recommended by the Division/Section Chief and approved by the Chairman.

Appendix 1.