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Faculty Compensation, Benefits, and Academic Evaluations

[ Updated on 21.2.2024 ]

 

Compensation and Benefits for Full-Time Faculty Members

Bilkent University aims to compensate its faculty members with salaries and benefits that are commensurate with qualifications and performance. Salary figures are strictly confidential and are to be taken up only with the Provost or the Dean.

Faculty salaries at Bilkent University are quoted and paid as monthly net salaries after all taxes and social security premium deductions. Salaries are deposited to faculty members’ bank accounts (at a specific bank determined by the university) on the last working day of each month. The university pays all incurred income tax and both employee and employer contributions of legally required social security premiums on behalf of the faculty member, adjusting the gross salary when necessary in order to pay the same net salary each month to the faculty member.

For standard full-time academic contracts, salaries are paid for twelve months per academic year, usually considered to be from 1 September to 31 August.

All salaries are revised biannually, in January and July, to adjust for increasing cost of living due to inflation.

The salary system employed at the university has five levels within each rank of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor, dubbed Y1 – Y2 – Y3 – Y4 – Y5, D1 – D2 – D3 – D4 – D5, and P1 – P2 – P3 – P4 – P5, respectively, in increasing order. Annual advances from one level to the next within the same rank are possible based on performance, as detailed further below in this document. For instructors, lecturers, and senior lecturers, there are different levels based on academic qualifications and twenty advancement levels that are based on performance and experience. In addition to the academic rank level, teaching and service performance as evaluated annually also affect the base salary.

In addition to the base academic salary, the university awards an additional salary component that is based on the academic output of faculty members after they have joined Bilkent. This merit component is based on disseminated scholarly and creative achievements, and is determined annually every January.

Faculty members may see their salary history by login on to the following service with their university BAIS account password:

https://salary.bilkent.edu.tr

All faculty members are enrolled in the Turkish National Social Security System (SGK) for social security and health benefits for which the university pays all premiums.

Bilkent University provides an employer-funded pension plan administered by a financial services company, currently Garanti Emeklilik A.Ş. After five years of full-time employment at the university is completed, the university makes monthly contributions to the pension plan equal to 10 percent of the faculty member’s net salary for the next five years. The university contribution continues at 5 percent of the net salary after the tenth year of employment. The university contributions continue until the faculty member reaches 67 years of age. Adjunct, visiting, and research faculty, in addition to temporary research staff are not qualified for this program. Faculty members who decide to withdraw from the program cannot re-enter at a later time.

Bilkent University faculty members can opt to join the Bilkent Group Health Plan, which is run by a private insurance company and has coverage beyond that provided by SGK. Individual and family memberships options exist. This private health insurance has modest monthly premiums, half of which are paid by the university and the other half by the faculty member. This contribution is directly deducted from the faculty member’s salary.

The university provides monthly lunch vouchers for eleven months of the year.

Faculty members employed by Bilkent University on a full-time basis are not permitted to work for any other institution without prior written approval of the University.

Faculty members are entitled to paid annual leave after completing one year of employment. Even though the duration of the leave varies based on years of employment, it is typically one month per year. Any unused leave time does not transfer to the next year and the university does not pay additional compensation for unused leave days.

As part of their compensation, faculty members may be offered an option to reside on-campus in Faculty Housing apartments. Members staying in Faculty Housing are billed for nominal utility expenses for heating, water, and electricity; these expenses are directly deducted from the faculty member’s salary. Faculty members who are allocated an apartment on campus are expected to have this as their main and official place of residence and must personally reside in the said apartment.

Bilkent University has two K–12 schools on campus, offering excellent education opportunities. Faculty members whose children attend the university’s schools or the university itself enjoy substantial tuition fee discounts at these institutions.

 

Annual Faculty Survey

All faculty members at Bilkent University, including those who might be on leave, are asked to fill out an online Annual Faculty Survey (AFS), usually in December, reporting their scholarly activities for the closing year.

Journal Publications

Bilkent University encourages its faculty to publish in the most impactful scholarly journals in their own field. Being indexed by Scopus and/or Web of Science and having a ranking in an upper quartile in that index may be one of the indicators of a journal’s quality.

On the other hand, faculty members are strongly encouraged to shy away from predatory journals that publish indiscriminately to increase their revenue and journals with other unethical or questionable practices. It should be noted that some predatory journals and some authors who publish in these journals manipulate citations to increase their standing in journal indices.

