The Effectiveness of a Merit- and Productivity-Based Teaching Incentive in a College of Public Health

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In 2017, the College of Public Health implemented a “teaching incentive” by which faculty would receive extra pay if the composite score of teaching effectiveness on the student assessment of instruction (SAI) was in the top third for all scores in the college in that same semester, and at least 40% of the students in the class completed the SAI. In the first 4 years, 53 incentives were awarded to 25 different members of the faculty, for a total of $206,772. The college documented an increase in the composite score of teaching effectiveness and in percent of students completing the SAI. Significant increases in the composite score were seen for all faculty (3.47 to 3.59 out of 4.00, p =.02) and for those faculty in the college for the entire period (3.47 to 3.57, p =.0189). Over the 4 years, the percent of classes that had at least a 40% response rate increased for all faculty (41.2% to 55.7%, p =.0447) and for faculty who were in the college for the entire 4 years (39.6% to 51.9%, p =.1373). A teaching incentive that includes a significant salary supplementation appears to be associated with an increase in both student response rates and overall assessment of teaching effectiveness.