New Faculty Offer Letters
The offer letter is a legal contract and should be written with care and precision. All offer letters must be approved by the Dean /Provost Office before they are presented to a candidate. Offer letters should also be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Faculty Resources, Planning and Assessment, who will verify that all items on the check list have been included. Draft offer letters may be useful in the early stages of negotiation with a candidate, but they must be clearly labeled “DRAFT."
The following is a list of elements that should be included in an offer letter. Stick to the required elements in your letter; do not include statements on issues that are non-essential or were not offered or negotiated. The Information for Faculty Candidates should be attached to every offer letter.
1. Offer of Appointment Should Include:
- Tenure status: tenured or non-tenured, tenure eligible or non-tenure-eligible
- Title Series: Regular, Extension, Special, Clinical, Research, Lecturer
- State if 9-month or 12-month appointment
- Academic unit of appointment
- Anticipated starting date
- State “Your appointment is subject to formal approval by the university administration and the Board of Trustees.”
- Request for original, official transcripts and a current CV is made.
2. Position Responsibilities and Expectations:
- Refer to the position description in letter, and attach the position description.
- State that Distribution of Effort is subject to annual agreement, but initial DOE is projected to be ______. Please remember to include Service DOE, as appropriate.
- Refer to additional information on evaluation and promotion and tenure (if appropriate) on attachment.
- Attach/link to departmental Statement on Evidences and the AR for the title series.
- Refer to Provost's Information for New Faculty Members and the New Faculty Onboarding Checklist and/or include links. (See links at the bottom of this page)
- If a candidate is "all but dissertation" please include this information in the offer letter: "A condition of employment in this position is completion of your dissertation and receipt of the doctoral degree by X date. Once your degree has been earned, you will need to submit updated transcripts to the Office of Faculty Resources, Planning and Assessment." This statement should appear near the beginning of the letter, typically in the first or second paragraph.
3. Salary and Benefits:
- Specify salary in a monthly increment such as “$X monthly salary to total an annual salary of $Y."
- For faculty members beginning a new 9-month appointment in August, the first year’s salary will be divided evenly over 11 months. In subsequent years, it will be divided evenly over 12 months. This is due to the fiscal year beginning on July 1.
- We encourage academic units to consider making the start date for new faculty members the first of a month. This allows for the new employee’s benefits to start the same day as their employment, instead of the employee having to wait until the next first of the month for their benefits to begin.
- The offer letter should include this statement: "You are eligible for a generous benefits package as a University of Kentucky faculty member with diverse rewards, focusing on your total well-being. Benefit options include health, dental, and vision insurance. Employees receive term life insurance equal to their annual salary and may purchase additional amounts at favorable group rates. In the University retirement plan, the individual contribution of 5% of salary is matched by a 10% contribution by the university, with a 3-year vesting period. The university offers a variety of wellness and well-being programs. Additional information and updates to benefits can be found at: www.uky.edu/HR/benefits."
- Statement on Vacation for 12-month Faculty Members- Offer letters for full-time, 12-month faculty members should include this statement: "As a 12-month faculty member you receive 22 vacation days each year at the start of each fiscal year (prorated this first year based on your start date)."
4. Support, Funding, Start-up:
- Fully describe any start-up package, including schedule of funding availability and generally who has committed the resources, such as the academic unit or from the college/university level.
- Specify office, lab or other space assignment only if it is specifically negotiated.
- Typically, all 12-month faculty members with 25% or more DOE research assignment maintain an approved and active Experiment Station (Hatch, et al.) project with the initial proposal being submitted within six months of the start date.
- If applicable, describe “anticipated” continuing support: tech or clerical staff, operating expense, etc.
5. Relocation Allowance:
- If relocation allowances are offered, specify amount; refer to http://www.uky.edu/ufs/sites/www.uky.edu.ufs/files/bpm/E-7-8.pdf.
In addition to your salary, you will receive $(maximum 10,000) in relocation (e.g., moving) expenses to help offset your expenses moving to the Central Kentucky region. Qualified moving expenses and procedures can be found in UK Business Procedures Policy E-7-8 and as defined by IRS regulations.
You will receive $(maximum 7,500) in a House-hunting allowance to help offset the cost of relocating to Kentucky. These expenses may include airfare, hotels or auto rental fees.
Relocation and house-hunting allowances will be reported as taxable wages and subject to applicable income and employment tax withholdings. Prior to the relocation allowance being dispersed, please send the Associate Dean for Finance a copy of the signed rental agreement, purchase contract, or alternatively the new address should be updated in SAP, our human resources system. If you fail to relocate to Central Kentucky as agreed, any sums paid to you by the University for the purpose of relocation shall be refunded to the University. For questions regarding the allowance or disbursement, please contact (college contact person).
- At the bottom of your offer letter, include a footnote that states, "*Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Dean Nancy Cox approves the relocation allowance as stated in this letter."
- The Associate Dean for Faculty Resources, Planning and Assessment will coordinate getting the Dean's signature and date on the footnote when you send the draft offer letter to the Associate Dean for review.
7. Employment Eligibility and Background Check:
- State “The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires that all employees be eligible for employment in the United States. In addition, state law requires a background check. This offer is contingent upon your ability to successfully present documents that verify your identity, employment authorization, a completed background check."
- New hires at the university, except for those included in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate, will no longer be required as of February 1, 2023, to disclose proof of vaccination or request an exemption in the preemployment screening process.
8. Signatures and Acceptance:
- State an expiration date for the offer.
- Indicate that acceptance of offer must be confirmed by returning a signed copy of this letter.
- Include a signature line indicating acceptance at the bottom of the letter.
- Forward hard copy of signed letter to Office of Faculty Resources, Planning and Assessment for the Standard Personnel File (Dean’s Office copies to appropriate Associate Deans). Include a copy with the appointment packet.
Adjunct Offer Letter Template
Lecturer Offer Letter Template
Part-Time Instructor Offer Letter Template (UK Employee)
Part-Time Instructor Offer Letter Template (Non-UK Employee)
Recommended Chair Memo Regarding Information for New Faculty (Template)
Expediting Senior Appointments
In cases where academic units seek to hire outstanding senior-level faculty members, it may be appropriate to expedite the process of appointing the candidate to the rank of Associate Professor or Professor (with or without tenure). The Provost’s Office has issued guidelines for these cases, which are available here.