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Total Compensation Philosophy for Full-Time Faculty and Staff

St. Vincent de Paul consistently recognized and respected the dignity of each person. As a Vincentian university, DePaul strives to maintain this same recognition and respect for the human person in its total compensation (cash and benefits) policies and practices. As such, the university desires to attract, retain and motivate faculty and staff through its total compensation system. This system is grounded in the guiding principles listed below.

  • Mission Driven – The university’s total compensation package will align with its overall mission, strategies, and plans. Compensation policies and procedures will support the university’s long-term direction.
  • Just – Total compensation will recognize the dignity of each person. Related policies and procedures will employ equity when recognizing the relative value of each function and rewarding individual performance. ‘Just’ compensation places a special emphasis on affordable core benefits.
  • Sustainable – DePaul will design and administer plans and programs in a financially sustainable manner to ensure DePaul’s goal of providing educational accessibility.
  • Competitive – DePaul’s compensation, policies and procedures will be competitive with similar universities based on appropriate external markets.
  • Compliant – DePaul will comply with all applicable laws including equal pay laws, equal employment opportunity laws, benefits regulations, and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

University policies and rules with respect to compensation should follow this philosophy statement. The specific objectives of the total compensation philosophy are grouped into four categories:

  • External Competitiveness
  • Internal Alignment of Jobs
  • Individual Contributions
  • Administration

External Competitiveness

DePaul seeks to provide compensation (cash and benefits) that is competitive in appropriate labor markets to attract and retain individuals with the experience and skills necessary to further its mission. At DePaul, “competitive” generally means the median of each relevant labor market, including aspirant institutions. However, this objective may vary from time to time based on special strategic initiatives. Because DePaul is mission-driven and places accessibility to education by all qualified students as a key priority, the level of compensation must not put DePaul at a disadvantage with respect to the tuition, facilities, and educational resources at institutions with which it competes for students. DePaul acknowledges that it competes in many different labor markets, and these markets vary by college and division.

The appropriate institutions against which the university benchmarks its total compensation (cash and benefits) are the institutions against which it currently competes and aspires to compete for students, faculty, and staff. For staff positions, market data for cash compensation is derived from reputable published surveys that present competitive salary data by location, industry and other factors.

In evaluating external competitiveness, benchmarks such as the ratio of salaries and benefits to net operating revenues should not override this philosophy statement, but should be derived from it. Therefore, such benchmarks should be guidelines only, and when comparisons are made with peer or aspirant peer institutions, consideration should be given to differences in university characteristics such as endowment, income, other economic characteristics, mission, perceived academic quality, and the cost of living associated with the location of these institutions. Identification of the benchmark institutions within each unit is determined in consultation with Faculty and Staff Councils.

The university strives to ensure that group benefit plans are affordable for all employees and that these plans provide protection against major financial loss due to illness, injury, disability, and death. The same package of full-time benefits is available to faculty and staff.

Internal Alignment of Jobs

It is the intent to provide cash compensation for faculty and staff that is both competitive with appropriate external labor markets and equitable based on job responsibility. To this end, jobs of similar nature are arrayed in rank structures (salary structures) based on relative value. Also, in setting the minimum rate associated with the lower pay grades, DePaul will ensure that all full-time employees receive, at a minimum, a living wage* by considering the cost of basic needs that individuals require to live with the dignity befitting all men and women.

For faculty, within each structure, there are a limited number of grades or classifications. Generally, only one job title is associated with each classification. For staff, multiple job titles are assigned to each salary grade. Objective criteria are used to assign staff jobs to appropriate grades. The objective criteria for assigning staff jobs to grades are developed and maintained by Human Resources in collaboration with department and college office management. In addition, Human Resources is responsible for assigning positions to grades with appropriate review by department and college office management.

Each classification or grade in each structure has a range of pay associated with it whereby the midpoint of the range is considered to be roughly equivalent to the median of the appropriate external labor market. For non-teaching administrative jobs, faculty, and staff are paid within the appropriate salary structure.


*DePaul University’s definition of the living wage for full time employees is based on the U.S Department of Health and Human Services' definition of the poverty guideline for a family of four divided by 2,000 hours.

Individual Contributions

DePaul aims to hire faculty and staff within their appropriate grade or classification at a level of cash compensation appropriate to their experience, qualifications, skills, and credentials. Market factors and available budget, combined with position requirements and the university’s needs are instrumental in setting an individual’s starting salary within a classification or grade.

Salary progression occurs via promotions to positions of higher classifications or grades and through annual salary increases. DePaul seeks to place faculty and staff in the appropriate quartile of their respective salary range upon hire based on experience, skills, and credentials and to move them through their applicable ranges based on individual performance, available funds and with consideration given to cost-of-living.

Performance measures for specific positions are determined by executive management and managers in conjunction with guidelines developed by Academic Affairs and Human Resources in collaboration with department and college office management. These measures should include factors important to the university’s mission and strategic plan and tailored, as appropriate, to the requirements of each position with due fairness given to other employees.

The university will assist employees with developing their skills and qualifications to facilitate advancement within their field.


Human Resources is responsible for maintaining competitive and equitable staff compensation structures in accord with the above-mentioned principles and objectives. Additionally, Human Resources is responsible for DePaul’s group benefits plans. Academic Affairs and the Office of Institutional Planning and Research are responsible for maintaining the faculty pay structure.

DePaul will communicate clearly the compensation policies, structures, and performance criteria in an open process within existing council structures. Additionally, the university will strive to administer the plan in a competent, consistent, and impartial fashion.

DePaul will periodically perform a review of its benefits plans and cash compensation structures and classifications in consultation with Faculty and Staff Councils to ensure that the guiding principles and objectives in this philosophy statement are upheld.