Journals with mandatory article processing charges (APC) have a fundamental conflict of interest, since articles that may be rejected for publication by the peer review mechanism translates to revenue loss for the publisher. Journals that are free from mandatory APC do not suffer from this conflict of interest; charges for optional open-access status and/or submission fees collected irrespective of acceptance or rejection are considered acceptable. On the other hand, Bilkent University recognizes that in many fields open-access journals with mandatory APC have become the unavoidable norm. However, within journals with mandatory APC, authors are encouraged to aim for only the most universally respected ones.

Books and Book Chapters

Bilkent University encourages its faculty to publish in the most respectable international academic presses. Local publishers may be acceptable in fields with a national identity such as law or literature. Faculty members are strongly encouraged to shun vanity presses that publish indiscriminately.

Conferences

Bilkent University encourages and supports its faculty to present their research at respectable international conferences where submissions go through a strict review process. Papers published in conference proceedings do not accrue merit points, except for a few select conferences in some fields where they are considered to be the final outlet for research results.

Artistic Work

Faculty members are expected to report all artistic endeavors such as exhibits, workshops, and concerts in the AFS. Events with international exposure are particularly encouraged.

Citations

Citations to faculty members’ published academic work in publications indexed by Scopus and Web of Science are considered to be a proxy of international recognition. As such, faculty members are asked to report all such citations to their work for a given year, excluding self-citations.

Research Funding

Faculty members are strongly encouraged to seek external funding for their research from funding agencies such as Tübitak and the European Research Council, in addition to industrial partners where applicable.

Teaching, Service and Other Activities

The AFS has a number of sections devoted to teaching, course development, advising, and service.

 

Merit Pay

The Provost Office compiles all AFS reports and uses these data to determine annual merit points for the ending calendar year.

To be considered for merit points, academic publications and artistic work must be listed with Bilkent University as the main affiliation of the faculty member.

A weighted average of merit points from the past six years, where more recent years have higher weights, determines the merit component of salaries for the next calendar year starting in January. Consequently, small variations in performance are mostly averaged out and new faculty members build up their average merit points over a few years after starting at Bilkent University.

 

Annual Evaluations for Full-Time Faculty Members

The Chair and the Dean provide short written feedback comments on the AFS reports of each faculty member. Faculty members have the option to provide written replies to these comments.

A committee composed of the Provost, Associate and Assistant Provosts, the faculty Dean, and the department Chair meet to discuss the annual performance and future career milestones for each faculty member. In these Annual Faculty Evaluation (AFE) meetings, the committee makes decisions on the following issues for each faculty member:

– For faculty who are not at the top level in their current rank, whether a level increase is warranted or not, based on teaching and research performance. If a level increase is decided, this takes effect in the following September.
– The teaching and service performance and how this will reflect on the base salary starting the next July.
– The promotion deadline for academic-promotion-track assistant professors. For those who fail to get promoted within the allotted time frame, the last day of employment at the university.
– Any faculty member who may be asked to transfer to a teaching-track position and carry an increased course load, due to sustained lack of research output but with exceptional teaching performance.

 

Sabbatical Leave and Unpaid Leave of Absence

Academic-promotion-track faculty are eligible for applying to take sabbatical leaves. A six month sabbatical leave may be granted after at least three years of full-time employment, and a 12 month sabbatical leave after at least six years of full-time employment. The sabbatical clock is reset to zero after each sabbatical. Sabbatical time does not accumulate beyond the indicated durations.

Sabbatical leaves are not automatic and are subject to approval by the Provost and the University Executive Board. The faculty member is expected to have an inviation from a reputable institution based abroad and must demonstrate the expected scholarly benefits from the proposed sabbatical.

The university pays the full salary during the sabbatical leave. After coming back from sabbatical leave, faculty members are required to work at Bilkent University for a minimum duration equal to their sabbatical duration. Under special circumstances, this mandatory employment duration may be extended by mutual agreement.

Faculty members may apply for unpaid leave of absence when necessary. Unpaid leaves are subject to approval by the Provost.

Sabbatical leaves and unpaid leaves of absence can only be granted for 6 months or 12 months. All six-month leaves have to either start or end in the month of January, in order to encompass an entire semester based on the Academic Calendar for the year. Shorter unpaid leaves may be possible during the summer months.