June 16, 2006

Elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

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Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question: Why isn't there more uniformity and transparency in academic faculty hiring, as far as start-up packages and salaries?

Answer: Whether recruiting faculty or staff, we, of course, have to contend with the marketplace.

For faculty hiring, Vanderbilt uses salary ranges recommended by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

These ranges vary according both to faculty rank and to academic specialty. We stay within the recommended ranges in almost all cases.

My office oversees salary decisions at the time of hiring, and I'm satisfied with the current degree of uniformity in salary offers to new faculty.

Publishing our salary ranges — or worse, our actual salary offers — simply isn't in our best business interests.

Faculty development is as much an art as a numbers game. Recruits deserve to be informed about the job, salary and benefits, as well as about our organization and our community.

The school's compensation strategies and payroll accounting are another matter. We're a private institution competing for uncommonly skilled and talented people.

It's rather essential that salary offers remain a matter between the administration and the individual faculty member.

As for other elements of faculty start-up packages, vacation and benefits are offered according to Vanderbilt HR policies.

— Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine